Administration

ANDREW ANSELMO, Office Manager 

Graduate of Columbia University, Andrew is responsible for fundraising, grant writing, and office management. He is currently enrolled in Goldman Sachs 10KSB Program, an accelerated mini MBA program helping entrepreneurs reach their full potential. Feel free to contact him at the following email address: andrew@pianoschoolofnyc.org

 

ERICK EISER,  

Manager, Brooklyn & Faculty, Piano, Guitar

Erick Eiser grew up in Palm Springs, California where he taught himself to play both piano and guitar. He attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he received his BMA in Jazz Performance. Erick has been Teaching piano, guitar, and drums in NYC for the past 8 years, and has performed both locally and as a touring musician with his band The Dig. He plays and teaches all styles of music with a special interest in Jazz, Blues, Pop, and Rock ‘n’ Roll music.

Mr. Erick Eiser has joined the faculty of The Piano School in 2015.

 

JUDE KIM, Manager, Social Media 

Jude Kim is NYC based bassist, piano teacher, and composer. While attending Berklee College of Music for a degree in Bachelor of Music in Performance and Jazz Composition, he was awarded with Student Achievement Scholarship and Most Improved Bassist Award of 2010 Scholarship. From 2013 to 2015, he enrolled to NYU Steinhardt to pursue Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies. Until his commencement in 2015, he was awarded with Ella Fitzgerald Scholarship, Most Promising Young Jazz Artist Series Competition, and Afro-Peruvian Ensemble Award.

Jude Kim has worked with Run-DMC, Def Jam, Swiss Chris, and Easy Mo Bee in NYC hip-hop scene as an assistant music director; with Chris Potter, Jean-Michel Pilc, Kenny Werner, Jon Cowherd, as a bassist in the jazz scene; with Samsung Fashion as a composer. In 2015, he has released his first album titled “October” (Titled “Margaret Thankyou” in iTunes).

 

ALEKSANDRA KOCHEVA,

Manager, Manhattan and Bronx & Faculty, Piano 

 

A native of Bulgaria, Aleksandra Kocheva began her musical training on the piano at age five. In 1998, she graduated from the International School of Music in Sofia. She furthered her training at the Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria where she studied piano performance with Teodora Nestorova and received her Bachelors of Music degree in 2002. At that time Aleksandra cofounded the Kocheva Duo together with her twin sister Nikoleta Kocheva and foundations “Soros” and ”Pro Helvetia” released their debut album for piano duo “Ad Libitum” . As a recipient of the prestigious Erasmus award and scholarship given by European Union program for outstanding performance, Aleksandra Kocheva continued studying at the Hochschule für Music und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart, Germany, where she studied with Michael Seewann, Marialena Fernandes, Katherine Wickers and Bojidar Noev. In 2004, Ms. Kocheva was invited by the “International Stradivarius Competition” in Malta to be a jury member and special guest for the Piano Summer Festival. As a very active chamber music Player, Aleksandra worked with such artists as Second Instrumental Unit, conductors Tito Muñoz and Marc Williams, violinist David Fulmer and clarinetist Asuka Elias with whom she co-founded Clara Duo in 2006.

 

In 2006, Aleksandra earned her Masters of Music Degree in Piano Performance from CUNY Queens College, Aaron Copland School of Music, New York. During her studies, she was awarded the Artur Balsam scholarship and received the Chamber Music Live award given for extraordinary achievements in chamber music. She studied with Morey Ritt, Charles Neidich, Michael Lipsey, Daniel Phillips and Marcy Rosen. Aleksandra has been recognized for her artistry in solo recitals and chamber music concerts in theUnited States, Europe and Japan. Her varied repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary works. Ms. Kocheva premiered many compositions by American composers including Takuma Tanikawa, Paul Riker and others. On her Merkin Hall debut concert in 2006, she played the world premiere of Milton Babbitt’s Composition for Twelve Instruments. Highlights of her concert series in 2008/09 include her Carnegie hall debut, Kocheva Duo debut concerts at Steinway Hall and Tonhalle Zürich, and Clara Duo debut concerts in Osaka, Japan.

 

Ms. Kocheva is not only an active chamber music performer but a dedicated piano teacher to children and adults of all ages all over the NYC metro area. Aleksandra became a faculty member for the Piano School in 2006.

 

ALECIA DALESSIO MCCLINTOCK,

Manager, New Jersey, Rockland, Westchester & Honorary Board Member & Faculty, Piano

Alecia Dalessio McClintock began playing piano at the age of four because of her parents’ influence, both of whom were musicians. Taking numerous courses as a child at the Mannes College of Music preparatory division led to Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Mannes.  She studied piano under Diane Walsh and Thomas Sauer, and also obtained a Bachelor’s in Music Theory. During school, Alecia began teaching privately in Manhattan while starting the piano program at the Huntington Music Academy in Huntington, New York. She then worked as a manager at a music school for infants and toddlers in NYC. This led her to studies in accounting and a graduate degree from Devry University. After moving around the country for several years, Alecia settled back in New Jersey where she’s originally from, and has taught piano in Maplewood and Short Hills for the past 10 years. Alecia is excited and thankful to be a member of the Piano School of NYC family!

 

NICOLETTA TODESCO,

Manager, Queens and Long Island & Faculty, Guitar

Nicoletta Todesco is an Italian guitarist and Yale School of Music Alumni, currently based in New York City working as teacher and Event Manager for Classical Guitar Corner Academy.

In 2019 she graduated at the MMA program under guidance of professor Benjamin Verdery, being awarded with the Eliot Fisk Prize recognized to an outstanding guitarist whose artistic achievement and dedication have contributed greatly to the department. In April of the same year she had her Carnegie Hall debut with the guitar studio of the Yale School of Music.

Previously to her Yale studies and achievements, Nicoletta graduated with honors at the F.A.Bonporti Conservatory of Trento and concluded a Master Degree in guitar performance at G.B. Martini Conservatory of Bologna, under the supervision of guitarists Norma Lutzemberger and Walter Zanetti respectively. Since 2014, she holds a M.Sc. in Musicology issued by the University of Bologna.

Nicoletta plays both classical and electric guitar, with a strong interest for contemporary music that brought her to perform in important festivals in Italy, Mexico, and USA. She has been particularly active in chamber music ensembles and enjoys working together with composers who gives her the opportunity to experiment New Music and premiere new pieces. Her performances often include pieces for voice and guitar, as well as original compositions and arrangements.

Since her early career Nicoletta is committed to music pedagogy, and taught guitar and music theory in several public and private institutions. In 2015 she spent a year in a disadvantaged area of Aguascalientes (Mexico), promoting music education among children and young adults. More recently, she has been Teaching Artist and Teaching Assistant at the Yale University.

 

NATALIA VERENITCH, Bookkeeper 

Natalia Verenitch received her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the Belarusian State University.
She relocated to USA in 2001, where she then received Associate degree in Accounting and Business management.
Natalia has over 10 years of experience in business management and in bookkeeping. She is an avid music lover, and is excited to begin her new journey with The Pino School of NYC.

 

Faculty

ERIC AKIF, Piano 

A native of Bulgaria, Eric Akif holds a B.A. degree from the Academy of Music and Dance, Plovdiv and a M.A. degree from Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Flushing Town Hall, Queens Auditorium in New York; Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center, Jomie Jazz Center, Keith-Albey Theatre in Huntington, WV; the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria and many other venues. As a jazz vocalist, Eric Akif has shared stage with American Jazz icons such as Myrna Lake, Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch, Renee Manning, Donald Smith and Norman Pors. Currently, Mr. Akif is actively performing with jazz pianist Elaine Kim and guitarist John Henry Sheridan in New York City.

Mr. Eric Akif has joined the faculty of the Piano School of NYC in 2011.

 

ADAM ALI, Piano 

Adam Ali was born in 1995 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He first studied the piano at the age of six with his grandmother, Lalan Parott. After five years, Adam entered the Prep Division of Mannes College, joining the studio of Irina Edelman. At the same time, he attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia School of the Arts, and graduated from both schools with honors. In 2013, Adam enrolled at the Aaron Copland School of Music, studying with Donald Pirone.

 

Adam has performed extensively in solo recitals and as a chamber musician. In 2013, he played in Alice Tully Hall in the Chamber Music Society’s Young Musicians Concert. He has also played in various masterclasses, including those given by Hugo Goldenzweig, Adam Kent, and Eteri Andjaperidze. In 2015, he attended the International Keyboard Institute and Festival during their first summer at Hunter College. In Feburary 2016, he performed Schumann’s Piano Concerto op. 54 with the Queens College Symphony Orchestra.

 

ANNA LOUISE ANDERSSON, Piano, Voice 

Anna Louise Andersson is a native of Sweden where she grew up playing viola and clarinet as well as singing from the age of five. In later years she attended performance High School for Music in Sweden. She went on to study musical theatre, classical music as well as pop and jazz in the Applied Music program at SMC in Los Angeles in 2006. She later moved to New York where she finished her Bachelor in Vocal Performance from the New School University for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan 2011. She has since then been working as a freelance vocalist, performing on stages worldwide. Anna Louise divides her time between singing and teaching music and has taught kids and adults in vocal technique, performance and piano for over a decade.

 

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.

 

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.

 

ILYA BABURASHVILI, Piano 

Born in Moscow, Russia. At the age of six, I moved to Brooklyn and began taking piano lessons at the age of eight.
In 2006, I went back to Russia to receive my musical education, graduating from the Academic Musical College at the Moscow State Conservatory, where I majored in music theory, and subsequently getting my Masters Degree in Composition at the Moscow State Conservatory.

I have 8 years of experience teaching piano, music theory, composition, and English as a second language.
I have also written numerous compositions for piano, orchestra, and chamber ensembles and have performed as a solo pianist and accompanist in various venues in both the US and abroad.

 

JONATHAN BLOCK, Violin, Piano 

Jonathan Block is a native of New York City. During middle school and high school, he held top positions in the ISO and New York Youth Symphony, and attended the highly regarded summer chamber music programs Greenwood and School For Strings. In 2012, he performed the Bach Chaconne in a master class for Pamela Frank. For his four years at Stony Brook University, Jonathan studied violin with Eugene Drucker, and regularly participated in chamber music coachings with members of the Emerson String Quartet. As an undergraduate, he was a member the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, and he attended Aspen Music Festival, Bowdoin Music Festival, Sienna Summer Music Festival, and Round Top Music Festival. Jonathan performed the Prokofiev G Minor Violin Concerto with the Stony Brook University Orchestra in 2013, and got his Bachelors Degree there in Violin Performance in 2014. Since then, he has been a regular freelancer in the tri-state area, and has been a full time member of the Glens Falls Symphony since 2016. Jonathan has enthusiastically taught Kindergarten through college-level students privately since 2010, and also has experience preparing groups and individual students for their NYSSMA exams. Recently, he taught a class of 8 students at the LEAP Afterschool Program.

 

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.

 

FRANCESCO CATRICALA, Piano, Drums, Guitar 

Francesco Catricala grew up in a family of musicians and began taking piano and drum lessons in elementary school. During middle school he taught himself guitar under the guidance of his father, a professional guitarist and school teacher. Interested in jazz Francesco joined his high school jazz ensemble and was invited to play with the Skidmore College Jazz Department. In college Francesco studied Jazz Performance Drums and Percussion at SUNY Purchase. Taking private lessons in both drums and piano he studied with Professors and successful musicians such as John Riley, Kenny Washington on drums and David Hazeltine and Charles Blenzig on piano. He has since then been working as a private lesson instructor and touring with multiple bands worldwide.

 

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.

 

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.”

 

SZYMON CZERNIAK, Piano 

American born Polish pianist, Szymon Czerniak, has been hailed for his “brilliant technique, extraordinary energy, and strength in interpretation (Kourier Szczecinski).” Most recently, Szymon was awarded a Cultural Arts Scholarship by the Koszczisko Foundation in New York to study in Poland under the direction of Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron at the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, where he currently resides. Previously, Szymon studied in Houston, Texas, his hometown, at the Moores School of Music, under the tutelage of Timothy Hester where he regularly performed as part of the universities Honors program. In addition to performing in concert venues as a soloist throughout the United States, Poland, Italy, and France, Szymon is also an avid collaborative artist, regularly accompanying chamber musicians, orchestras, and vocalists. Szymon is also a devoted performer in the genre of jazz, performing regularly throughout Texas with his jazz ensemble, The Simon Aleksander Quintet. In the world of jazz, Szymon has collaborated with artists such as Randy Brecker, Allen Vizzutti, Will Kennedy of the Yellow Jackets, Glen Ackerman, and Sal Capone, among others. In addition to his studies in music and performing arts, Szymon also holds a degree in Political Science from the prestigious Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

EUNJEONG GIM, Piano 

Eunjeong Gim is an active musician who lives in Queens, New York. She received her bachelor degree in Music Education from Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and she became a certified music teacher in New York State. She is an accompanist at Joyful church of New York, and she volunteer as a Korean school teacher in the same church. She teaches Korean songs to the kindergarten and elementary school students. She has been teaching for over five years and loves teaching children. Ms. Gim who is interested in the study of Educational Psychology, is dedicated to the art of teaching and inspiring students.

 

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.

 

VICTOR GOULD, Piano 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

YANA KOROLEVA, Piano 

 

Yana Koroleva is originally from Russia. When she was 7 years old, she attended a specialized music school for children in her home city Cheboksary for 8 years, in which she studied classical piano, music theory, choir, and other music classes.


When Yana moved to the USA, she decided to continue her journey in music education. She attended City College of New York, which she graduated in 2013 with BA degree in music performance. She loves teaching and sharing joy of music with people of all ages. She has been tutoring and teaching piano to her friends, classmates, and children since high school. She is a licensed Music Together teacher, and she loves creating various music projects with kids, making their journey to learn an instrument interesting and enjoyable.


Yana is currently working on her second degree in Psychology, and she would like to become a music therapist as well. .


Besides piano, Yana also enjoys singing and playing the guitar. She is performing in New York area, and she also volunteers at the New York Methodist hospital playing for patients.

Ms. Yana Koroleva has joined the faculty of the Piano School in 2016.

 

SOFIA KRIGER, Piano, Voice 

Sofia Kriger is a Brazilian vocalist and pianist currently based in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated from the New England Conservatory with a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Performance, where she had the opportunity to study and collaborate with some of the best musicians and educators, including Dominique Eade, Jerry Bergonzi, John McNeil, Ran Blake, Jeanie LoVetri, Joe Morris, Dave Holland, John Lockwood and Frank Carlberg.

As an instructor, Sofia encourages her students to experiment playing different music styles, to improvise, and to be inspired and comfortable with their instruments. She combines her conservatory training, composer creativity and performing abilities to find the inner musician in each and every one of her students.

 

CHRISTINA KULICK, Piano, Voice 

Whether as teacher or student, artist or audience, behind the scenes or center stage, Christina Kulick is a devoted advocate for Music and the Arts. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Ms. Kulick engaged in her studies of Music and Dance at the age of three, and thus the seeds of a lifelong habit of Music were planted. Showing a gift for Song, she began studying Voice and Piano through private lessons and became an active performer in her Elementary and High School Theatre and Choral Departments. In addition, she was accepted to study at The Harrisburg Arts Magnet School as a student of the specialized Music Theatre Program. A recipient of the Minna Kauffman Ruud Vocal Scholarship, she went on to further her studies at Chatham College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a Double Major in Music and Theatre. There, Ms. Kulick continued her Classical Voice and Piano studies and was an active member and performer in Music Department Recitals, Choir and Madrigals, Theatre Performances and Technical Design, Directing, Ballet and Modern Dance Performances through The Chatham College Dance Collective and also performed to great acclaim in The Freeport Summer Theatre Festivals. She received her BA in both Music and Theatre in 1999, graduating Cum Laude. Honored as the only student in the Colleges history to write and perform two Senior Theses, Ms. Kulick showed her diversity in singing, acting, scriptwriting, directing, choreographing and set and costume design. Her Theatre Thesis centered on researching and performing the role of Josef Gross in Vaclav Havel’s acclaimed play “The Memorandum” and the Absurdist Theatre Movement that resulted from the social and political climate of the time. For her Music Thesis, she researched and performed the Music of George Gershwin and Cole Porter and explored their influence on American Music. Ms. Kulick was asked to perform a song of farewell at her commencement ceremony and recalls feeling her time there had come to full circle, ending as it began, with a song. Relocating to New York brought many years of enjoying the beguiling Arts scene, writing and performing original Music and Jazz standards at both private events and Singer/Songwriter Series at venues such as The Rising, CB’s Gallery and The Bitter End. Working as the Musical Director for B.R. Guest, Inc., a large restaurant corporation in Manhattan, Ms. Kulick was responsible for booking Jazz and R&B bands for live entertainment and special events. In 2004, Ms. Kulick joined the Faculty of The Piano School of NYC and has been committed to teaching her wonderful students ever since, through both private lessons and Group Piano classes at several schools in Brooklyn. Continually inspired by her students joy and growth, she is quite sure they have taught her to grow as well both as a Musician and as an Educator.  In addition to her teaching at The Piano School, Ms. Kulick is pleased to have served as a vital part of the administrative team as Senior Brooklyn Branch Manager from 2006-2017, helping the Piano Programs grow and bring much needed Music Education to many more deserving students.  She has been honored to be a part of this excellent work in our community’s schools and help support many students, families and Teachers that share our value and passion for Music and Piano Education.  In the Summer of 2017, she is passing the torch to her colleagues in resigning her Manager position and looks forward to continuing her Teaching role as a Faculty Member with The Piano School.  Ms. Kulick will continue to teach and inspire many more students in our learning community and her many years of work, successes and joys coordinating Brooklyn Piano Programs will always remain close in her heart.

Working with a team of collaborators, she has composed the score to “Zuly in the Last Place on Earth”, a new Family Musical that radiantly promotes the positive messages of peaceful conflict resolution, being true to yourself and accepting differences in others with kindness and compassion. Through the development process, “Zuly” was under consideration in the 2006 Global Search for New Musicals and enjoyed its first public performances in 2007 in New York City in both the Warning: Not for Broadway Musical Theatre Festival and The Midtown International Theatre Festival. “Zuly” was also selected as a finalist in 2008 and semi-finalist in 2010 for The Moondance International Theatre Festival and enjoyed performances in 2009 and 2011 at The Moxie Spot in Brooklyn, NY.  Additionally, Ms. Kulick and a cast of actors have performed Musical selections from “Zuly in The Last Place on Earth” at The Golden Fleece Composers Chamber Theatre in New York City.  In the school years of 2010 through 2014, serving as both Musical Director and Performer, Ms. Kulick and their talented team of actors and singers, were invited to partner with The Brooklyn Arts Council and perform “Zuly in the Last Place on Earth” as a part of their acclaimed Arts in Education Programs for many students throughout Brooklyn.

In 2014, Ms. Kulick was pleased to have one of her original songs featured in “A Picture Of You”, a J.P. Chan Film and continues her songwriting, composition and performances.

 

UTSAV LAL, Piano 

Creative pianist and composer, Utsav Lal has gained critical acclaim for his innovative handling of Indian Classical music. This 25-year classical and jazz pianist has  successfully taken the pure sounds of Indian ragas on the piano to global venues including Carnegie Hall-New York, The Kennedy Centre-Washington DC, Southbank Centre-London and holds the distinction of being the first musician to introduce the piano at the 137th Harivallabh Sammelan, India’s oldest classical music festival. Five solo music albums and laurels that include recognition as Young Steinway Artist , TiE-Aspire Young Indian Achiever, Yamaha Jazz Scholar UK , & Ireland’s MAMA Award for promoting multiculturalism, Lal’s style has been described by Novara Jazz festival Director Corrado Beldi as having “illuminating grace”. A disciple of Dhrupad legend Ustad.F.W.Dagar, Lal’s music has been acclaimed for its sincerity, simplicity and depth. Lal has conducted several workshops titled “Breaking Boundaries” and is well known for his collaborative work with Irish & Scottish musicians in particular, for his “Ragas to Reels” project with performances in India, Ireland and UK. Also for his extensive project work with Inventor Geoff Smith on the world’s first ever Fluid Piano, on which he recorded a unique album released in July 2016.

 

EMMA LARSSON, Piano, Voice 

Born in Sweden, Emma Larsson started learning piano at the age of 8, and it was love at first sight! She knew since her early years, that music was going to play a major role in her life. At 14, Emma started to play saxophone, and joined wind orchestras and big bands, but piano was her main instrument. After high school, Emma moved to Ostrava in Czech Republic and studied at the music conservatory there for a year pursuing studies on classical piano.

Ms. Larsson has recorded and performed with many well-known artists in many countries, and is now working as a NYC based jazz singer and composer. She holds a Master of Education in Music degree from Lulea University, Sweden, and a Master of Music in Jazz studies from the prestigious Sibelius Academy in Finland.

Emma has been teaching at the Music Conservatory of Oulu and the University of Applied Science in Joensuu in Finland, where she also educated future singing teachers. Her teaching and performing experiences have taken her around the world including Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, and South Africa, and she can now be heard performing in many of the best jazz clubs in NYC, including Miles’ Café, Iridium, The Bar Next Door, Cleopatra’s Needle, Smalls Jazz Club, and The Zinc Bar.

Ms. Emma Larsson has joined the faculty of The Piano School of NYC in 2011.

 

JOCELYN LEE, Piano 

Jocelyn Lee was born in Singapore. By age 15, she attained her Licentiate Diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal School of Music and Trinity College of Music. Two years later, she received a full scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Music at West Virginia University where she won the West Virginia MTNA, the WVU Young Artist Competition and performed as a soloist with the WVU Symphony Orchestra. In Summer 2016, she attended the Chautauqua Institution and most recently, won third in the West Virginia International Piano Competition. Lee earned a master’s degree at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 2017. After teaching in Indiana University Pre-College program and accompanying IU Ballet, she went on to pursue an advanced certificate in piano performance and pedagogy at NYU Steinhardt, where she is an instructor in Piano Studies. Currently, she is pursuing a doctorate degree in piano performance at Stony Brook University where she is appointed as a teaching assistant. Lee’s principal teachers include Christina Dahl, Eteri Andjaparidze, Emile Naoumoff, Peter Amstutz and P’ng Tean Hwa.

 

VARTAN MAILIANTZ, Piano, Violin 

Vartan Mailiantz is a professional piano, violin and viola teacher, award-winning violinist with a decade of successful experience in teaching and concert performing. Graduated from the famous world class musical institutions such as Moscow State Conservatory and the Mannes Music School now he based in New York and continue develop his professional teaching and artist skills. Vartan 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, Vartan constantly develops good communication skills to bring his students maximum benefit from his professional experience. Vartan enjoys reading almost all kinds of books and interested in science but can also be found on a Gym.

 

MELISSA MANNING, Piano 

Melissa Manning, was born and raised in Newark, NJ. She is a Juilliard trained concert pianist who attended the Manhattan School of Music and Montclair University as a piano performance major. She won the piano concerto competition at Montclair and performed the Rhapsody In Blue with the Montclair Concert Jazz Band. At the age of 17, she was accepted to a college level summer program in Switzerland in conjunction with Syracuse University and Ecole de Hindemith. She performed in weekly soirees at the Chalet de la Gloriette and in concert with the Suisse Romande Orchestre. Melissa was the recipient of numerous scholarships including those from The Miss America Scholarship Foundation. She was chosen Miss Essex County, was 3rd runner up to Miss New Jersey 2 times, and 4th runner one time. She was chosen first runner up to Vanessa Williams, Miss America, and was crowned Miss New York State, 1983. She toured with the USO Metropolitan for 3 weeks and performed in every VA Hospital in NY State. She worked as a model in NYC and coaches her music students on stage presence and poise. She has music directed, “Kiss Me Kate”, “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying”, “My Favorite Year”, and directed 3 children’s musicals the summer of 2008 including, “Footloose”, “Into the Woods”, and “The Sound of Music”. She played in the orchestra pit for the “Wizard of Oz” production at the Wyckoff Y in 2010. She has worked as a church organist and choir director since 1986 and is currently Music Director at the Community Church of Ho-Ho-Kus in NJ. Melissa has produced the Opera Night Concerts at L’Artista Italian Restaurant and other venues in Rockland County since April 2006, accompanying a variety of operatic singers including sopranos, mezzo-sopranos, tenors, and baritones. Melissa became music director of the Morning Music Club in 2010. Melissa has taught music to several celebrities over the years including the children of Justin Chambers, Hollywood actor, Storm Field and family, Eyewitness News weatherman, and iconic musical legend, Aretha Franklin.

 

Ms. Melissa Manning has joined the faculty of the Piano School of NYC in 2011

 

KESSA MEFFORD, Piano

Kessa Mefford has been an active solo pianist and piano teacher for nearly a decade. She gave her first full solo recital at age 14 and began teaching piano privately less than a year later. She has performed concerts around Westchester and New York City, as well as in Utah during her BM in piano performance at Brigham Young University. She is currently studying under Simone Dinnerstein for her MM and has received prestigious music scholarships from both institutions. She has received several awards in the Great Composers Competition series, including 1st place for the Best Brahms Performance edition. Kessa is an active performer with the Piatigorsky Foundation and will be embarking on a tour to Ohio for them in spring 2019.

 

Kessa received intensive piano pedagogy training during her BM from Dr. Irene Peery-Fox and Dr. Jared Pierce and participated in UMTA and MTNA events throughout her undergrad. She primarily uses the Faber and Faber piano method in her teaching for a comprehensive, well-rounded approach to music education, supplemented with technique exercises of her own creation to create a strong foundation for students to feel confident in their abilities.

 

YOKO NAKAHASHI, Piano, Drums 

Known as her Buddhist name Laiyo, Yoko Nakahashi is a modern composer. Her first free-atonal classical composition “Hurricana” was well received from various audiences, and it lead to receive the award from ASCAP at Lincoln Center, received from Pulitzer prize winner David Del Tredici. Before she started modern classical composition, Laiyo has been writing music for theatre and martial arts company Spinnin’Ronin, and creating sound effects for various theater groups.

Ms. Yoko Takahashi has earned B.A. from City College of New York and M.M. from New York University.

Ms. Yoko Takahashi has joined the faculty of The Piano School in 2015.

 

KATE EUNJUNG NOH, Piano, Trumpet 

Music has always been a way to connect with myself and with others. Music encourages us to express our emotions and helps us unlock our inner creativity. Learning how to play the piano will give students an opportunity to critically think, connect with others, and be proud of their hard work. That is what I hope to teach my students so that they can take what they learn from my piano lessons and grow in other aspects of life.

I began pursuing my passion for piano at age 6, taking a specific interest in classical and church music. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree I hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Yonsei University of Music, and a Master’s Degree from Brooklyn College of The City University of New York. I studied the trumpet and piano with Douglas Hedwig (Principal of Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and Vincent Penzarella (a member of the New York Philharmonic).

As a soloist, I performed with Yonsei USA Chamber Chorus & Orchestra (also known as the Underwood Chamber Orchestra) from 2004 to 2011 at Carnegie Hall for a Mission Concert. I have also performed as a soloist in the Karos Ensemble in 1994 and with the Yonsei Alumni Orchestra in 2002. I have performed as a member of different orchestras such as the Korean Chamber Orchestra of New York, New York Symphony Orchestra, the Chodae Chamber Orchestra, and many others. I served at the Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in New Jersey as the Music Director, organist and was a member of the National Federation of Music Clubs.

 

ALEXANDRA PITOCCHI, Piano 

Alexandra Pitocchi, an active pianist and teacher, was born in Massapequa, NY. Starting at a young age, she developed a deep love for classical music and found the piano to be a great source of solace and self-expression. As an educator, Alexandra believes in the importance of fostering intrinsic motivation and giving each student the tools to become independent and confident musicians.

 

Alexandra began teaching piano during her undergraduate studies at the Crane School of Music, where she earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance with a concentration Pedagogy. Here, she was able to gain extensive experience working closely with students of various ages and levels, allowing her to become familiar with a wide of array of repertoire and method books. While at Crane, Alexandra studied solo piano with Dr. Paul Wyse and piano pedagogy with Dr. Kathryn Sherman.

Alexandra also holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College, where she graduated with distinction. As a graduate assistant, she taught private piano lessons at Westminster Conservatory as well as group piano classes. During her time at Westminster Choir College, Alexandra completed internships under the guidance of Phyllis Lehrer and Betty Stoloff, focusing mainly on teaching in a group setting. She has also performed in master classes with prestigious pianists such as Lori Sims and Thomas Otten.

In addition to an extensive teaching career, Alexandra is an active soloist and collaborator and works regularly with vocalists. She has performed at multiple venues, including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Snell Theater (Potsdam, NY), Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall (Potsdam, NY), and Williamson Hall (Princeton, NJ).

 

HUMBERTO OLIVIERI, Piano, Theater 

Humberto Olivieri began his formal classical piano studies with professor Bruna Monestiroli, a former student of pianist and educator, Alfredo Casella. Montestiroli gave him the basic technique and understanding of tonal western harmony, as well as introducing him to the art of teaching by letting him borrow some of her younger students and monitor his teaching. He then discovered Jazz, and pursued Jazz studies at the City College of New York where he graduated with a Bachelors in Music Performance.

 

In New York, he studies with Ray Gallon and Barry Harris and attends workshops with Kenny Werner, Fred Hersch, Bill Charlap and Ted Rosenthal, to name a few. He also studies with saxophonist Jason Rigby, who introduced him to the concept of free jazz.

 

ISAAC PARK, Piano 

Isaac Park is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at Rutgers University. He has also graduated from Mannes College of Music with Master of Music and Bachelor of Science degrees, as well as Professional Diploma.

Mr. Park has won several awards and participated in many musical events which led him to perform on many professional stages, solo as well as with orchestras, including Weils Recital Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Steinway Hall in NYC as well as many in NJ and in Russia, Italy, Paris.

Isaac Park has a certification in Dalcroze method, which helps young student’s understanding of musical elements. He also teaches all ages and all levels with emphasis on music theory and logic on techniques.

He is dedicated to teaching young and old to bring out the music that resides within everyone onto piano.

 

JACOB RUDIN, Piano, Flute, Voice 

Jacob Rudin is a Brooklyn based composer, Pianist and Flautist. He studied classical music composition at New England Conservatory and Music Technology at NYU. As a performer, he focuses on the intersection of experimental electronic pop with jazz and classical influences. As a teacher he encourages technical mastery through positive reinforcement and fun musical activities, bringing together many different styles to help students realize their musical potentials. He has performed all over the US and in Europe as his solo act NTHNL, and with his former band Primal Feelings and has collaborated with artists Colaboyy, Lina Tullgren, Beccs and David Byrne (making a practice mix).

 

ALEXANDRIA ARIA SCHEER, Piano 

Alexandra Aria Scheer is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance at NYU and studies with Gorodnitzki Chair in Piano Studies, Eduardus Halim. Alexandra is a prizewinner in several competitions, including the Westminster Conservatory Scholarship Competition (2006, 2009, 2011), Crescendo International Competition (2013), and Prima Artists International Competition (2013), and a recipient of the Honorable Mention Prize for the NYU Piano Concerto Competition (2016). As a Grand Prize Winner in the Music-Fest Rising Talents Festival, Alexandra performed at Carnegie Hall in 2009 and 2010 as both a soloist and chamber musician. In 2011, she was selected to play in a master class with Dorian Leljak and with the renowned Nash ensemble of London. A participant in the Young Artists Honors Program at Westminster Conservatory (2007- 2011), she has been recognized with a special certificate of honor for her outstanding contribution to the arts and to the community by the Paul W. Hofreiter foundation of Westminster Conservatory. Alexandra has also appeared in masterclasses with Deidre O’Donohue( 2012), Richard Cionco (2013), Eteri Andjaparidze (2013), Michael Thomopolous(2014), Seymour Bernstein (2014), Barry Snyder (2015), Ursula Oppens (2015), Robin McCabe (2016), Santiago Rodriguez (2016), and Craig Sheppard (2016).

 

Alexandra was also the co-founder and co-curator of a new performance series, Steinhardt at Tompkins Square, designed as an opportunity  for NYU pianists to reach out to the public and give back, through the gift of music (Jan 2016). She has participated summer festivals such as the NYU Piano Intensive (2013,2014), and the Seattle Piano Institute of the University of Washington (2016). Along with being a solo pianist, Alexandra  is an active accompanist and also maintains a private studio and is a teacher at Eskay’s Music Lessons. She is currently the work-study assistant under NYU chair in Piano Studies, Dr. Marilyn Nonken.

 

LEVAN SHENGELIA, Piano 

Levan Shengelia was born in Samtredia, Republic of Georgia, and began his musical career at the age of four. One year later, Levan gave his first public performance and has since never looked back. Mr. Shengelia’s formal education began when he was accepted into the highly selective Talent School of Music through the Tbilisi State Conservatory of Music, and continued his studies through the Tbilisi State Conservatory where he received his BA and MM in Piano Performance graduating with honors. Mr. Shengelia was then awarded a full scholarship in composition at Hartt School of Music where he received his Artist Diploma. Mr. Shengelia has released four CD’s, and has performed his own compositions across the Americas, Europe, and Georgia. He was the grand prize winner in the Theatre International Festival for the best sound track, was the showcase at the Contemporary Music Festival, and was the Georgian Radio Prize Winner. In 2009, Levan came to the United States with a 01, extraordinary abilities, visa, and now holds his permanent resident card in the United States. Levan has an extraordinarily unique method of connecting and teaching all levels of students and performers. He is particularly skilled with group lessons, infusing his own composition knowhow and pianistic abilities to make learning fun and exciting for students from elementary to advanced levels. He has also taught, music theory and music literature, and enjoys imparting his own style, and musical approach to audiences and students alike.

Mr. Levan Shengelia has joined the faculty of the Piano School in 2013

 

SHANE SIMPSON, Piano 

Shane Simpson is a pianist, composer, and music teacher based in Brooklyn, NY. He has served as an Affiliated Artist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as well as faculty at the New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston, MA. He is a faculty member at NEC’s Jazz Lab and staff member at the Maine Jazz Camp. Originating from the North Shore of Chicago, Shane has performed in cities throughout the US, and he appeared at the Panama Jazz Festival in 2017. His mentors include some of the best pianists and improvisers in the world including Fred Hersch, Anthony Coleman, Bruce Brubaker, and Ran Blake who premiered Shane’s original composition ​Bright​ at the Kitano with vocalist Sara Serpa in 2016. In 2015, Shane received the Tourjée Alumni Scholarship Award from NEC where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Jazz Performance. Shane is a member of Petite Feet, an experimental ragtime trio and the ensemble-in-residence at NEC’s Jazz Lab. Pianist Ethan Iverson calls ​Nude Piano: Iconic Rags of Scott Joplin​, the trio’s debut record released July 4th, 2019, “an engaging surprise.” Shane teaches lessons in piano, composition, improvisation, music theory, ear training, and sight-singing. He teaches all ages, levels, and styles.

 

ANTONIO VALENTIN, Piano 

CzechoPino pianist Antonio Valentin is a highly accomplished performing artist, accompanist, composer, and much sought after keyboard instructor in the New York City area. He has given concerts in Tokyo, Madrid, San Jaun, Washington D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia. A native of the Maryland suburbs, Antonio has built expertise in the styles of Neoclassicm, French Impressionism, Nationalism, and Minimalism under the guidance of his teachers, who have included Marilyn Nonken, Thomas Schumacher, Enrico Elisi, Donn-Alexandre Feder, Eteri Andjaparidze, and Alexandre Moutouzkine. Prize winner of numerous international piano competitions, Antonio has given note worthy performances that have included a solo engagement with the Grammy-nominated Eastman Wind Ensemble, a collaboration with opera sensation Renee Fleming, and has debuted a world premier with ‪So Percussion. Antonio is currently pursuing a MM at NYU.

 

CHUN WANG, Piano 

Chun Wang was born in China and received his formal training at Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, before moving to the United States in 2009 to continue his education at The Juilliard School. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Manhattan School of Music under the guidance of Dr Solomon Mikowsky.

In his professional career, Chun has performed extensively at many famous concert venues around the world, including Salle Cortot in Paris, Wigmore Hall in London, and Sala Cecília Meireles in Rio de Janeiro. He made his concerto debut at age of 15 with St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra at The Bolshoi Hall, St Petersburg in 2006 and has since collaborated with many orchestras such as Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra, Granada City Orchestra (Spain) and so on. He is a laureate of many prestigious international piano competitions around the world such as Hamamatsu, UNISA (South Africa), Jaén (Spain), and Panama. His first CD, released in December 2018 by NAXOS, made the Top 50 Classical New Releases on Spotify playlist and was featured on BBC Radio 3.

 

RACHEL WARDEN, Piano, Violin 

From Bryan, Texas, Rachel Warden began her musical journey at the age of 6. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from the Moores School of Music. Originally a student of the Suzuki method, Warden is a versatile musician comfortable with classical, bluegrass, pop and rock styles along with various teaching methodologies. She attended the Marian Anderson String Quartet Chamber Music Institute for 7 years and became a fellow in 2015. Warden has received tutelage from a number of world renowned musicians including Jeremy Zhu and Oleh Krysa during her time at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. She has played in masterclasses with revered musicians such as William Preucil, former Concertmaster of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Kenneth Goldsmith, Professor of Violin at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and studied with Andrzej Grabiec, worldwide renowned violin soloist and conductor, for four years during her time at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. Rachel is an accomplished performer placing as a finalist in the Brazos Valley Concerto Competition and the Tuesday Musical Club Young Artist Competition. During her studies, she remained an active performer playing in numerous symphony orchestra concerts, operas, and ballets. Warden has 4 years of teaching experience with both violin and piano, and she is passionate about encouraging students of all ages and levels to foster a love and passion for music.

 

Board of Directors

KAREN KARPOWICH, President 

Karen Karpowich has been a leader in both the corporate and not for profit communities. She is a Founding Trustee of The Way of The Rain, an arts, education, and environmental initiative, created by the painter and performance artist, Sibylle Szaggars Redford. Karen helped to create its operating structure and board development plan. The group performed in Abu Dhabi honoring former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, at The Salk Institute and at Carnegie Hall with appearances by Robert Redford, former Vice President Al Gore and the Pulitzer Prize winning author N Scott Momaday. As Chief Executive Office for the St. George’s Society she instituted a new branding and marketing campaign while overseeing their most successful annual fundraiser, the English Ball, honoring Sir Martin Sorrell. At the Financial Women’s Association, she restructured the operating team and advanced their social media profile. As President of the New York Women’s Agenda (NYWA), she collaborated with a coalition of over one hundred women’s groups representing over 100,000 individuals advocating for the economic empowerment of women and families. She chaired NYWA’s Star Breakfast attracting 1,000 attendees annually with honorees that include; Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Barbara Walters, Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, Ken Chenault, Ron Perlman and Billie Jean King. While on the board of the New York Women in Communications she chaired the Strategic Planning and Scholarship Committees. Karen was the founding Chairperson of the Board of Directors for She’s the First, a girl’s education and empowerment organization. In her commercial career she served as the Senior Vice President for two New York ad agencies, Scali, McCabe Solves and Ketchum Advertising and as the Vice President for iVillage, the first women’s internet company. As a poet, Karen’s work appeared in the Red River Review, Mudfish, In the Orange Room and in the anthologies, An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind and If the World Was Your Classroom What Would You Teach a Girl. Her poem, In Central Park was featured at The Symphony Space event commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Her other works include, A Poem Against the War that inspired the creation of a new symphony by the Dutch composer, Harrie Janssen. Karen and her husband Ian Calderon are native New Yorkers and they reside in Manhattan.

HEATHER N. BOWEN, Vice President 

Heather N. Bowen, Esq. holds a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Tampa (UT), where she double majored in Government & World Affairs and Music and minored in Criminology. She graduated Magna Cum Laude. Heather is a solutions-oriented entertainment and business law attorney who focuses her practice on intellectual property, technology, and data privacy matters. She has experience serving as corporate counsel to global companies in both the media & entertainment and healthcare technology spaces. Heather has also helped over 125 startup businesses in New York avoid pitfalls as they navigated from newly-commenced startups to established and successful corporate entities. She continues to be a thought leader through frequent publications in the legal press and leadership in multiple bar association committees.

Heather began studying clarinet when she was eight, piano at thirteen, violin at fourteen, and organ when she was in college. Her passion for music led her to join the co-ed music fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi while at The University of Tampa. While there, she performed multiple recitals and concerts with the bands, orchestras, and colleagues. She was awarded the “Marvin Hamlisch Scholarship Fund within the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay” award, the “Sant’Yago Education Foundation Scholarship,” the “Terry Mohn Senior Instrumentalist Award,” and the “AEA Scholarship” for striving for the highest in everything she set her mind to achieve.

While in law school, Heather performed on the clarinet and violin at The Moody Church, violin with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra (CBASO), and clarinet for a summer event with the Chicago Philharmonic. After moving back to New York, Heather taught children and adults the basics of piano instruction for a period of time. In addition, she has performed on the violin with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra (BSO) as well as the handbells and chimes with Calvary Baptist Church. She continues her passion for music by encouraging individuals of all ages to get involved in the arts and study the field.

KENNETH WOLSKI, Secretary 

Kenneth Wolski is a Chicago boy, born, bred and educated (Loyola Chicago, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Internal Medicine and Rheumatology/Immunology). His youth, however, was consumed by music from the day he got his first clarinet at age 8. He played clarinet, saxophone and flute in bands, orchestras, jazz bands, marching bands and community organizations until his first overseas assignment in Japan. After a career in academic medicine (Northwestern, University of Wisconsin), US Army (Vietnam Era, Major) and private practice, he pursued his love of clinical research in the pharmaceutical industry as a division/corporate officer and as a consultant to senior management. His career in the industry gave him 15 years of living and working outside the USA (Japan, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Italy and Canada). He now spends most of his time continuing to grow in his love and understanding of music, especially grand opera. He volunteers for The Piano School of NYC because music has informed every day of his life both in pleasure and as a tool that helped him grow in science and in medicine. He feels that STEM courses should add another M as critical for an education that contributes to a happy and productive life. In a tiny way he wants to help add music to the life of as many children as possible.

JIM KAO, Treasure 

Jim has a unique background in music and business. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and is currently the Head of Internal Audit at Oscar Health. To remain involved in the music industry, Jim volunteers his time with music-related non-profits. He is a strong supporter of music education and believes there is intrinsic value in studying music.

Jim started playing the piano at the age of five and cello a few years later. He developed a passion for music and earned a Bachelor’s in Piano Performance from the University of Georgia where he won the school’s concerto competition performing the 1st movement of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. In addition to his piano studies, Jim has performed in the cello section with a number of symphony orchestras, including a tour through China with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra of Atlanta.

Jim lives in NYC with his wife and enjoys cooking, playing basketball, and traveling.

TIMOTHY COWAN 

Timothy Cowan has been a serial entrepreneur in the Technology sector and is currently heading a product development and technology consultancy in New York City. His philanthropic interests have spanned supporting Central Park (through the Central Park Conservancy), veterans, cancer research and improving education. Tim believes that inclusion of Arts education, particularly music education, helps students to be more well-rounded, better in certain disciplines like mathmatics and more confident.

Tim holds a bachelor’s in finance from Colorado Technical University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He also holds numerous certifications in various technologies and Organization Change Management functions.

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.

Board of Advisors

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.

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.

MICHAEL GIUFFRE 

With the goal of serving a greater purpose, Michael Giuffre has spent his entire career in the health sector.  This includes roles in a top market intelligence company, a Carlyle Group backed cybersecurity firm, and the prolific brand consultancy, InterbrandHealth, where he now serves as Director of Business Development.

He comes from a musical family and has been playing music from a young age – at one point as an artist for the indie rock record label, Burning Records.  In addition to playing in various bands throughout high school and college, Michael taught guitar lessons for several years.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from Rider University.  When not working, he enjoys playing music, surfing at the Jersey shore, and spending time with family and friends.

LESLIE GOTTLIEB 

Leslie Gottlieb is the 2019 President of the New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

She is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of expertise in integrated strategic communications and marketing for many leading nonprofit organizations such as the Red Cross, Lighthouse International and the Ford Foundation.

She is an expert in integrated strategic marketing and communications campaigns that increase brand recognition and impact causes and issues. Her areas of expertise include: high visibility top tier media placement (print, electronic and online), digital strategy, social media, branding and crisis communications.

She has taught numerous semesters at NYU and Marymount College. Her classes have ranged from Media and Politics to Crisis Communications and Strategic Communications for Nonprofits. .

She writes a blog on ethics and the media for Commprobiz.

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.

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.

ALICE WONG  

Graduate of Columbia University, Andrew is responsible for fundraising, grant writing, and office management. He is currently enrolled in Goldman Sachs 10KSB Program, an accelerated mini MBA program helping entrepreneurs reach their full potential. Feel free to contact him at the following email address: andrew@pianoschoolofnyc.org

DOUGLAS WOOD 

Dr. Douglas E. Wood is a Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, with a focus on justice, equity, and opportunity. From 2011-2018, he was a program officer at the Ford Foundation on the Youth Opportunity and Learning team and for nearly two years served as Acting Lead of the foundation’s global Higher Education for Social Justice initiative, managing grants in the U.S., Colombia, Peru, Chile, Southern Africa, Egypt and China. Prior to joining Ford, he was Executive Director and Chief Education Officer of the Tennessee State Board of Education, chair of the Basic Education Program Review Committee that oversees Tennessee’s $3.2 billion K-12 budget, a member of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, an appointed commissioner on the Education Commission of the States, a Fellow at the Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, executive director and principal investigator of the National Academy for Excellent Teaching, Teachers College, Columbia University, and Associate Dean at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, The New School.

Dr. Wood began his career as a public school teacher and while a graduate student at Harvard, worked as a consultant with the Urban Superintendent’s Program, the World Bank’s Office of East Asian Affairs, and taught at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Wood received the 2018 Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is a board member of the Partnership for College Completion. Dr. Wood holds a B.A. degree in History from Wofford College, a master’s degree in English from Middlebury College, and a master’s and doctoral degree from Harvard University. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and holds the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from Middlebury College.

Honorary Board Directors

AVIVA ARANOVICH

The New York Times described Ms. Aranovich’s New York debut recital as “remarkable in passion and energy”. A native of Vilnius Lithuania, Ms. Aranovich started her musical education with her mother at the Curlions School of Music for gifted children in Vilnius. She performed on Lithuanian TV at the age of 7 and toured the country.

Ms. Aranovich immigrated to Israel with her family where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Tel Aviv University at the age of 19 and was a recipient of AmericaIsrael Cultural foundation scholarships for twelve consecutive years. She came to NY to study as a full scholarship piano Student for her Master’s degree with Serkin at the Juilliard School of Music in NY.

Ms. Aranovich is a winner of several International Piano Competitions such as Vercelli in Italy, Santander in Spain, Music International New York, New Orleans International Piano Competition etc.

Ms. Aranovich has toured with solo recitals and with orchestras extensively in Europe, US, Canada and Israel and performed in Venues such as Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Ford Center in Toronto, Lincoln Center in New York. She performed in festivals in Ravinia, SchlezwigHolstein, International Keyboard Institute in NYC, and had live broadcasts on many radio stations around the world.As of fall 2015, Ms. Aranovich was invited to host a Radio Show in Berlin “Music Matters” and traveling extensively performing in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, Berlin and New York and will be on a Tour with Ukrainian Chamber Ensemble and Berliner Symphoniker in 2016/2017 season. Ms. Aranovich is sought after teacher and was on the faculty at Touro College in NY, Dalcroze School of Music in NY and gives master classes regularly around the world.

SONYA BACH 

Sonya Bach has appeared at some of the most prestigious concert venues in Europe, North America and Asia.
In recent years, Sonya made her London debut at the Wigmore Hall, followed by inaugural concert for the 42nd Cadaques International Music Festival in Spain, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany, an invitation by the Catalunya Government to perform for the victims and survivors of Ravensbruck Women’s Concentration Camp and a tour with the Seoul National Symphony Orchestra.


Sonya is honored to be the first classical musician to perform at the newly inaugurated Community Theatre and Arts Centre in Dubai, UAE under the patronage of HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum.
Most recently, Sonya has recorded six of JS Bach’s Concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra at the Henry Wood Hall.


Sonya Bach started playing the piano at the tender age of three, gave first public concert at age five and orchestra debut at age nine with the Seoul Symphony Orchestra. She received musical educations at the Juilliard School and Accademia Pianistica “Incontri col Maestro” in Italy where she has been the youngest pupil of the late Lazar Berman.


A protégé of the late Alicia de Larrocha, she has earned Master in Spanish Music at the Academia Marshall in Barcelona, Spain.


Her numerous prizes include the First and Grand Prize as well as the Eugen d’Albert Interpretation Award 1st at the Eugen d’Albert International Music Competition, Gina Bachauer Memorial Award and the Special Prize at the 12th Viotti-Valsesia International Music Competition as the youngest participant.

TANYA BANNISTER

Lauded by The Washington Post for playing “…with intelligence, poetry and proportion,” pianist Tanya Bannister’s recent victories at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition and the New Orleans International Piano Competition confirm her status among the leading pianists of her generation. Receiving further distinction as an “Artist to Watch” on the cover of SYMPHONY Magazine, Ms. Bannister’s career has already brought her to many of the world’s great concert halls, with recitals at 
the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Salle Cortot in Paris, Teatro Communale in Bologna, Tokyo’s Nikkei Hall, London’s Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore Halls, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Recent orchestral highlights include Liszt’s Concerto No. 1 with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 in e minor with the Greenwich (CT) Symphony, and Mozart’s Concerto in E-flat, K. 449 with the Arcadiana Symphony in Louisiana, Mozart’s Concerto No. 21 and Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Louisiana Philharmonic Syracuse Symphony, Mozart’s Concerto No. 23 with the Harrisburg Symphony, the Shostakovich Concerto No. 2 with the Victoria Symphony (TX) and Mozart’s Concerto in E-flat for Two Pianos, K.365 with Westchester Philharmonic. Upcoming and recent appearances, warmly praised by the New York Times, include the highly regarded Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, Look and Listen Festival in New York, South Windsor Concert Series, and AlpenKammerMusik in Austria, where she also serves as Artistic Director. Ms. Bannister’s newest recording featuring chamber versions of Chopin concerto Nr. 2, Mozart concerto K449 and Schubert Adagio and Rondo will be released in the fall of 2012. Her debut recording, featuring three late piano sonatas of Muzio Clementi, was released in 2006 on the Naxos label. BBC Music Magazine declared: “Barenboim’s EMI Beethoven sonata cycle is readily brought to mind. Yet although she possesses enviable articulate and accurate fingers, she is also sensitive to the music’s many lyrical asides.” Her latest recording for Albany Records, This is the story she began, features solo piano music of American composers David Del Tredici, Christopher Theofanidis, Suzanne Farrin and Sheila Silver; the New American Record Guide complemented her as “exceptionally talented…with a scintillating tone and subtle sense of chording.” In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which occurred soon after Ms. Bannister’s victory in New Orleans, she joined forces with three previous winners of that competition to form “Pianists for New Orleans.” These artists have been performing together across the US to achieve their ambitious mission to raise $100,000 to help support the classical music community of New Orleans. Born in Hong Kong, Ms. Bannister holds degrees from the Royal Academy of Music in London, Yale University, where she studied with Claude Frank, and New York’s Mannes School of Music, where she received an Artist Diploma as one of a handful of pianists selected to study with Richard Goode. As co-founder and Artistic Director of AlpenKammerMusik, Ms. Bannister has created an intimate musical experience in which music lovers from around the world can spend 12 days in a small Alpine village engaged in the study of chamber music. Sensing a demand for musical opportunity amongst amateur and pre-professional musicians, Ms. Bannister designed an experience for the participants that includes collaborating closely with a globally distinguished faculty on preparing for final public performances.

MICHAEL BERKOVSKY 

CanadianIsraeli pianist, Dr. Michael Berkovsky , made his New York debut at the David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center and has toured as soloist in Ireland, Japan, Italy, Israel, Canada, the United States and Costa Rica; as well as performed under the baton of Vladimir Feltsman, Stefan Sanderling, Leon Fleisher and William Noll. Michael won


numerous international awards and regularly collaborates with chamber groups and award winning musicians. He was a guest artist at many international festivals, including Arts Naples where he collaborated with Russian pianist Pavel Narcessian, and Music Niagara Festival. He frequents the cultural scene of his community in Toronto and has performed with Kindred Spirit Orchestra, York Symphony Orchestra and many others.

 

A passionate and dedicated music educator as well as a highly sought after piano teacher, Dr. Berkovsky is on the faculty of the Glenn Gould School and the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists, at the Canadian Royal Conservatory of Music. He also maintains a private studio in which a number of his students have placed highly in provincial, national and international competitions. Additionally, Michael is a board member of the Canadian Music Competition as well as an advisor on the Artistic Committee of the Chinese Cultural Center
Music Festival.

He was a recipient of the America Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarships from 19942001. On the recommendation from Maestro Valery Gergiev, Michael was awarded the White Nights Foundation Scholarships while studying at The Juilliard School.

Born in the former Soviet Union and immigrated to Israel in 1990, Michael has studied with Nataly Litvinova and was mentored by Alexander Slobodyanik. In 2001, his family moved to Toronto, Canada. He received his Bachelor and Master’s degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied with Yoheved Kaplinsky and Julian Martin. In 2011, he completed his Doctoral degree at the Peabody Conservatory of the John Hopkins University under the tutelage of Professor Yong Hi Moon.


“Mr. Berkovsky is quiet and unassuming in demeanor and simply settled down at the piano to play several of the great masterworks of the repertoire. He was in all ways a servant of the music and gave us a performance that was nothing less than astonishing” – Southampton Times

“ It’s not surprising to encounter talented pianists, but it sure is fun to hear one who has
something distinctive to say” – Baltimore Sun

NATASHA CHERNY 

My 25 years at IBM and Reader’s Digest centered on data identification, gathering, integrity, and analysis; on process analysis, design, and troubleshooting; database design and implementation; and project management. As a freelance data analyst and paralegal, I spent 13 years managing a law practice and financial planning firm, and providing analysis to other attorneys for securities arbitration cases.

I am from a family that has had professional musicians in each of five generations since 1870. Although not myself a professional musician, I have studied piano and voice intermittently, and am passionate about classical music. In recent years, I have affiliated with the world of music in my work: I am the Director of Design and Development for Golden Key International Music Festival of Colts Neck, NJ; and I am founder and Co-President of The Drozdoff Society, Bronx, NY, whose core mission is the preservation and promulgation of compositions by Russian-American pianist and composer, Vladimir Drozdoff. In 2016, the Society launched the Impromptu! Classical Music Recital Series in New York and Connecticut, and will soon expand to New Jersey. The series features exemplary musicians, from young prodigies to seasoned professionals, and showcases several works by Vladimir Drozdoff in most of its programs.


I am also a published writer whose articles in regional newspapers focused on environmental matters, and whose leadership following the Mamaroneck floods of 2007 (environmental inevitabilities I had long predicted) was valuable to that community. I am presently writing a quasi-autobiographical book that chronicles my family’s disintegration following the 1917 Russian Revolution and its reintegration nearly 100 years later, and the serendipities that led to that wholly unexpected turn of events.
I believe classical music, mathematics, and the sciences are all are critically important to the formation of the critical thinking skills and mental discipline necessary to understand and live in this world, and for this reason wholeheartedly support the mission of Piano School of NYC.

KORINE FUJIWARA  

Korine Fujiwara is a founding member of Carpe Diem String Quartet. Critics have described her performances as “engaging” and “with finesse and perfection.” Festivals include: Olympic Music Festival, Marble Cliff Chamber Players, Snake River Chamber Players, MidAmerica Chamber Music Festival, Victoria International Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Focus! Festival of 20th Century Music at Lincoln Center, and Summergarden Festival at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Orchestras include: Brooklyn Philharmonic, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, and the Columbus Symphony, where she held the position of acting assistant principal second violin.

Named as one of Strings Magazine’s “25 Contemporary Composers to Watch,” critics say of her music, “The ear is forever tickled by beautifully judged music that manages to be sophisticated and accessible at the same time,” “Contains a very rare attribute in contemporary classical music: happiness.” ~Fanfare “She knows how to exploit all the resources of string instruments alone and together; her quartet writing is very democratic, with solos for everyone; her solo violin writing is fiendishly difficult.” ~Strings

A violinist and violist, Fujiwara holds degrees from Juilliard and Northwestern University, studied with Joseph Fuchs, Myron Kartman, Harvey Shapiro, Robert Mann, and Joel Krosnik, was a longtime faculty member of Ohio Wesleyan University, and is in great demand for master classes and clinics.

Korine performs on a 1790 Contreras violin, a 2004 viola by Kurt Widenhouse, and bows by three of today’s finest makers, Paul Martin Siefried, Ole Kanestrom and Charles Espey, all of Port Townsend, WA, USA.

VIRGINIE GOUT ZSCHABITZ 

Virginie Gout-Zschäbitz started learning the harp at the age of ten in Bordeaux, France, and later in Conservatoire in Marseille, Versailles and Nantes where she met Isabelle Perrin who was an inspiration for her . In 1989, Virginie went to the Juilliard School with Nancy Allen. After graduating in 1993, she went back to Europe and took private lesson with Marie Pierre Langlamet (principal harpist of the Berlin Philharmonie). Since 1995 , Virginie is the principal harpist at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, in Germany, lives in Berlin, appears as a soloist and chamber music musician through Europe.

ILYA ITIN

Audiences throughout the world revere Ilya Itin’s unique artistry. Playing to sold out houses in Japan and in the US, he is known for his extraordinary range, power, quality of sound and command of the piano. His Princeton recital was singled out by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a “top ten musical moment of the year”, and the NYT critic described him as: “…a brilliantly insightful pianist who offered a superb recital “. Since capturing the Gold Medal, BBC Audience Award, and Contemporary Music Prize at the 1996 Leeds International Piano Competition, Ilya Itin has performed throughout the world bringing his powerful musical imagination and mastery to wide ranging repertoire. “I’d go to hear him play the phonebook,” remarked BBC TV critic Ian Burnside.

Ilya Itin has performed with many of the world’s great conductors, including Sir Simon Rattle, Neemi Jarvi, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Yakov Kreizberg, Vassily Sinaisky, Valery Polyansky, and Mikhail Pletnev performing as soloist with orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Tokyo Symphony, the National Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the China National Symphony, the Symphony Orchestra of India; the Mexico City Philharmonic; and the Rochester Philharmonic.

Much lauded for his chamber music collaborations with colleagues and friends in the US, Europe and Asia, he recently performed Beethoven Archduke Trio in New York with the Jupiter Chamber Players followed by a recital of the complete Brahms Sonatas in Tokyo with violinist, Fuminori Maro Shinozaki. He has made numerous recordings of chamber music, including Beethoven’s “Spring” Sonata, Brahms Viola Sonata, Martinu Double Violin Sonata, and Piazzola Spring/Autumn in Buenos Aires, with Igor Gruppmann, violin and Vesna Gruppmann, viola/violin. Mr. Itin has also recorded a full recital with legendary violinist Ida Haendel at the Miami International Piano Festival.

During the 2015-2016 he will be releasing his newest recording of the complete Debussy Preludes on vinyl and high definition audio. His Princeton recital in July 2015 will also be released as a state of the art high definition recording of the live performance. It features beloved works of Rachmaninov and Scriabin. Itin’s DVD of the “Russian Marathon” concerts at the Miami International Piano Festival was also recorded live, in one day and included, all 24 Preludes of Rachmaninov, and Prokofiev’s 7th and 8th Sonatas. Other recordings include Beethoven’s 2nd Piano Concerto with the Jerusalem Camerata on the JDR label, and Prokofiev’s 6th Sonata with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition on VAI.

Mr. Itin is also a much sought after teacher giving regular master classes throughout Japan, in Princeton, Miami, and New York. His students include winners of top prizes in international competitions, and highest awards at the most competitive conservatories of the US and Japan.

Born in Yekaterinburg, Russia, his piano studies began at the Sverdlovsk School for the Gifted with Natalia Litvinova. He went on to graduate from the Moscow Conservatory with the highest honors in 1990 working with legendary teacher Lev Naumov. Mr. Itin won his first major piano competition while at the Conservatory, taking second place in the 1990 Russian National Rachmaninov Competition. Soon after, he won top honors in the William Kapell Competition, followed by First Prize, and the Special Chopin Prize at the Casadesus Competition (Cleveland Competition), and the Best Performance of a Work of Mozart, Best Prokofiev Performance, and Third Prize at the Gina Bachauer Competition.

Ilya Itin is on the teaching faculties of the Musashino Academy in Tokyo, the Academy of the Miami International Piano Festival and the Golandsky Institute at Princeton University. He has also taught in the piano departments of the Juilliard School prep and college divisions, Peabody Conservatory, and the Graduate Program at CUNY. Ilya Itin resides in Tokyo, Japan, and New York City where he maintains a private teaching studio.

LAUREN JACKSON COPLAN 

Adjunct Artist Teacher of Piano
Lauren Jackson Coplan was a member of the piano faculty at Mannes College of Music in New York City for 13 years before moving to Nashville in 2007.

Since relocating to Nashville, Coplan has performed with members of the Nashville Symphony, was awarded a Tennessee Arts Commission Professional Development Support Grant, and has been a guest lecturer at the Blair School. In the summer of 2010, one of her private piano lessons was filmed and broadcast on CMT’s (Country Music Television) Meet The Wilsons.

Coplan has been heavily involved with the non-profit W.O. Smith Music School in Nashville, where her students have won the annual solo competition award (2009); been invited to the White House; been chosen to perform at annual fundraisers; and, more recently, performed at the Governor’s Arts Awards Special Ceremony at Conservation Hall (2011). A profile of Coplan and her students appeared in the June 2011 issue of HER Magazine (by columnist Kim Green).

Coplan has performed in and around New York, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and in the American Women Composers, Women of Note Series (Boston), as well as performances throughout the U.S. and Canada. She has performed live on WDAV Radio (Davidson, N.C.) and CBC Radio (Toronto) (with cellist Naomi Barron).

A native of Davidson, N.C., Coplan began piano lessons at the age of 5 with Cynthia Lawing. Her parents were both members of the Charlotte Symphony for 30 years (flute and principal trumpet). In her teen years, she studied with Paul Nitsch (Queens University of Charlotte) and James Swisher (Davidson College). She was a two-time winner of the Young Artist Concerto Competition, performing Mozart’s D Minor Concerto at age 12, and Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 at age 16.

As a student of Maria Clodes-Jaguaribe (Tanglewood Institute), she earned her B.M. degree in piano performance from the School of Fine Arts at Boston University, where she won the top chamber music award. During this time, Coplan was also awarded a fellowship for summer study at the Garth Newel Music Center. Her graduate studies were at Mannes College of Music with Stephanie Brown. While at Mannes, Coplan was greatly influenced by pedagogy teachers Joan Behrens-Bergman and Gertrude Barlow, and by music theorists Poundie Burstein and Carl Schachter. She credits much of her early inspiration as a teacher to these mentors.

It was also in New York City that Coplan met two highly influential figures: drama teacher Kelly Kimball and pianist/teacher Sophia Rosoff (a protégée of the late Abby Whiteside), both of New York City. Her teaching and performance careers were propelled to new heights under their tutelage, and they continue to be of great influence.

Coplan has been a member of Blair’s keyboard faculty since August 2011.

NATALIA LAVROVA

 

Natalia Lavrova is a highly regarded performer of multi-faceted artistry, whose sincerity of interpretation and beguiling charm upon the stage has won the hearts of audiences around the world. Ms. Lavrova enjoys a diverse career upon the international platform, and additionally holds substantial positions in the worlds of arts administration and pedagogy.

Solo and orchestral performances have taken Ms. Lavrova throughout her native Russia to Canada, France, Hungary, Italy, United Kingdom, Peru, Chile, South Africa and the United States, to include notable New York venues such as Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall.  Ms. Lavrova has captured top prizes at the New Orleans, Isabel Scionti, Frinna Auerbach, Heidi Hermanns, Music Academy of the West, Silver Lake, and Senigallia International Piano Competitions. Upon her debut at the Leeds International Piano Competition, Ms. Lavrova was the youngest performer of 1996 admitted to the quarterfinal round.  In her repertoire, she has over 30 concertos and extensive solo recital programs, as well as substantial chamber music repertoire, including an ongoing partnership with her duo partner, pianist, Vassily Primakov.

Natalia Lavrova was born in Moscow. She entered the prep division of the Moscow Conservatory at the age of five, and was subsequently accepted to The Juilliard School Pre-College Division, as a pupil in the studio of Herbert Stessin.  Ms. Lavrova went on to earn her Bachelor of Music and Masters of Music degrees at Juilliard, under the tutelage of Jerome Lowenthal.

Ms. Lavrova is the founder and president of a very successful private school, Music School of New York City (www.musicschoolofnewyorkcity.com) and together with Vassily Primakov, she is the co-founder and partner of LP Classics, a record label dedicated to unearthing rare, never-before released recordings and live performances of celebrated artists and emerging stars. www.lpclassics.net

Natalia Lavrova is a Yamaha Artist in Education.

YAN MARESZ 

Born in 1966 in Monaco, Yan Maresz began his musical studies with piano and percussion and is dedicated to the self-taught jazz guitar until he met John McLaughlin, of which he was the only student and the principal orchestrator and arranger. He studied jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston from 1983 to 1986 and is gradually moving towards the composition.

In 1987, he received a scholarship from the Foundation Princess Grace of Monaco and between the Julliard School in New York, where he studied composition with David Diamond. In 1994, it follows the course in composition and computer music at IRCAM, at the end of which he wrote Metallics, work selected in 1997 by the International Rostrum of Composers Unesco.

He received various prizes and awards for his compositions, including the assistance of the city of Trieste, the Rossini Prize of the Academy of Fine Arts and prices Hervé Dugardin and Young Composers SACEM. He is a resident at the Académie de France in Rome, Villa Medici from 1995 to 1997 at the Europäisches Kolleg der Künste in Berlin in 2004, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in 2012.

He received numerous commissions and his works are regularly performed in the context of major international festivals, as well as in prestigious seasons symphony orchestras or ensembles in Europe the US and Asia.

He has taught since 2007 électracoustique composition at the National Conservatory of Paris, as well as new technologies at the Conservatory of Boulogne Billancourt. A monographic CD of his works by the ensemble Intercontemporain is available under the Accord / Universal label and his works are published by Durand editions.

ILONA OLTUSKI 

Founder and artistic director of GetClassical since 2008.
Music Journalist , member of MCANA ( – Music Critic Ass. Of North America)
Interviews with artists and concert producer. Art Historian PH.D of Johann
Wolfgang Goethe University ( Frankfurt, Germany)

OXANA MIKHAILOFF 

Born in Vladimir, Russia into a family of professional musicians, Oxana Mikhailoff had already won an international Young Artists Competition in Czechoslovakia by the age of eight. After studies with her mother, which began at age five, Ms. Mikhailoff attended the Central Music School for Gifted Children in Moscow where she studied with Anaida Sumbatian (teacher of Vladimir Ashkenazy and Oxana Yablonskaya) and Vera Gornostaeva. She holds a B.A. from the Moscow Conservatory, where she studied under Professor Vladimir Krainyev, and an M.M. from the Manhattan School of Music, which recognized her talent with the prestigious Harold Bauer Award. She studied there with Professor Phillip Kawin. She also studied privately with Maestro Vladimir Feltsman.

Ms. Mikhailoff was awarded prizes at the 2002 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, the Cincinnati World Piano Competition, the Missouri International Piano Competition, the Yakov Flier International Piano Competition, the First International Rachmaninoff Competition in Moscow, the ARD Munich Competition in Germany, and the International Prokofiev Competition in Russia. She was also awarded the honor of participating in the 2001 Van Cliburn competition. Recognized by Martha Argerich as an extraordinary talent, Oxana won the Second Prize at the Martha Argerich International Piano Competition in August 2003 and performed in the Martha Argerich festival in the world famous Teatro Colón de Buenos Aires and throughout Argentina with Ms. Argerich.

Ms. Mikailoff’s performances include her United States debut at Carnegie Hall in 1999, where she later returned to play an all-Chopin recital on the 150th anniversary of the composer’s death; Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto in world-renowned Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires; three seasons with the Greenwich Symphony under Maestro David Gilbert, which received the highest critical acclaim; and Chopin’s E Minor Concerto under Maestro Feltsman.

In 2015, Ms. Mikhailoff performed New York premieres of works by Vladimir Drozdoff. In January of 2016, LPClassics Record Label released Oxana’s CD titled “Russian Fairytales”. In 2017 LPClassics released an all-Rachmaninoff CD recorded at Yamaha Artists Services, Inc. in New York City.

Oxana Mikhailoff’s vast repertoire extends from Baroque to modern day composers and includes solo works, chamber music and 29 piano concertos. She also maintains an active teaching schedule in Westchester County, New York.

In partnership with Vassily Primakov, Oxana Mikhailoff runs two Professional concert Series, one in Bronxville and another in Sparkill NY.

Oxana Mikhailoff lives in Fleetwood with her husband William Mackoff

BARBARA PODGURSKI  

A native of New York, pianist Barbara Podgurski holds a DMA in piano performance from The Graduate Center (CUNY) as well as a BM in piano performance and an MM in both piano performance and music theory from the Mannes College of Music. Dr. Podgurski has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean and Europe and has performed at many of the world’s finest venues including a number of performances at Carnegie Hall. She has been featured in numerous television and radio broadcasts, including appearances on WQXR’s Young Artists Showcase, WNYC’s “Soundcheck”, NPR, WPLN Nashville’s “Live from Studio C”, WQED and numerous others. Ms. Podgurski was recently featured on a television documentary for NHK in Japan with her touring partner violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn and the famed “Red” Mendelssohn Stradivarius. Ms. Podgurski was a special guest in March 2015 performing for the National Association of Broadcasters at the 2015 Golden Mike Awards with Grammy-nominated violinist Jenny Oaks Baker. Past collaborations with renowned artists including violinists Philippe Graffin and the late Lorand Fenyves, flutist Harold Jones, clarinetist Charles Neidich, pianists Diane Walsh and Seymour Lipkin, and cellists Manfred Stilz, Marcy Rosen and the late Paul Tobias. Dr. Podgurski has premiered numerous new works including a commission of a concerto by Pulitzer-Prize winning composer George Walker which she premiered with the Queens Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Podgurski is currently the Executive and Artistic Director of Musica Reginae Productions in Queens, NY. She is also the Artistic Director of NIAM (the Nantucket Island Arts and Music Summer Festival). She is a member of the Lexington Piano Trio (with violinist Cyrus Beroukhim and cellist Arash Amini) as well as the Barbad Chamber Orchestra and Ensemble based in Astoria, Queens. A former faculty member at The Mannes College of Music and Hunter College, she is currently on the faculty of Mercy College, the RiverArts Music Program in Hudson Valley, and is a consultant for the Board of Education for both New York City and State. Dr. Podgurski is a distinguished Steinway Teaching Artist and is a contributing writer for Cambridge’s recording reviews for its publication Nineteenth-Century Music Review.

VASSILY PRIMAKOV 

In recent years, Vassily Primakov has been hailed as a pianist of world class importance.

His first piano studies were with his mother, Marina Primakova. He entered Moscow’s Central Special Music School at the age of eleven as a pupil of Vera Gornostaeva, and at 17 came to New York to pursue studies at the Juilliard School with the noted pianist, Jerome Lowenthal. At Juilliard Mr. Primakov won the William Petschek Piano Recital Award, which presented his debut recital at Alice Tully Hall, and while at Juilliard, aided by a Susan W. Rose Career Grant, he won both the Silver Medal and the Audience Prize in the 2002 Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition. Later that year Primakov won First Prize in the 2002 Young Concert Artists (YCA) International Auditions. In 2007 he was named the Classical Recording Foundation’s “Young Artist of the Year.” In 2009, Primakov’s Chopin Mazurkas recording was named “Best of the Year” by National Public Radio.

Vassily Primakov has released numerous recordings for Bridge Records, Tavros Records and Naxos.

In 2011, Mr. Primakov, along with his duo partner, Natalia Lavrova established a new and vibrant record company, LP Classics, Inc. Primakov’s Chopin recording on two discs featuring 3 sonatas, 4 Ballades and 4 Scherzos  was featured as “Album of the Week” on WQXR.

In March 2012 Vassily Primakov became Yamaha Artist.

PAIGE ROBERTS MOLLOY

Pianist Paige Roberts Molloy was born in Texas and made her orchestral debut at the age of 13. She has performed in the music festivals of Aspen, Marlboro, Tanglewood, Santa Barbara, Grand Canyon and Mecklenburg in Germany. Recital appearances include Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Houston, Ottawa, Prague, Palermo and Paris. She has performed numerous times in New York at Bargemusic, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall and Miller Theatre. Paige received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance from The Juilliard School.

JACQULINE SCHILLER AUDI 

Jacqueline Schiller-Audi, pianist, is a graduate of The Juilliard School and The Mannes College of Music. Ms.Schiller is an active chamber musician and has collaborated with musicians from the New York Philharmonic in their chamber music series at Merkin Hall, the Bruno Walter Auditorium, the Roerich Museum and the Donnell Library in NYC. She has participated in the summer music festivals of Aspen, the Alfred Summer Chamber Music Institute, Tanglewood, the Musicisti Americani Summer Institute in Sulmona, Italy and has given several solo recitals in England, including one at St.Martin in the Fields. She has appeared as soloist with several orchestras including the North Jersey Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Orchestra, the Wayne Chamber Orchestra, the North Jersey Symphony and the Martinu Philharmonic in a performance at Carnegie Hall. Ms.Schiller is a founding member of the Alacorde Piano Trio which has been performing together since 2006 throughout the New York Metropolitan area. She is also a member of The All Seasons Chamber Players and a duo piano team called “Double in her home in Paramus, NJ. She teaches students of all levels from ages 5-85 and is an active member of the NJ Federation of Music and the Music Educators Association.

I am proud to be an honorary board member of the Piano School of NYC. Having been a colleague and friend of Vera Anselmo, the founder, since our Juilliard School days I can confidently say that this is a wonderful and enriching program that nurtures children every day with the gift of music.

VERA TARIVERDIEVA

 

Vera Tarivedieva, musicologist, graduated of Gnesins Academy of Music.
Music critic, music observer of Sovietskaia Cultura (Soviet Culture) Newspaper (1883-1991).
Chief of cultural department of Rossia weekly )Russia weekly, the first independent edition of new Russia).
Author of «Biography of music» book (the book about Mikael Tariverdiev life and music).
President of the Mikael Tariverdiev Charity Foundation (since 199 till now).
Art-Director of the Mikael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition (since 199 till now).

JEAN TOWNSEND 

Jean Townsend, whose late husband was the American composer and musicologist Douglas Townsend (1921-2012),has been actively committed to the arts and to public education throughout her life. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., she has lived in Manhattan most of her adult life. After receiving a Master’s Degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), and a Certificate of Completion from the Radcliffe College Publishing Course (Cambridge, MA), she began her professional career as an educator, where she was engaged for nearly a decade in experimental and innovative basic skills programs in the public schools of Boston and New York City as a teacher, teacher- trainer, and writer/editor of related curriculum and materials. In this latter capacity, she worked for educational publishers, including a year with the renowned Education Development Center in Cambridge/Newton, MA, which at that time was developing Man: A Course of Study, the brainchild of the late eminent Harvard cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner.

At age thirty, on the wave of social change, Ms. Townsend entered law school, graduating cum laude with a J.D. from New York Law School in lower Manhattan, where she had been an Articles Editor on the Law Review, and where she had landed internships with the New York State Attorney General and with a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Her legal career was in the field of litigation, having gained much of her training in researching the law and writing briefs while an Associate at the elite Park Avenue firm of Kaye, Scholer [now called Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP].

In the 21st century, Ms. Townsend came out of retirement to marry the gifted composer and musicologist Douglas Townsend, a native of Manhattan, who was still actively engaged in the world of classical music. Ms. Townsend assisted him in many aspects of his late career, including the maintenance of his voluminous and active archive. Together they created a presence for Townsend on social media, including YouTube, Facebook, and InstantEncore, a promotional activity which involved the writing and editing of biographies and program notes, as well as the production of photographs and videos for posting online. They also co-produced live concerts, including an innovative series of annual concerts founded by Townsend to showcase living composers called the Social Networking Concerts, held at Saint Peter’s Church in mid-Manhattan, and podcast to a world-wide audience.

After Townsend passed on August 1, 2012, Ms. Townsend continued to maintain his archive and to forge ahead with similar promotional activities on her own, or in collaboration with others. A Five-Year Retrospective (from 8/1/12 to 8/1/17) revealed there to have been at least 229 posthumous performances of Townsend’s original compositions and editions/arrangements in venues across the U.S. and Canada, extending to Argentina, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, New Zealand, Indonesia, England, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Greece, and Hungary. Ms. Townsend herself had posthumously spearheaded over 40 premieres of his original compositions (some world, some state, and some country premieres), speaking at about half of them and attending about three-quarters of them. Through collaboration she had posthumously co- produced several All-Townsend concerts in Manhattan, at such venues as the DiMenna Center for Classical Music (where Townsend’s Memorial Service was held), The Concert Space at Beethoven Pianos, the Nagle Street Y, the New York Public Library Hamilton Grange Branch, and the Holyrood Episcopal Church. At Saint Peter’s Church in Manhattan she was the sole producer of Townsend’s Fourth Annual Social Networking Concert, an event she and Townsend were in the process of preparing at the time of his passing. Ms. Townsend is currently making plans for the centennial of Townsend’s birth, fast approaching in 2021.

NICOLAS TULLIEZ

Born and raised in Paris, Nicolas Tulliez holds a Bachelor of Music from the Juilliard School, an Artist Diploma from the Royal Conservatory  of Toronto, and a Master of Music from Yale University. His teachers include
Pierre Jamet, Nancy Allen and Judy Loman.


After spending three years as Solo Harpist of the Luxembourg Philharmonic, 6 years with the Basel Sinfonie Orchester he now holds the same position with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France in Paris. He also plays regularly with other formations such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Bayerische Rundfunck, Orchestre de Paris, London Symphony  Orchestra, Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra or IRCAM under the direction of Maazel, Boulez, gergiev, Ozawa, Abbado… 
Winner of many competitions and scholarships, he has performed as a soloist all over Europe, USA, Canada and Asia.He has recorded for EMI, CBC, Skarbo, Maguelone and Naxos.


He is on faculty at the CRR de Paris and the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris the Piano school is a great asset for the city of NY. In our troubled days , children need more than ever to learn the Arts. Vera having had the best education of both eastern and western world is the most suited musician to take the task of spreading the joy of
music making .

ERICA VANDERLINDE FEIDNER 

KRISZTINA WAJSZA  

Krisztina Wajsza, pianist of Hungarian origin, was born in Cluj, Romania. Krisztina attended her first piano lesson at age of six with Walter Metzger in Cluj. Her family immigrated to Switzerland in 1980, and she achieved her solo diploma at the Conservatory in Bern in 1988, after which she continued her studies at the Juilliard School in New York with Joseph Kalichstein, achieving an Advanced Certificate in 1991. She went on to earn an Artist Diploma at Indiana University, Bloomington, where she was a student of the late, distinguished Prof. György Sebök. Krisztina was a first prize winner at the Mozart Competition in New York, in 1990. She gave her debut in 1990 at Alice Tully Hall in New York, and in 1999 at the Konzerthaus in Vienna with the Wiener Kammerorchester and at the Brucknerhaus in Linz.

Krisztina has been a soloist with several orchestras, including: Zürich Chamber Orchestra, Festival Strings Lucerne, Camerata Academica Bayreuth, Transylvania State Orchestra, Gelsenkirchen Philharmonie, Chamber Orchestra of Bern, Trier State Orchestra, Bern Symphony Orchestra, and Argauer Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. In April 2005 she gave her solo recital debut at Wigmore Hall in London. She has toured in solo and chamber music performances with engagements in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Mozambique, Chile, Switzerland, Hungary, Romania and the US. In 2012 she was invited to perform at the International Piano Festival in St. Ursanne, Switzerland, where she premiered Grammy Award winning Fernando Otero`s composition “Hommage à Debussy.” In 2014 she collaborated in chamber music formations with the violinist Hansheinz Schneeberger and the Villena-Mandozzi- Wajsza Trio. (Bandoneon – Cello- Piano) Krisztina regularly performs in Switzerland with the Argentinian bandoneon player Victor Villena. She also co-founded the Otero-Wajsza Piano Duo, based on the compositions of Fernando Otero, with whom concerts are scheduled for 2016. In July 2015, Krisztina became the widow of the US guitarist Benjamin Bunch, with whom she has two daughters .In the season of 2016-2017, Krisztina will perform in the New York Philharmonic Ensembles Series at Merkin Hall, with Concertmaster Frank Huang, Robert Rinehart and Eileen Moon, and play Solo Recitals in Tulsa and at the International Piano Festival in St. Ursanne, Switzerland.

OXANA YABLONSKAYA 

Oxana Yablonskaya’s charismatic piano playing and profound interpretations have brought her acclaim for over thirty years. Known for her powerhouse virtuosity, exquisite sensitivity, and deep emotional drive, Ms. Yablonskaya has enchanted audiences world-wide.

Oxana Yablonskaya was born in Moscow. As an adolescent she attended The Moscow Central School for the Gifted under the tutelage of Anaida Sumbatyan (who also taught Vladimir Ashkenazy) with whom she worked with until the age of 16. She later studied at the Conservatory of Moscow with the legendary Aleksandre Goldenweiser. At 22, she began a professional relationship with Tatiana Nikolayeva in the Doctorate Program, later acting as her assistant at the Moscow Conservatory. Following graduation with high honors, she was introduced to the Western World in Paris at the Jacques Long-Thibaud Competition in 1963, the Rio de Janeiro Competition in 1965, and the Vienna Beethoven Competition in 1969. She won top prizes in all three competitions, and received numerous invitations for return engagements, but because of the Cold War, was not allowed to do so.

While still in the USSR, Ms. Yablonskaya performed Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto #1 with the Moscow Philharmonic under conductor Yury Simonov at the Composers Jubilee Concert in the Kremlin. She was the first performer to play Rodion Shchedrin’s “Basso Ostinato,” which became her signature piece. Her status as a consummate professional was heightened by many prominent Soviet and foreign composers dedicating their music to her.

Despite the reputation she had earned within the Soviet Union and being a prize winner of three international competitions, she was never permitted to play outside the Eastern Bloc. Yet, she recorded for the Melodya label and had earned the prestigious title of Soloist of the Moscow Philharmonic. The title put her in the company of elite artists such as Gilels, Richter, Rostropovich, Oistrakh and Kogan. Outstanding solo performances with the Bolshoi Orchestra, the Moscow Stars series, and the Shostokovich 65th Birthday Celebration Concert were confirmations of her remarkable talent.

In 1975, distressed over constant restraints on her personal and artistic freedom, she applied for a U.S. visa. Her actions resulted in a loss of her position as a professor at the Moscow Conservatory. She inherently was deprived of all concert engagements. She waited more than two years for a visa and finally, she was allowed to leave the country with her father and young son due to the diligence and petitioning by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, Katherine Hepburn, Bar Ilan, and over 45 famous writers, musicians, senators, and actors.

Ms. Yablonskaya arrived in New York in 1977, unknown, unheralded, and not having touched a piano in more than two years. She made her first New York appearance in a recital at the Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center only four months later, and received laudatory acclaim from the press. Her Carnegie Hall debut recital the following October was attended by a capacity crowd, and she has since taken her place among the major pianists of the world.

Once considered ‘The best kept secret of the Soviet Union,’ Ms. Yablonskaya has now performed in more than 40 countries.

TUFFUS ZIMBABWE 

Tuffus Zimbabwe is a pianist, composer and educator from the Boston area. Tuffus completed his bachelors’ degree at Berklee College of Music and continued his studies receiving his masters’ of music degree from New York University. Mr. Zimbabwe is a keyboardist in the Saturday Night Live house band, and also pianist and assistant musical director for Trilogy: an Opera Company.

 

Quote:
“I saw the difference that learning music makes on developing children. In addition to learning musicianship, theory, and repertoire, the students’ self-confidence as individuals grows as well. A parent had called me to thank me and said that the discipline and focus picked up from studying music in my class has translated and carried over to his son’s other academic classes at school.”

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