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.

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.

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.

 
Ruby Wang-Violin and Piano Faculty Born and raised about twenty minutes outside of the nation’s capital, Ruby spent the majority of her time as a dynamic member of the music community in Montgomery County as both an accomplished violinist and pianist. Ruby was a two-time 1st place winner in not only the Maryland State Music Teachers Association (MSMTA) Violin Solo Competition but also the MSMTA Piano Concerto Competition. As Ruby prepared for her continued studies, she was awarded a $12,000 scholarship as a Maryland Distinguished Scholar Finalist and a $56,000 scholarship as a recipient of the Linehan Artist Scholarship at the University of Maryland, where she ultimately received her Bachelor of Arts in Violin Performance. Since graduating, she has relocated to New York City, where she is continuing to perform and teach. Ruby has recently performed in Carnegie Hall as a violin soloist in three separate concerts with the China Arts Foundation International Orchestra. Last month, she also performed as a soloist at Historic St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church with the New York Virtuosi and the Salvatones. 

Ruby Wang-Violin and Piano Faculty

Born and raised about twenty minutes outside of the nation’s capital, Ruby spent the majority of her time as a dynamic member of the music community in Montgomery County as both an accomplished violinist and pianist. Ruby was a two-time 1st place winner in not only the Maryland State Music Teachers Association (MSMTA) Violin Solo Competition but also the MSMTA Piano Concerto Competition. As Ruby prepared for her continued studies, she was awarded a $12,000 scholarship as a Maryland Distinguished Scholar Finalist and a $56,000 scholarship as a recipient of the Linehan Artist Scholarship at the University of Maryland, where she ultimately received her Bachelor of Arts in Violin Performance. Since graduating, she has relocated to New York City, where she is continuing to perform and teach. Ruby has recently performed in Carnegie Hall as a violin soloist in three separate concerts with the China Arts Foundation International Orchestra. Last month, she also performed as a soloist at Historic St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church with the New York Virtuosi and the Salvatones. 

Marc Valez-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 Valez-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.