SHARON BERNSTEIN (CELLO) is a cellist who has played at leading festivals including the NYSSA School of Orchestral Studies at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Aspen Music Festival and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. She has performed with several orchestras including the Boston Civic Symphony, the Greenwich Village Orchestra, the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, and the North Shore Opera Company. She is currently a member of the South Shore Symphony and the Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra where she performs regularly. Ms. Bernstein graduated from Brandeis University and holds a Masters from Columbia University and a JD from Hofstra University. Ms. Bernstein enjoys teaching cello to all ages and has taught at both the Gold Coast Arts Center and privately for several years and feels that it is important to be able to teach to the students learning style and create a love of playing the cello.
ROBERT HOFFMANN (PIANO, VOICE) a graduate of Hunter College with a Master’s in Music Education, has developed his vocal and teaching ability through a variety of life experiences. He has been teaching elementary choir at the Great Neck Public Schools for the last fifteen years. He is an award winning composer who has compiled a library of over 400 songs. He achieved a 3-night record-breaking draw to New York’s China Club at the peak of its popularity, and his CD Believe was produced by Grammy award winner Richard Oliver. Robert has created a music program for the Gold Coast Arts Center, which includes: “Future Idol,” a song writing, recording and video technology class, “Vocal Expression,” a contemporary choral class, “Painless Piano,” a theory and piano instruction class as well as other Orff based classes. Although he specializes in working with elementary students, Robert is a skilled vocalist and private instructor specializing in students with vocal challenges. He is affiliated with the National Association for Music Education (NAFME), New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) and the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
JAN KUS (SAXOPHONE, CLARINET, PIANO) is both an educator and an active performer. He worked as head of the education department at the Slovenian-based institute Boben In Lajna from 2011-2012, and has shared the stage and the recording studio with some of the jazz world’s brightest stars (Chris Potter, Jimmy Heath, David Binney, Mark Turner, Alex Sipiagin, Jason Palmer, Marko Djordjevic, to name a few), as well as performed his original music all across Europe, in Asia, and the Caribbean. He has been active as a music instructor at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels for many years, with his students achieving great results on NYSSMA and ABRSM tests. Jan is a trained saxophone and clarinet player, but also teaches ensemble classes, beginner piano, music theory, and rhythm classes. While being firmly rooted in jazz and classical saxophone tradition, Jan comfortably performs in a wide array of musical styles, spawning from Latin Jazz to Pop, Flamenco, Hip Hop, Funk and World Music on a steady basis. You can follow Jan’s upcoming performances as well as find out more about his work and his upcoming album by his new group on his website www.jankusmusic.com, and see a video for his new album HERE. A review of his latest album can be found HERE.
TINA LAMA (BASS, PIANO, GUITAR) is a string 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. Read more about Tina at www.tinalamamusic.com.
GLENN MANION (GUITAR, BASS) 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. He has a BA from New York University.
ZACHARY MEZZO (VIOLIN) is a teacher, violinist, and composer from Long Island, currently finishing a B.M. in Music Theory and Composition at NYU Steinhardt. He studied violin with Dr. Dale Stuckenbruck for many years and additionally has been a long time participant of the LIU Post Chamber Music Festival where he received the Rex Chao Memorial Prize for dedication to chamber music. In addition to being an active composer of concert music, Zach has continued to perform both orchestral and chamber music at NYU. He was also a member of the NYU Composers Ensemble where he premiered several new works as a violinist. Outside of the classical music world, Zach plays drums in the band Caused by Carelessness and composes scores for films and other media including podcasts and visual art. Given his wide range of musical experience and skills, Zach loves helping his students explore both traditional violin repertoire and new musical ideas across different genres.
JONATHAN PALMIOTTI (VOICE, PIANO) is a Musical Theatre-trained singer and actor in Queens, New York. Jonathan received an AS degree from Queensborough Community College in Theatre and Music Performance and a BFA degree in Musical Theatre performance at Long Island University-Post. Currently, Jonathan is pursuing his M.A. in Arts Administration at Baruch College. Jonathan has studied various forms of acting techniques which include Suzuki, Stanislavski, and Jacques Lacoq. At QCC, Jonathan played the role of Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, and was subsequently chosen as a KCACTF Musical Theatre Initiative nominee to compete in Massachusetts for the Richard Maltby Jr. Award. He also performed in a workshopped production of a new opera produced and composed by Monk Parrots Productions called Bum Phillips at La MaMa in the East Village. Other prestigious venues he performed in include: Theatre for the New City, Davenport Theatre, the Plaza Hotel, and the Prudential Center in New Jersey. Jonathan has worked with several Broadway and Off-Broadway actors and musicians including Javier Muñoz (Hamilton, In the Heights), Matt Dickson (War Horse) and Dr. Bryan Wade (Finian’s Rainbow). In addition to acting, Jonathan instructs students in piano, and vocal training techniques. He began teaching Introduction to Acting at the Gold Coast Arts Center in 2015 and now teaches private lessons for the school in both piano and voice. Since graduating from LIU-Post, Jonathan’s goal is to continue to nurture the emerging talent of students in musical theatre, as well as his vocal, piano, and acting students. Jonathan believes that there is a hidden talent in every potential aspiring student that must be found and nourished.
REBECCA RUTKOVSKY (VOICE, PIANO) is a singer and teacher based on Long Island. Equally at home in classical music and musical theatre repertoire, Rebecca’s favorite roles include Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Alcina (Alcina), First Lady (Die Zauberflöte), The Mother (Hansel and Gretel), Edith (Pirates of Penzance), Cinderella (Into the Woods), and Rosalia (West Side Story). Rebecca has also been seen as the soprano soloist in a televised performance of Schubert’s Mass in G Major. Rebecca received her masters degree from Binghamton University and bachelors degree from American University, both in Vocal Performance. A passionate teacher, Rebecca has prepared students for successful performances and auditions, including NYSSMA Festivals. Rebecca loves helping students find the confidence and vocal technique to sing with their most authentic voice.
MAYU SAEKI (PIANO, FLUTE, VOICE) is a flutist, pianist, and educator with over 25 years of career in the United States and Japan. After receiving a Master’s degree from Elizabeth University of Music in Japan, she has moved to New York in 2009. Her musical career in the US took off shortly after, and she has since collaborated with various well-known artists, groups and productions, such as NEA jazz master Chico Hamilton, Grammy award-winning artists Arturo O’farrill, and Rafael Piccolotto de Lima’s Chamber project, Four Celtic Voices, and Off-Broadway “Fiddler On The Roof Yiddish”, to name only a few. Her debut album “HOPE” (BJURecords 2018) was featured in Downbeat magazine, also she has been nominated for the Annual Downbeat Critics Poll under the category of Rising Star Flute for three years in a row from 2019 to 2021. The album was also featured in Downbeat Magazine and Allegro managing by Local 802. As an educator, she has extensive experience in working with various schools, systems and invited to masterclasses, including TESS Suzuki school, Keio academy of New York, NYSSMA system, Women in Jazz at The Nash, Texas Summer Flute Symposium, and Summer Band Camp at Arizona State University. Mayu Saeki is endorsed by Trevor James Flutes. For more information, please visit mayusaekimusic.com.
HOLLY SICKINGER-BIFULCI (VOICE) Holly is very excited to be working with Gold Coast Arts Center! She is a New York State certified music teacher who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz/Commercial Music with a Musical Theater/Vocal Concentration from Five Towns College and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Queen’s College. Holly has loved music her whole life. She enjoys singing many different styles of music, including jazz, musical theater and classical music. Currently, she sings with The Jewel Tones, Long Island’s premiere vintage vocal trio. Aside from performing, Holly loves to share her passion for music with others through teaching, and she is excited for the opportunity to share that joy by teaching music classes and private lessons at Gold Coast Arts.
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