Administration & Faculty

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CONOR GRIMES

Conor currently works as an analyst for an investment fund in midtown New York. He began studying piano when he was five and minored in music during college, whereafter his career went down a very different path into finance. Conor came across Piano Outreach of New York in 2004 and has been involved since, helping primarily with the financial and strategic aspects of the organization. Growing up on Long Island and living in NYC now, he still plays piano casually and is thrilled to be a part of such a worthy cause so close to his home. Prior to his current position, Conor worked in both investment banking and private equity. He received his AB in Economics with a minor in Music from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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KENNETH HOM

Kenneth Hom is an IT and Information Security professional with over 20 years experience in the financial, legal, IT services, and healthcare industries. He assists organizations of all sizes and industries with their information security, regulatory compliance, IT strategy development and implementation, and content development. In his spare time, Kenneth enjoys traveling and learning about emerging trends in technology.

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JANINE NIPAL

Janine Nipal is currently a finance associate supporting the financial governance team within ICG O&T at Citi, providing analytics primarily around targets and headcount. She has been at Citi for the past 4.5 years undertaking numerous roles within fixed income technology in the chief of staff capacity. Prior to her professional career, Janine had completed her undergraduate degree in 2014 from Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business for business administration finance.
In her free time, Janine thoroughly enjoys hiking, international travel and suspense novels.

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ROSS FIELD

Ross is known as a subject matter expert in operations for advertising & marketing agencies, improving process, and helping employees perform at their highest levels of quality and efficiency. He brings clients 20+ years of experience, several awards and worked on two animated feature films early in his professional career.

He completed improving the relationships with several former agency’s largest clients. Ross inherited accounts where the agency could not deliver on time, on-budget or quality deliverables, and left with a process in-place that works for both the agency and client.

Ross builds strong & trusting relationships with clients at all levels, and was known as the “Velvet Hammer” for his work style to accomplish change and constant process improvement.

In his free time he coaches ice hockey at Wollman Rink in Central park, plays on hockey and tennis teams and follows the NY Rangers passionately. He loves to cook, travel and brings his smile everywhere. Ross’ greatest joy is seeing his son learn and grow intellectually and emotionally, particularly through music classes and his (truly tiny) baby grand piano.

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JUSTIN FRAZER

Justin Frazer worked and trained as a musician, Chef and Healthcare executive. During college, Mr. Frazer performed as both a pianist and flutist in jazz bands and worked as a house musician for local dance/theater companies. Immediately, after college, Mr. Frazer moved to Heidelberg and Berlin, Germany where he spent five years as a professional musician playing in various bands and accompanying professional theater and dance performances.

When Mr. Frazer returned to the United States, he started his training to become a chef. For the next three years, he worked and trained as the Chef Tournant at Sandrine’s Restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts under the tutelage of French Master Chef, Raymond Ost. He was also fortunate to be selected to complete a three month apprenticeship at a Michelin Starred restaurant in Strasbourg, France under French Master Chef, Jean Christophe Langs.

Eventually Mr. Frazer enrolled in the University of Connecticut for his Law Degree and MBA. However, after passing the NYS Bar Exam, Mr. Frazer selected to not practice law and once again return to cooking by taking a position at Patois, one of the pioneer French bistros on Smith Street in Brooklyn. While cooking at Patois, Mr. Frazer sought ways to use his law degree and MBA to serve the community as a whole. He eventually was hired as a Policy Associate at a small trade association that represents NYC community Mental Health clinics. During his tenure at the trade association, Mr. Frazer published an article on fiscal challenges to Mental Health Clinics in New York State, spoke before the NYS Assembly about issues facing community mental health clinics and served as the youngest member on the on Mental Hygiene Task Force to the NYS Assembly. As his career in public health developed, he transferred from community mental health to working in Government Sponsored Managed Care (Medicaid and Medicare). After fourteen (14) years in the industry, he most recently served as the Vice President of Business Solutions for Empire BlueCross BlueShield where his responsibilities include overseeing the entire Medicaid operations for the corporation and assuring that current systems are functioning, compliant and cost effective.

In addition to music, cooking, and public health, Mr. Frazer currently serves on the Managed Care Committee to the Leake & Watts Board of Directors where he advises the Board of the various changes to NYS Public Health Laws. Mr. Frazer is fluent in German and a fervent ice hockey player who is fortunate to play every week. He has been on skates since he was six years old and played on his college team at Skidmore College.

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ALEXANDRA ANDREEVA

Piano, Violin

Alexandra Andreeva is a professional piano, violin and viola teacher as well as an award-winning violinist with a decade of successful experience in teaching and concert performing. Graduated from the famous musical institutions as Moscow State Conservatory and Mannes Music School now based in New York and continue to develop his professional teaching and performing skills. Alexandra specializes in educating of students variety of ages and regularly improving his own skills in teaching through learning many different styles of education. A strong believer in the power of positive thinking in his education system, Alexandra constantly develops good communication skills to bring his students maximum benefit from his professional experience.

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JAMILE AYRES

Guitar, Voice

Emerging Jazz vocalist Jamile is a recent graduate of the inaugural Master’s of Jazz Studies class at City College of New York. Originally from Brazil, she has been a working vocalist on several venues and has had the opportunity to be a featured vocalist on the show ‘Eu Sou Maria (Nativitaten)’, the largest known outdoors Christimas project in the world, for a total of 500,000 people.

​Currently based in New York, she has had the opportunity to perform at Minton’s Playhouse with the Antonio Ciacca’s Swing Society; Smalls Jazz Club with the Scott Reeves Orchestra feat. Steve Wilson, and with the Antonio Ciacca Quartet; and at Jazz At Lincoln Center with the CCNY Graduate Ensemble, along with several other venues throughout the city. Jamile has also received high praise for her performances at the La Spezia Jazz Festival in Italy. Jamile captivates audiences with her unique phrasing influenced by her Brazilian roots that also reaches the tradition of Sarah Vaughan and Carmen Mcrae.

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MICHAEL BRENNAN

Violin, Piano

Michael Brennan has performed all over with orchestras, chamber ensembles, and in solo recital. Recent performances include Lincoln Center’s Outdoor Concert Series “Soul at the Center: Legacy – Lalah Hathaway Sings Donnie Hathaway”; “Opera Italiana! The Central Park outdoor concerts”; and “Ariadne Auf Naxos,” “Britten Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and excerpts from “Die Walküre” with the Miami Music Festival Opera Orchestra. Other performances include “I Due Timidi” and “Suor Angelica” with the Manhattan School of Music Opera Orchestra, as well as “Fiorello” with the Manhattan School of Music Musical Theater Ensemble. Michael began his musical studies with the vioMichlin at fourteen years old, and four years later was accepted into Manhattan School of Music’s college division. In addition to performing, he has been teaching students of all ages for five years now in music schools as well as his private studio all over New York. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music and plans on pursuing further education in the fall.

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FRANCESCA EUNHYANG CHOI

Piano

Pianist Francesca Eunhyang Choi is born in 1979 Dae-Gu, South Korea and started to play the piano at the age 7. After meeting Russian pianist Vladimir Polyakov who studied with Gregory Sokolov, one of greatest pianist, under Prof. Morley Khalfin, she studied at St-Petersburg conservatory from 2002-2005. Later studied with Pianist Nina Lelchuk at Aaron Copland school of music, queens college, CUNY in New York. Since the encounter with Vladimir Polyakov and Nina Lelchuk, she is strongly influenced by the musical lineage of Russian pianists. Francesca Eunhyang took lessons with Prof. Morey Ritt, Choong-Mo Kang, Evelyn Crochet, Daniel Epstein and Irina Morozova . S She is considered a pianist who pursue her own image, philosophy, and tone of sound that she wants to express as a piano. Unlike many pianist, Francesca Eunhyang takes closet interest mechanism and setup of instruments she plays. She spend times exploring their musical characteristics, consulting and collaborating with piano technicians to achieve her ideal requirements. Her interpretation are creative and highly individual. She has appeared as piano soloist with hermitage orchestra, kapella orchestra in Russia and has performed as soloist in South Korea ,Bulgaria and Austria, Russia and USA Beside concertizing, she is a great demand as a pedagogy. She held the position as adjunct professor in South Korea, the New York conservatory and a member of piano studies in Dae-Gu.

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JADE CHOI

Piano, Voice

Jade Choi (a.k.a Eun Young Choi) is a New York based Jazz musician. She is originally from South Korea. Her influences from her Christian gospel background led her into the music field. In 2008 she crossed the ocean and into the city of Toronto to attend Humber College. She received two music awards for outstanding achievement – the Greg Wells Music Scholarship and the Elizabeth Borden Memorial Scholarship in 2010 and 2011. Her group “Shadow Quintet ” and “EunYoung Choi Trio” performed in great venues such as the Central and Gate 403 in Toronto. Ms. Choi also joined the award winning Trish Colter vocal group. The group has performed all over Canada including the Ottawa Jazz Festival, The Rose Theater Bramton, and the Rex. Ms. Choi is a member of the Christian worship band True Worshipers 12, a well-known band in the gospel scene that tours all over the world. Its members are also located all over the world, each of whom are graduates of prestigious music schools. In 2013, Jade moved to New York City to complete her Masters’ Degree in Jazz Study at the Aaron Copland School of Music. It was here that she made her debut into the New York jazz scene. Here she shared the stage with jazz greats Michael Mossman and David Berkman. She continued to shine on the gospel scene as she joined six-time Grammy Award- winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. As a singer with the choir, she has had opportunities to attend some of its most important events; Salvation Army Division Festival Concert and the Christmas Special on Fox TV. She continues to dazzle audiences, with stage performances at notable venues such as Shapeshifter Lab, Something Jazz Club, and Silvana, sometimes as The Jade Choi Group, and also with the band ” The Endorphins” and “Beyond Boundaries.”

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ISAAC DARCHE

Guitar, Piano

Isaac Darche was born and raised in California. He has been an active member of the New York City music scene since 2006. He has played many styles, including performances with Canción legend Jose Jose, the drummer from Steely Dan, and the bassist from the metal band Baroness, as well as numerous jazz musicians.

His two albums as a leader were named best of 2012 and best of 2015 by NPR and Downbeat magazine, respectively.

• He holds music degrees from University of California, Los Angeles and Manhattan School of Music.
• He studied under legendary guitarist Kenny Burrell, Anthony Wilson, and Classical Guitar Chair Mark Delpriora.

In addition to music, he enjoys cooking pasta with seasonal ingredients, power-lifting, and drinking scotch.

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DRUMMOND LUIS DOMINGUEZ-KINCANNON

Guitar, Bass

Drummond is a guitarist, composer, audio engineer and teacher based out of New York. He attended the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College where he studied jazz guitar. Drummond’s compositions span a wide range of genres from progressive metal and jazz, to chiptune music and video game soundtracks.

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JAKOB DREYER

Piano, Guitar, Drums

German born Jakob Dreyer started playing piano when he was 4 years old. He received classical training as a piano player until he switched to bass at age 13. Among his teachers were John Patitucci, Mike Richmond and Anders Jormin. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance from the University of Music an Drama Hamburg as well as a master’s degree in music performance from the City College of New York. He has played alongside Grammy-winning artists like Steve Wilson and Rogerio Boccato, and has performed at important venues all over the world including Carnegie Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Laizshalle in Hamburg, and Bennetts Lane in Melbourne.

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PRISCILLA FAUSTINI

Piano

Priscilla Faustini, born and raised in New Jersey, comes from a musical family of church musicians, singers and teachers. She is a recent graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, where she received a Bachelor of Music in Sacred Music. She began her musical journey at age six, taking piano lessons from her grandfather. Growing up, she was always involved in musical activities in school, church, community choirs and private lessons. During her high school years, she decided to study music at a higher level, and pursue a career as a musician. She has studied piano with Sándor Szabó, Lillian Livingston and Phyllis Lehrer. Her studies also include voice and choral music. As a member of the Westminster Symphonic Choir, she has performed with leading orchestras, including The Philadelphia Orchestra and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Priscilla enjoys teaching piano students of all ages, from elementary to adult. She wants to help them discover and experience the joy of making music. She is currently choir director and pianist at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Newark, New Jersey.

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SEBASTIAN FORSTER

Piano

Born in Buenos Aires in 1975, Sebastián Forster made his international debut with the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra on April 28, 1997, at the Concertgebouw’s main hall, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto #23 and conducted by Jaap Van Zweden (currently principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic).

This concert invitation was recorded live on BMG’s prestige Victor Red Seal label and launched his international career and happened shortly after winning the first prize of the XI Argentine Music Competition, and his debut for Mozarteum Argentino, performing Bach D minor Concerto.

​Since then, Sebastián Forster’s career includes tours as a soloist, and recordings, performing with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, the Stuttgart Philharmonic, the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra (with whom he was soloist invited for their first US east coast tour ever), the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Sophia Philharmonic, the Budapest Concert Orchestra (MAV), the Linz Bruckner Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires, the Radio State Ukrainian Orchestra- with whom he recorded Rachmaninov piano concertos 2 & 3 in year 2000, the National Symphony Orchestra of Argentina (with whom he was invited to perform on August 29th and 31st, 2018, for the 70th anniversary of the Orchestra), a Solo piano recital at the Colon theatre of Buenos Aires for Wagneriana, and at “Sala Verdi” in Milan, among others.

​He has toured the United States, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, and the Czech Republic.

​Hailed by international critics, renowned artists and colleagues as one of the top international classical soloists, and performing publicly since the age of ten, Sebastián Forster studied with Maestro Aldo Antognazzi, a former pupil of Arturo Benedetti Michelangelli, and Principal Piano Professor at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música de Buenos Aires “Carlos López Buchardo” (IUNA).

Sebastián Forster performed regularly at the world-famous Amsterdam Concertgebouw Hall, the “Grote Zaal” and at the Liszt Academy of Budapest.

Sebastián Forster is the founding member of the “Trio Fundación Astor Piazzolla,” with which he toured Belgium, The Netherlands, U.S.A., and Argentina, and recorded the “Nácar Concerto” with the Argentinian Mayo Chamber Orchestra. Sebastián Forster performs with other trio members, including Sara Saint’ Ambroggio in Cello and Galina Zhdanova in Violin.

In 2009 Sebastián Forster ventured into the recording of The 32 Complete Piano Sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven, which completed in 2012. All of his recordings, including both Rachmaninov 2 & 3 piano concertos are available on many of the mainstreaming media -such as Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, and more.

Years of hard work and excellence in music, have awarded Sebastián Forster the recognition of his contribution to music through an “Extraordinary Ability Green Card,” granted by the US government in 2012, only awarded to individuals who possess extraordinary ability, who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement and have achieved national or international recognition for those achievements. Individuals that belong to the top 2 percent of their field of endeavor. In 2017 Sebastián Forster became an American Citizen through that path.

For updates and recordings, visit his homepage: http://sebastianforstermusic.com/

Sebastián Forster is a Faculty member of The Piano School of NYC since 2005 and is married to Jennifer Hauser. They have three children, Ella, Hannah, and Santiago.

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JHOE GARAY

Guitar, Piano

Jhoe Garay is a guitarist, composer and arranger from Mexico City. Garay is based in New York since 2014, where she pursues a career in jazz music at The City College of New York. Garay has studied with iconic figures of the music scene such as Steve Wilson, Peter Bernstein, Scott Reeves, Mike Holober, Freddie Bryant, Lage Lund, Dida Pelled, among others. Moreover, she has shared the stage with important Mexican musicians in her native country, such as Alex Mercado, Roberto Aymes, Pablo Prieto, Alberto Medina, Gabriel Puentes, Israel Cupich, among others.

Garay is a three-time winner of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation Scholarship (2017, 2018 and 2019) and a recipient of the Kaye Foundation Scholarship since 2017. In addition, she has been awarded the Hilda Holober Memorial Award (2016) and the Repsol Emerging Artist Award (2017). She was selected to participate in the prestigious program of The International Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music in 2017 and is currently a beneficiary of the Women in Jazz Organization Mentorship Program in New York and a grantee of the “Young Creators” program 2020 by the National Fund for Culture and Arts in Mexico.

In 2018, Garay was invited as ambassador of the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation to the 2018 Person of the Year gala and the 19th edition of the Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition, she participated in the awards ceremony at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Latin Grammy Awards and performed at the “Leading Ladies of Entertainment” ceremony in Las Vegas in November 2019.

Garay is the leader of her quintet where she explores her musical visions, based on tradition and exploration of different harmonic and structural possibilities. Her compositions and arrangements reflect elements of her greatest influences such as Horace Silver, Thad Jones, Jim Hall, Maria Schneider, Thelonious Monk, among others. Her work has been presented in important venues in Mexico, United States and Canada; such as Aaron Davis Hall, The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, Cornelia St. Cafe, Shea Center for the Performing Arts, CUNY Jazz Festival, The Stone, Margaret Greenham Theater, Rolston Hall, Palcco, Agora Theater, Rufino Tamayo Museum and the International Jazz Festival in Cordoba.

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MIRTA GOMEZ

Piano

Mirta Gomez received her early piano training from her mother in her native Cuba.She continued her musical education at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Juilliard School in New York City.

Ms. Gomez’s recent performances include recitals at the Leo S. Bing Auditorium at the Los Angeles County Museum in Los Angeles,CA, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Ms. Gomez’s International tours have included performances at the Grand Theatre de Geneve, Switzerland, Hochschule fur Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, Germany; Tel-Hai Festival in Israel ,and most recently at the World Piano Festival 2017 in Novi Sad , Serbia.

She has also performed at Civic Centre Auditorium in Monterey, CA, the United Nations Concert Hall, Town Hall, Carnegie Recital Hall, and Merkin Hall in New York City.

Additionally, Ms. Gomez played a private recital for Mayor and Mrs. Giuliani at Gracie Mansion in New York, and has appeared in a televised performance at the Conservatorio Nacional “Lopez Buchardo ” in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Mirta Gomez has recently been a Visiting Professor at Universities in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Portland, Oregon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Graduate Centre City University of New York.

Ms.Gomez is a Steinway Artist.

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STELLA HWANG

Piano

Stella Hwang is a classically trained Jazz and contemporary pianist, composer and arranger. She started to play the piano at the age of five and graduated from Music College in S. Korea majoring in Jazz performance and theory. She had many successful live performances working as a professional musician. While performing, she was accepted as the international scholar at Berklee College of Music. Just before leaving her country, a song she had written was honored as the number one popular song in gospel music in S. Korea.

After she arrived in Boston, her musical insight and skills were shaped and developed as she studied with Laszlo Gardony, Helen Sung, and Joanne Bracken. Ms. Hwang majored in professional music performance and music writing during her time at Berklee. During her time in Boston she performed and worked at NGO concerts, churches, colleges, and schools as a music teacher and performer. She spent a lot of her time and her attention giving back and helping children in poverty.

MS. Hwang is now a New York based musician. She is working at a church in Queens, teaching, and performing. She is working on her debut album and recital, and joined the faculty of the piano School in 2017.

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ARIEL JACOBS

Piano

Ariel Jacobs is a classically trained pianist currently attending Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music in pursuit of a degree in Music Performance. There she is studying under Jeffery Biegel. She is currently the accompanist for the Brooklyn College Chorale and Conservatory Chamber Choir.

Ariel grew up in New Jersey and began taking piano lessons at the age of 6. For excellence in performing, she was awarded the three and five year awards from the New Jersey Music Teachers’ Association. Ariel has performed at Fort Lee Historic Park, Ridgewood Public Library, Steinway Piano Hall in Manhattan and Paramus, NJ, Rockland Community College, Disney World, Whitman Hall, Gershwin Theater and Levenson Recital Hall and has recorded at Bennett Studios, Underground Studios and Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music. She has also performed in master classes given by Adam Kent, Ursula Oppens, and Akira Eguchi. Ariel has been the pianist at her congregation since she was 14.

She began giving piano lessons when she was in high school and has been a successful private piano teacher in Bergen County, NJ and Rockland County, NY for the past seven years. While she has worked with students of all ages, she especially loves working with young children and considers it a privilege to introduce them to the piano. Ariel is very involved in her community and enjoys giving her time and skills to various volunteer projects including Let’s Get Ready and Helping Hands.

Ms. Ariel Jacobs joined the faculty of The Piano School of NYC in 2010.

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GLAFKOS KONTEMENIOTIS

Piano

Glafkos Kontemeniotis was born in Cyprus in 1969. He showed musical interest at an early age and began studying classical piano at the age of 9. He came to New York in 1988 and studied classical piano with Paul Sheftel and jazz piano privately with Lee Evans ,and later with Harold Danko at the Manhattan School Of Music. He received his MA in composition in 1998 from Hunter College. During his MA Studies he studied jazz piano with Mike Longo and composition with Anthony Branker. He has been working professionally as a musician since he first came to new York in 1988 and has been performing extensively within the greek and jazz communities.

Performances include “Greek Musical Journey” at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and a musical tribute to the late jazz great Lionel Hampton at the Schomburg Center. He has performed in many clubs and venues including the Blue Note,Birdland,The Jazz Standard,Iridium, Kitano,Cornelia Street Cafe,Lycavitos Theatre in Greece,Antigua Jazz Festival as well in various universities throughout the country, such as Yale,Cornell,Princeton and the St Louis University . Glafkos has performed and recorded with a number of well known jazz singers and musicians in New York, including Mable Lee, Mercedes Hall,Priscilla Owens,Claudio Roditi ,Jerry Dodgion as well as the very popular Greek singer Gregory Maninakis, mostly known for his renditions of rembetika songs.

His compositions and arrangements are featured in a number of recordings including “Within Reach” which features his own jazz trio “Monk For President”, “Music Of The Wings” which features his arrangements of greek folk and rembetika songs in a jazz style , and Mercedes Hall’s “Pure Emotion” which he also co-produced .He also participared in the well known recording “Cafe Aman America”, a collection of songs of the first greek immigrants in America. He has been favorably mentioned in many reviews including one from Jazz Times and one from Jazz Improv magazine. His own recording “Progress” was recently released in April 2010 and already receiving great quotes and reviews.

Mr. Glafkos Kontemeniotis has joined the faculty of the Piano School in 2013

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