Meet Our Faculty

       Ana Aydinyan (piano, theory) was born into a family of musicians and was accepted into the Tchaikovsky School for Gifted Children at the of 5. At 17, after graduating she continued her musical education at the Armenia and Moscow State Conservatories where she obtained her Graduate and Post-Graduate Degrees. Her teachers were Yuri Airapetian, Samuel Alumian and Boris Schatzkes - pupils of legendary pianist Jacob Flier. Ms. Aidinian participated in Masterclasses with the highly esteemed Vera Gornostayeva and Dmitri Bashkirov. Her performances generated great interest and were highly praised for possessing a unique blend of virtuosity, expressiveness and intellectual sophistication. Throughout her years of schooling Ms. Aidinian was a recipient of the prestigious Tchaikovsky Scholarship. She was offered a position of Piano Professor at the Yerevan State Conservatory and State College of Music, where she conducted Piano and Chamber Ensemble classes. Ms. Aidinian also taught at some of the leading music schools in Armenia. Her teaching and performing career continued after immigrating to the United States. Ms. Aidinian combines her own engaging style of teaching with the rich legacy that was imparted to her by her renowned professors.

Rida Aydinyan, (piano, theory) a native of Armenia (Former Soviet Union), started her early professional piano studies at the Tchaikovski School for Gifted Children in Yerevan, Armenia. She received her Graduate and post-Graduate Degrees from the Yerevan State Conservatory. Her principal teachers, Professors Yacov Zargarian, Georgi  Sarajev and Zemfira Barsegian are representatives of the famous Russian performing school and were trained under the baton of  Yacov Flier, Leonid Nicholaev and Vladimir Sofronitski. In United States Ms. Aidinian studied with professors Abbey Simon and Morey Ritt. Ms. Aidinian’s performing career started as early as 13 years old. Her performing style combines the virtuosity and brilliant technique of the Moscow piano school with the refinement and poetic musicality of the St. Petersburg performing tradition. Rita Aidinian’s vast knowledge and expertise in vocal and woodwind/brass repertory allowed her not only excel as soloist, but to also become a successful ensemble player and accompanist.

Ms.Aidinian has over 25 years of teaching experience of working with all ages and levels. Along with her remarkable expertise and unique teaching method, all her students, as young as toddlers and as old as graduate students appreciate and enjoy Rita Aidinian’s patience, devotion and charismatic personality.

Nora Damrasian (violin, piano) obtained her graduate and post - graduate degrees from Armenia and St. Petersburg State Conservatories. Her method of teaching is based upon and influenced by her renown teachers, Dmitri Lekker and Vitold Portugalov, who were pupils of Joseph Sigetti and Leopold  Auer. Prior to coming  to the United States Nora Damrazian was one of the leading violin teachers in Armenia. She worked at various music institutions such as Sayat Nova Music School, Tchaikovsky School for Gifted Children and Yerevan State Music College. Mrs. Damrazian has over 40 years of teaching and performing experience. Her professional expertise, her kindness  and patience  allow students of varying musical capacity to tackle the challenges of studying the violin more efficiently while enjoying the process of learning.

Melissa Monconduit (ballet,creative movement, jazz dance, modern dance, hip-hop) was born in New Orleans, Louisiana.  She moved to Dallas, Texas and began her formal dance training at Contemporary Ballet of Dallas.  In 2009, she graduated from Bishop Lynch High School. After graduating, she attended Fordham University and continued her dance training as a student at the Alvin Ailey School.  After graduating from Fordham with a bachelor’s degree in Natural Science, Melissa danced with New York based companies, including, Vissi Dance Theater, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Laurie M. Taylor/ Soul Movement, and Amanda Selwyn Dance Theater.  Recently, Melissa danced and modeled in Desigual’s fashion show for New York Fashion Week.  Melissa has taught ballet, jazz, modern, and musical theater classes to the Rod Rogers youth program and to students at various Manhattan private schools.

Andrew Washburn (piano,theory) was born in Portland, OR. His earliest musical training came from singing in the church choir followed by playing drums and guitar in Portland rock clubs. He was inspired to take up the piano after hearing the music of jazz great Thelonious Monk. Andrew earned his undergraduate degree in jazz studies from the University of Oregon, where he was awarded outstanding undergraduate performer of his graduating class. He attended the New England Conservatory in Boston MA where he earned his Masters of Music degree studying piano and composition with world renowned jazz pianists Fred Hersch and Jason Moran. Andrew uses his varied musical background to introduce his students to the world of music. He enjoys helping them build their own musical vocabulary, and tries to cultivate in them a passion for the piano.

Marine Vardanyan (piano, theory, voice, introduction to music) graduated with MA in piano performance from Armenia State Conservatory. She was one of the principal teachers at the Armenia State College of Music and other leading music schools in the former Soviet Union. Throughout her professional career Marine Vardanyan distinguished herself as a serious, thoughtful musician. Her multi-faceted interests and knowledge in music and all art in general enable her to be very successful as a mentor. With the aid of over 22 years of piano teaching experience, Mrs.Vardanyan utilizes a unique teaching style to accommodate students of all ages. Having trained contestants as well as champions of numerous musical contests, she knows the process and has the skills, the ability and patience to turn a newcomer to a musical school into a seriously competitive musician. Due to her high spirituality and professionalism, she is able to inspire her students and set a truly creative atmosphere in the classroom. Being an individual who seeks constant improvement, Mrs. Vardanyan has many innovative ideas as well as the will and motivation to utilize these ideas into the reality.


Hillary Mairovich (art) is NYS certified Art teacher. She  started her art experience early, being the daughter of a wonderful artist/art teacher Gail Mairovich.She received her undergraduate degree in Art Education from SUNY New Paltz, with a concentration in ceramics and printmaking.  She has been teaching art in some capacity since she was in high school at various art camps and programs.  Hilary is currently an Art teacher at the Queens Academy High School in Flushing.  She also serves as an Arts workshop facilitator for the Office of Arts and Special Projects for the NYC Department of Education.   She  completed her Masters degree at Queens College in Art Education. Her students have won numerous Art’s awards, including the Scholastic Arts and ArtsConnection competitions.

Maya Nova (voice,piano,theory) is a soulful jazz vocalist born in Bulgaria, spent a good part of her performing and teaching career in Singapore and currently living in NYC.

She started playing classical guitar at 10 and later picked the piano as her second instrument. She holds a Bachelor Degree (BA) from Pop & Jazz Music Department of National Music Academy, Bulgaria with Voice major and Masters (MA) from Jazz Vocal Performance Program at Queens College, New York.

In the early part of her performing career in Bulgaria, she actively pursued the live music stage with several leading funk, pop and jazz groups. Appearances at Sofia Jazz Fall Festival with her Jazz Quartet and the popular TV program “Todor Kolev's Night Show” with National Music Academy Big Band followed shortly. Nova was also a finalist at two Voice Competitions for young talents: “Golden Orpheus” and “Star Moments”, where she performed with the Bulgarian National Radio Big Band.

In 1998, Nova moved on to tour Europe: Denmark, Norway, England, Cypress and in 2002 she moved to Singapore.

Making the vibrant island her second home for 10 years, she established herself as one of the sought after jazz vocalists, appearing at concerts, festivals, clubs and events not only in Singapore but also in Malaysia, India, China, South Korea.

Here, Nova also built her career as an educator, holding the position of an adjunct voice lecturer at the Contemporary Music Performance Department of LaSalle College of The Arts and taking the students thru their exams in the BA program teaching vocal technique, jazz and pop repertoire, stage performance craft and advanced music theory. She also taught private voice lessons for beginners to advanced (ages 7 to 18 ) at United World College, German European School, Saint Joseph Institution International, Singapore.

Maya Nova was a semi-finalist of the famed Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition at the 43rd Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

To date she has released two jazz vocal albums: "Open" 2010, produced and recorded in Singapore and release with a concert at the Late Nite Show series at Esplanade Recital Hall, Singapore and "Days" 2015, produced and recorded in NY and released with concerts at Jazz at Kitano (NY), Esplanade Theatre (Singapore), Studio 5 (Sofia, Bulgaria).


Eun-Hye Grace Sun (piano,theory,composition) is a composer, pianist, educator and arranger. Originally from Seoul, South Korea, she began her musical training at age six, focused on classical music, and church music.

At age 16, she moved to Russia and graduated pre-conservatory of St. Petersburg in piano major. Afterwards, she entered St. Petersburg State conservatory where she studied piano and composition under Sergey Slonimsky and Felix Tamulyevich. In 2010, she moved to New York and transferred to Aaron Copland School of Music where she has graduated in composition major with high honors. She studied composition with David Schober and Jazz Piano with Jeb Patton. Ms.Sun has been performing actively with different ensembles and choirs, which span a variety of genres including classical, jazz, gospel and pop.

As an educator, she has been teaching piano and music theory classes at levels ranging from early childhood development as well as advanced level for 10 years. According to her experiences from three different countries, she mixes and matches methods what work the best depending on the student. Ms.Sun’s teaching focuses on helping students enjoy the music by emphasizing musicality and maintain a balance between musical technique and music theory. She also encourages students to interpret stories or specific scenes through music.

Dr. Adem Merter Birson (guitar, piano, theory) is a prominent guitarist, pianist and  music theorist who graduated with a Ph.D. in Musicology from Cornell University.
He teaches piano, classical and jazz  guitar, and music theory in Queens and Long Island.
Along with teaching at Music, Dance and Art School of Douglaston D. Birson is a faculty member at Hofstra University.
Dr. Birson has over fifteen  years of  teaching experience and enjoys teaching to students of all ages, from young children to adults, beginner to advanced levels.

Timothy L. Chan (piano, theory) holds a B.M. and M.M. degree in piano performance as well as a minor in music business from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. His principal teachers include Paul Wyse, Francois Germain, Christine Yoon, and Katherine Sherman (piano pedagogy). Most of his performances consist of studio performances (solo piano and chamber music), senior recitals, and master classes with notable pianist such as Phillip Kawin and Dr. Scott Price. His fluid technique and delicate sound led Chan to place third in the Crane School’s annual concerto competition as well as receiving the Honors in Music Performance Award. Having started his musical studies at the age of 7, Chan is currently a music instructor in the hopes of influencing numerous people to enjoy classical music. His teaching career began during his academic studies educating toddlers to adults of various levels; mostly teaching music theory and individual piano lessons.

Aleksandra Denda (voice, piano, theory) is an internationally recognized NYC-based singer, songwriter and music educator.

Over the span of years, she’s been performing and recording throughout USA, Europe, Asia and South America, as a leader and as featured artist in the wide array of musical genres, spanning from Soul to World Music, Brazilian, R&B, and Jazz.

She worked with American Idol's Michael Lynche (aka Big Mike) as his background vocalist, recorded with the flamenco star Jose Merce on the Latin Grammy nominated album Mi Unica Llave,  performed at the Global celebration of International Jazz Day at Dupont Circle, in Washington DC, sharing the stage with jazz luminaries Dee Dee Bridgewater and Herbie Hancock.

Aleksandra spent a Summer in India in 2015, teaching as Artist in Residence at New Delhi's Global Music Institute, as well as performing with some of India's finest fusion musicians with project PATHWAYS that she formed with pianist Aman Mahajan.

She is a Director of the First International Contemporary Music Competition for Young Musicians in the Balkans - The Best Musical Mind.

In 2017 she joined a new international project - Jan Kus and The SlavoRican Assembly, an eclectic group that combines musical traditions from the Balkans and Slavic folk songs with the musical traditions of the Caribbean, synthesizing them seamlessly in a never-before-heard, attractive, heartfelt and powerful rhythmical mix.

Along with her performing career Ms Denda has over 15 years of teaching experience.

Her high professionalism, extensive classical background and dedication are inspiring numerous students of all ages and levels.

Sergej Avanesov (saxophone, clarinet, flute, piano, theory) started playing saxophone at very early age.

Having completed his undergraduate studies in Russia, Sergej continued his education in Netherlands' Prince Clause Conservatoire.

Here he studied with Don Braden, Miguel Martinez and John Clayton. Mr.Avanesov continued his academic and teaching career

after moving to NY and receiving his Degrees from  Queens College's Aaron Copland School of music.

Sergej is performing locally and around the world with different bands and solo, participating in many festivals such as Idstein jazz Festival in Germany, Amphion and Bimhuis Jazz Fests in Netherlands, touring in Russia, Korea, Italy.

Sergej's teaching motto is always pushing students towards their goals with making every lesson fun and enjoyable for all ages and levels. All students, from beginner 6 years olds to undergraduate advanced levels like his teaching style - always patient, engaging, passionate and fun.