EVAN CLOSER loves to share his passion for music with others and strives to motivate and inspire his students. Evan began teaching at an early age when he provided performance coaching and group theory classes for a large private music studio in Southwest Michigan. Since moving to New York City in 2006, Evan has enjoyed playing for musicals and operas throughout the greater New York area. Notable performances include a collaboration with Dance China New York at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and a scene show of Threepenny Opera at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. Most recently Evan served as the orchestra conductor and pianist for the award-winning world premiere of Temple of the Souls produced by MultiStages. Evan has also performed as a keyboardist and guitarist in venues such as Rockwood Music Hall, The Bitter End, and B.B. Kings and currently works as a session musician both in his own home studio and with other recording engineers.
SAM DILLON is a New York based saxophonist, woodwind player, bandleader, composer and teacher. He holds his Masters and Bachelors Degree in music performance from SUNY Purchase Collage. Sam has been privileged to play with some of the world’s finest musicians including Al Grey, Joe Chambers and Randy Brecker. Sam’s most recent major performances include The Joe Chambers “Moving Pictures” Jazz Orchestra @Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, The Smoke Big Band, The Artie Shaw Jazz Orchestra, The Cecilia Coleman Big Band, The Paris Wight Quintet featuring David Weiss, and The Sam Dillon Quartet. In 2013 Sam was selected as a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition where he performed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. Sam has been a dedicated teacher for over 9 years, teaching both privately and through several schools. He teaches students of all ages and levels for saxophone, clarinet, flute, harmony and jazz improvisation. Sam has also conducted several instrumental master classes and workshops for schools and summer programs around the tri-state area. For more information please visit SamDillonMusic.com.
TINA LAMA is a string, voice and piano instructor based in New York. For the past 20 years, she has regularly performed with jazz, bluegrass, rock and orchestral groups throughout North America. Receiving her Masters in Jazz Performance from Queens College in 2014, Tina has had the honor to perform alongside Tony Bennett, Danilo Perez and Jimmy Heath, as well as Emmy- and Independent Music Award-nominated bluegrass and hip hop groups. Tina’s instruction career has spanned a decade. She has taught voice, bass, piano and music theory at universities and music academies throughout New York. She works with all ages, and strives to provide individualized programs based on the goals and interests of her students, in an encouraging and motivating environment.
GLENN MANION has been playing the guitar since 1969. In 1983, he and his musical partner and wife, Suzanne Smithline, formed “Squeaky Clean”, which specializes in presenting classic rock and roll in schools, theaters, and the like. The group made regular appearances on Nickelodeon’s “Eureka’s Castle” for several years. As a songwriter, he has received awards from ASCAP and the SKC/ New York Music Awards, BA New York University. He is also a blogger for the Huffington Post.
MAYA NOVA is a trained voice instructor, and also teaches guitar and piano. She is a soulful jazz vocalist with 20 years of performing experience and 10 years of teaching experience over 3 continents: Europe, Asia and America. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from the Pop and Jazz Department of the National Music Academy, Sofia, Bulgaria and a Master’s Degree from The Jazz Vocal Performance Program at Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College (2014). From 2008 until 2012, Nova was an adjunct main study voice lecturer at Contemporary Music Performance Department of LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore and also taught voice lessons at United World College, German International School, and Saint Joseph Institution International in Singapore. For more information, visit www.mayanova.com.
ANDREW SMILEY played his first notes on the guitar when he was 11 years old, and within four years was playing jazz, pop, and rock professionally in the Hartford, CT area. He studied at the Eastman School of Music, and soon afterwards moved to New York City in order push his musicianship to the next level and collaborate with forward thinking artists. Andrew has performed and recorded consistently in New York since 2005 and has played at many prominent music festivals throughout the US and Europe. As a teacher, Andrew draws on his extensive knowledge and experience to work with students based on individual needs and interests. Andrew helps students to explore, understand, and perform the styles of music they most enjoy, while simultaneously building the fundamentals necessary to be a complete musician.
LESLEY STOLLER, a NYS Licensed Music Teacher with an MA in Psychology. He has been teaching Music for the NYC Department of Education at Queens Children’s Psychiatric Center for nineteen years. Mr. Stoller is a permanent Member of the BMI Lehman Engel Advanced Musical Theater Workshop where he developed his new Musical, The Talking Cure. He is an ongoing contributor to The Night Kitchen Radio Theater, and recently conducted his original score for their production of The Emperor’s New Clothes at The Kennedy Center’s Family Theater. Mr. Stoller is excited to be part of the GNAC staff.