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.
MICHAEL FLAMHAFT is the Director of the Band of Long Island and the Rotary Club of Great Neck’s Summer Community Band. Prior to retirement, he was the Director of Music Education of the West Hempstead UFSD and was one of the founders of French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts. Michael is a specialist with instrumental beginners and has prepped countless number of young players for NYSSMA where they consistently earn outstanding ratings. A published arranger and composer, he’s received commissions to write for Orchestra, Band, Jazz Band, and specialized ensembles.
ASIYA KALENDAR is from Tashkent, Uzbekistan where she received her Master’s Degree from the Tashkent Conservatory. In 1972, she joined the faculty of Tashkent’s Music School No. 21 as the principal choral conductor and senior instructor in music history, theory and Solfeggio. As a skilled piano teacher, Mrs. Kalendar has brought her students at the GNAC to a high level of accomplishment; many going on to study at the Manhattan School of Music and other distinguished music schools. Her students consistently achieve top scores at the NYSSMA competition each year.
EDWARD KALENDAR was born in the former Soviet Republic of Tajikistan. He studied classical composition with Aram Khachaturian. His music was played on the radio and television throughout the Soviet Union and Europe. He studied conducting with legendary Pierre Boulez; and by 1975, Mr. Kalendar was a famous songwriter and composer of over twenty-five film scores. Among major prizes in musical composition, he was awarded the prestigious title of “Honored Artist of the Republic” in Russia in 1988. In 1994 he joined the faculty at GNAC. A concert at Alice Tully Hall in 2006 marks his most recent appearance.
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.
KRISTIN NIKAJ is a violinist who has performed throughout New York’s premiere concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall and Lincoln Center. She has performed with numerous orchestras, both in the US and abroad. Ms. Nikaj holds a Master’s Degree in Performance from Mannes College where she served as principal violist of the Mannes Orchestra. Primarily performing music of the classical genre, she occasionally collaborates with popular artists, including Adele, Kid Cudi and Ryan Leslie. Television appearances include The View; The Late Show with David Letterman; BET’s Rising Icons; The Monique Show. Ms. Nikaj is a Suzuki certified instructor and has been on faculty of the GNAC for six years.
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.