Home | Bio | Lessons | Media | Dates | ARael Music & Entertainment

My cousin and I, jamming at 7 years old.

My first gig


My love affair with music has been long-lasting and enduring. The piano has been my love, confidant, beloved friend, and best escape. At times, it seemed to be the only real thing in my life, and the most natural.

I first played at three years. My mother tells the story: "I heard a familiar tune coming from somewhere in the house. I was angry with Andy, thinking he had once again turned on the stereo. I went looking for him, and instead found him playing a small chord organ. He was playing Maleguena, the Spanish-inspired piece that our family played constantly. I am a trained vocalist myself, but this was beyond anything I could have ever expected. Teachers told us he was a prodigy..."

But to me, music had nothing to do with labels, just love. From studying the organ, I went on to various instruments, including the piano, clarinet and guitar. I was lucky enough to receive classical training, but my true spirit aligned with improvisation. Eight hour solo practice times combined with jamming sessions with anyone I could find, from amateurs to 40 year veterans, led me to performing several thousand gigs and being involved in multitudes of bands, including rock, pop, dance, latin, r&b, and jazz. Some memorable gigs include a celebrity yachting wedding in Ft Lauderdale, Florida, and a four month tour of coastal Israeli hotels with a club band. Looking back, I am amazed at the places music has taken me and the people it has introduced me to.

The next experience of my musical career was teaching music in a Newark middle school. Not only did I learn to play every band and orchestral instrument in one summer, but also I had the pleasure of learning classroom management. This is a skill where you either sink or swim; happily, I learned to swim quickly. I managed gang warfare in the classroom and dealt with neutralizing unhealthy peer pressure, and most significantly, rediscovered how important music can be in every person's life, regardless of one's background, talent, training or inherent musicality.

After over thirty years of playing, performing and teaching, I still have a love affair with the piano. Music and life is a never-ending learning process. I teach and learn at the same time. When I perform, I give to the audience and receive just as much. And each life and performing experience gives me more to draw from emotionally, and deepens what I can convey through music. I never would have dreamed of the places in the world and the places within myself that music has brought me, and I feel blessed to have this outlet that continues to grow and deepen every day.

Pianist, Composer, Educator

  • 2006 Private instruction with Armen Donelian: Artist in residence at William Patterson University
  • 2004-2005  Private Vocal Coaching with Megan Fogarty
  • 2003  Certified K-12 Music Education and certified K-5 Elementary Education
  • 1999-2000  Private instruction with pianist Marc Copland
  • 2000  Series 7 General Securities/Registered Representative/Stockbroker License
  • 2000  Series 55 Proprietary Equities Trader License
  • 1996  Private instruction with pianist Jon Esposito
  • 1996  Jazz Enemble - Bard College
  • 1995  B.A. in Psychology, Graduated Cum Laude, SUNY New Paltz, New Paltz. NY
  • 1994-95  Private instruction with guitarist, composer Martin Celay
  • 1994  Afro-Brazilian drum and rhythm workshop with Nana Vasconselos
  • 1986-88  Private instruction with pianist John Lampkin
  • 1983-88  H.S. Band, Marching Band, Classical Orchestra, Jazz ensemble, piano and clarinet
  • 1978-86  various teachers piano/organ
Professional Experience:
  • Present gigs   See Performance Calendar
  • 2007 Wrote "12 Tunes in 12 Keys - An improvisation manual" Publishing TBA,
  • 1995-Present  Private Piano and Guitar Instructor, Freelance Musician - currently employed with several entertainment companies including D'Amico Entertainment : Winner of NJ Bride Hotlist of Best Entertainment Companies in NJ
  • 2005  Principal Pianist "South Pacific," Science H.S. Newark NJ - Grant Funded
  • 2004  Music Director, Park Theater Playhouse, Union City, NJ -Directed a cast of 50 equity actors
  • 2003-2004  Music Teacher, Gladys Hillman Jones Middle School, Newark , NJ - taught 7th and 8th grade music and 7th grade math
  • 2000-2004  Private Equities Trader, Nasdaq, NYSE - Wall Street, NYC
  • 1996-97  Performed in commercial band in Hotels/Resorts in Israel.
  • 1996  Composed, directed and performed a multimedia Black history presentation for Ulster county public schools.
  • 1994-96  Performed in commercial rock, reggae, blues, R&B and jazz ensembles in the Hudson and Catskill areas.
  • 1992-93  Performed with original jazz combo in  NYC Member of the Rockland Co. Jazz and Blues Society.
  • 1987  Principal pianist, Elmwood Theater.
  • 1984-88  Private piano teacher. Winner of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award.
  • 1986  Music Counselor Deer Mountain Day Camp.
  • 1981  RCC Nursing School, pianist for graduation ceremonies.