Matt Panayides-Guitar and Piano Faculty   Matt Panayides is a modern guitarist and composer. He loves performing and collaborating with a diverse array of musicians, while being part of the vibrant, creative music scene of New York. He also works as a music educator in a wide variety of settings, from master classes, to guitar ensembles, to running his own private music studio. His current group features a long-standing partnership with Rich Perry on tenor sax and a rotating cast of some of NYC’s heaviest rhythm section players including: Steve LaSpina, Thomson Kneeland, Mark Ferber, Bob Sabin, Sam Trapchak, and Jeff Davis. In 2015 Matt released his second album as a leader entitled "CONDUITS" featuring his original compositions. Joined by Rich Perry, Mark Ferber and Thomson Kneeland. In 2011 Matt released his first album as a leader. The album features his tunes with Rich Perry, Steve LaSpina and Dan Weiss. Matt holds a BM from Manhattan School of music and an MM from William Paterson University in Jazz Performance.

Matt Panayides-Guitar and Piano Faculty

Matt Panayides is a modern guitarist and composer. He loves performing and collaborating with a diverse array of musicians, while being part of the vibrant, creative music scene of New York. He also works as a music educator in a wide variety of settings, from master classes, to guitar ensembles, to running his own private music studio. His current group features a long-standing partnership with Rich Perry on tenor sax and a rotating cast of some of NYC’s heaviest rhythm section players including: Steve LaSpina, Thomson Kneeland, Mark Ferber, Bob Sabin, Sam Trapchak, and Jeff Davis. In 2015 Matt released his second album as a leader entitled "CONDUITS" featuring his original compositions. Joined by Rich Perry, Mark Ferber and Thomson Kneeland. In 2011 Matt released his first album as a leader. The album features his tunes with Rich Perry, Steve LaSpina and Dan Weiss. Matt holds a BM from Manhattan School of music and an MM from William Paterson University in Jazz Performance.

  Hyeseon Hong-Piano and  Composition Faculty   Hyeseon Hong is an accomplished composer, arranger and pianist working extensively in both New York City and Seoul, Korea.  She is adept in many different genres of music including jazz, musicals, pop and film composition.  She has composed and performed in several different musicals and has been commissioned to write music for film. As an educator Ms. Hong served as assistant professor at Dae Gu Art Music College in South Korea teaching classes in jazz arranging, composition, theory and piano. In 2017 she released a big band album on Summit Records to much acclaim featuring Rich Perry and Ingrid Jensen.  A recipient of the prestigious Copland Fund composers grant her group currently consists of some of New York’s finest musicians while she also continues to lead her choir group in Seoul. Ms. Hong received a Bachelor of Music from Yonsei University, a Masters of Arts in Jazz Performance from NYU, and pursued additional independent study courses in improvisation and composition at City College.

Hyeseon Hong-Piano and  Composition Faculty

Hyeseon Hong is an accomplished composer, arranger and pianist working extensively in both New York City and Seoul, Korea.  She is adept in many different genres of music including jazz, musicals, pop and film composition.  She has composed and performed in several different musicals and has been commissioned to write music for film. As an educator Ms. Hong served as assistant professor at Dae Gu Art Music College in South Korea teaching classes in jazz arranging, composition, theory and piano. In 2017 she released a big band album on Summit Records to much acclaim featuring Rich Perry and Ingrid Jensen.  A recipient of the prestigious Copland Fund composers grant her group currently consists of some of New York’s finest musicians while she also continues to lead her choir group in Seoul. Ms. Hong received a Bachelor of Music from Yonsei University, a Masters of Arts in Jazz Performance from NYU, and pursued additional independent study courses in improvisation and composition at City College.

  Sam Decker-Woodwind and Piano Faculty   Sam Decker moved to Brooklyn, New York, in early 2012, and has since been playing straight-ahead jazz, contemporary jazz/improvised music, free improvisation, as well as rock and folk music in the New York music scene. Drawing from sources such as Stravinsky, Mark Turner, Deerhoof, and Elliot Smith, his music is both familiar and unfamiliar. Originally from the Chicago area, Sam attended New England Conservatory in Boston, where he studied with George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Moses, Ken Radnofsky, John McNeil, Frank Carlberg, and Cecil McBee. He also studied contemporary classical composition and improvisation with Katarina Miljkovic. Sam is a founding member of Green and Glass ( greenandglass.bandcamp.com ), co leads the Decker/LoRe quartet( DeckerLoReQuartet.bandcamp.com ) with Alex LoRe, and leads an instrumental group called Shrove. In addition, Sam is part of the Logan Strohsal Group, who’s first record “Up Go We” is released on Sunyside records, as well as other folk and instrumental projects and collaborations. Sam has been teaching privately in addition to working with various music programs in New York and New Jersey since 2012.

Sam Decker-Woodwind and Piano Faculty

Sam Decker moved to Brooklyn, New York, in early 2012, and has since been playing straight-ahead jazz, contemporary jazz/improvised music, free improvisation, as well as rock and folk music in the New York music scene. Drawing from sources such as Stravinsky, Mark Turner, Deerhoof, and Elliot Smith, his music is both familiar and unfamiliar. Originally from the Chicago area, Sam attended New England Conservatory in Boston, where he studied with George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Moses, Ken Radnofsky, John McNeil, Frank Carlberg, and Cecil McBee. He also studied contemporary classical composition and improvisation with Katarina Miljkovic. Sam is a founding member of Green and Glass (greenandglass.bandcamp.com), co leads the Decker/LoRe quartet(DeckerLoReQuartet.bandcamp.com) with Alex LoRe, and leads an instrumental group called Shrove. In addition, Sam is part of the Logan Strohsal Group, who’s first record “Up Go We” is released on Sunyside records, as well as other folk and instrumental projects and collaborations. Sam has been teaching privately in addition to working with various music programs in New York and New Jersey since 2012.

 
  Samantha Benvissuto Violin and Piano   Faculty   Samantha Benvissuto is an artist and musician who has been singing and playing violin for the past 14 years. Since childhood she has been a part of youth and honors orchestras and jazz bands such as the Youth Orchestra of Southern Alameda County, and the California Orchestra Directors Association All State Orchestra, and even helped start a string quartet at Horner Jr. High of Fremont, California which has now developed into a full blown orchestra program. Working primarily in early childhood education in her full time career, Miss Samantha is excited to be sharing her love of violin to beginners and teaching the foundations for a wonderful life in music and art.

Samantha Benvissuto Violin and Piano Faculty

Samantha Benvissuto is an artist and musician who has been singing and playing violin for the past 14 years. Since childhood she has been a part of youth and honors orchestras and jazz bands such as the Youth Orchestra of Southern Alameda County, and the California Orchestra Directors Association All State Orchestra, and even helped start a string quartet at Horner Jr. High of Fremont, California which has now developed into a full blown orchestra program. Working primarily in early childhood education in her full time career, Miss Samantha is excited to be sharing her love of violin to beginners and teaching the foundations for a wonderful life in music and art.

  Minji Kim Piano Faculty   Minji is a pianist, composer, and an instructor who was born in South Korea. She pursued bachelor’s degree at Berklee College of Music with a Jazz Performance Award, Berklee Achievement Scholarship, and Berklee International Grant. Also, she pursued her Master’s degree in Jazz Studies at New York University while working as an adjunct instructor at NYU. She has released her first debut album, “Every Moment”, on February 2018 under her own recording label with Drew Gress on bass and Jongkuk Kim on drums (featured by Alex Sipiagin on trumpet, Dave Pietro on alto sax, and Alan Ferber on trombone). Minji currently is performing at various places and building her musical experiences with many musicians, such as Blue Note, Rockwood Music Hall, Club Bonafide, ShapeShifter Lab,Tomi Jazz, Loewe Theatre, and James Dolan Studio.  She recently placed on Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory Competition finalist. And she had her first abroad tour in Costa Rica (performances & master classes) in July 2018 with Cornerstones Group featured with Brad Shepik.

Minji Kim Piano Faculty

Minji is a pianist, composer, and an instructor who was born in South Korea. She pursued bachelor’s degree at Berklee College of Music with a Jazz Performance Award, Berklee Achievement Scholarship, and Berklee International Grant. Also, she pursued her Master’s degree in Jazz Studies at New York University while working as an adjunct instructor at NYU. She has released her first debut album, “Every Moment”, on February 2018 under her own recording label with Drew Gress on bass and Jongkuk Kim on drums (featured by Alex Sipiagin on trumpet, Dave Pietro on alto sax, and Alan Ferber on trombone). Minji currently is performing at various places and building her musical experiences with many musicians, such as Blue Note, Rockwood Music Hall, Club Bonafide, ShapeShifter Lab,Tomi Jazz, Loewe Theatre, and James Dolan Studio.  She recently placed on Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory Competition finalist. And she had her first abroad tour in Costa Rica (performances & master classes) in July 2018 with Cornerstones Group featured with Brad Shepik.

  Marc Velez-Guitar and Piano Faculty   Marc Velez is a guitarist and educator currently living Union City, New Jersey. His approach to music is characterized by a strong inclination to explore new concepts regardless of genre, which has resulted in experience in various forms jazz, rock, and classical music. He is drawn to the guitar for its versatility, and emphasizes the fundamentals of technique in order to be fully expressive in each performance situation. He is a graduate of NJCU’s jazz performance program, where he was able to study under esteemed musicians and educators such as Paul Meyers, Allen Farnham, and Walt Weiskopf and shared the stage with fantastic performers such as Ingrid Jensen and Steve Wilson. He was also afforded opportunities to travel — in 2015, he spent a week as part of a quartet in Mumbai, India to represent NJCU at the True School of Music. He participated in various master classes and performances, including a night at the Blue Frog. Marc currently spends his time performing and teaching privately throughout northern New Jersey. 

Marc Velez-Guitar and Piano Faculty

Marc Velez is a guitarist and educator currently living Union City, New Jersey. His approach to music is characterized by a strong inclination to explore new concepts regardless of genre, which has resulted in experience in various forms jazz, rock, and classical music. He is drawn to the guitar for its versatility, and emphasizes the fundamentals of technique in order to be fully expressive in each performance situation. He is a graduate of NJCU’s jazz performance program, where he was able to study under esteemed musicians and educators such as Paul Meyers, Allen Farnham, and Walt Weiskopf and shared the stage with fantastic performers such as Ingrid Jensen and Steve Wilson. He was also afforded opportunities to travel — in 2015, he spent a week as part of a quartet in Mumbai, India to represent NJCU at the True School of Music. He participated in various master classes and performances, including a night at the Blue Frog. Marc currently spends his time performing and teaching privately throughout northern New Jersey. 

  EJ Park-Vocal and Piano Faculty   EJ(EunJung)Park, was born in Gwangju, South Korea where she began formal music study at the age of five. She participated in and won several piano and voice competitions. After graduating from National University of Cheonnam as a piano major she attended Dong Ah Institute of Media and Arts (DIMA) to study voice.In 2011 EJ's love for jazz and her commitment to artistic growth led her to The University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she received a Master of Music in Jazz Studies, graduating in 2013. Since graduation EJ has performed extensively, singing both jazz and gospel music. She completed an eight state tour of the east coast and performed at the prestigious Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. As a solo vocalist/pianist she has performed at Chris's Jazz cafe, Pari's Bistro, the Revel Resort Casino in Atlantic City, Philadelphia's Academy of Music etc. She performed as a backup singer for Lanny Kravitz and Carole King for DNC in Philadelphia. EJ also performs and records as featured vocalist with the Hyeseon Hong Jazz Orchestra in NYC and Don Glanden Jazz Trio in Philadelphia. Recently she finished her debut album recording as a jazz vocalist/composer. The album is going to release soon in 2018. As an educator, she has been teaching piano/vocal at University of the Arts in Philadelphia since 2014.

EJ Park-Vocal and Piano Faculty

EJ(EunJung)Park, was born in Gwangju, South Korea where she began formal music study at the age of five. She participated in and won several piano and voice competitions. After graduating from National University of Cheonnam as a piano major she attended Dong Ah Institute of Media and Arts (DIMA) to study voice.In 2011 EJ's love for jazz and her commitment to artistic growth led her to The University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she received a Master of Music in Jazz Studies, graduating in 2013. Since graduation EJ has performed extensively, singing both jazz and gospel music. She completed an eight state tour of the east coast and performed at the prestigious Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. As a solo vocalist/pianist she has performed at Chris's Jazz cafe, Pari's Bistro, the Revel Resort Casino in Atlantic City, Philadelphia's Academy of Music etc. She performed as a backup singer for Lanny Kravitz and Carole King for DNC in Philadelphia. EJ also performs and records as featured vocalist with the Hyeseon Hong Jazz Orchestra in NYC and Don Glanden Jazz Trio in Philadelphia. Recently she finished her debut album recording as a jazz vocalist/composer. The album is going to release soon in 2018. As an educator, she has been teaching piano/vocal at University of the Arts in Philadelphia since 2014.