For over two decades I’ve been performing, teaching, and living throughout the United States. In 2014 I returned to my family roots in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of central New York. Since then I have been devoted to music, community, and family.
I started teaching privately in 2001. Since then I have taught every situation you can imagine—Private lessons, independent music stores, community music schools, public schools, enrichment programs, and retreats. I was even a mobile music teacher delivering lessons in a converted minivan. In 2014 I opened Gonzo Music School in downtown Geneva, NY. That grew from a handful of private students, to adding more teachers, clinicians, and workshops. In 2017 we absorbed the students and teachers from AREA Records and Music when they announced their plans to close. The new school is now called Ostaga Music School.
PERFORMER + COMPOSER
I have been a full time performer since 2003. Since then I play 150+ solo performances a year in addition to my my work as an accompanist, session player, and side musician for other groups and events. I lead three music projects in my area which include WhorlWood (acoustic project), Stargroove (electric power trio), and Gonztet (jazz ensemble).
FINGER LAKES INDEPENDENT MUSIC ASSOCIATION
In 2014 I founded (technically revived) Finger Lakes Independent Music Association (FLIMA). Since then I have served as executive director. Our mission is to provide a platform for musicians to network, collaborate, and mentor each other. We work to create performance opportunities, professional development, and community engagement.
PORT 100 COWORK
I am a founding member of the city of Geneva’s innovative, Port 100 Cowork space. I was invited to be a member of the city’s planning team to develop and launch this unique project. I’m still a member and operate FLiMA in this space.
MY MUSIC BACKGROUND
I have been active in music for a majority of my four decades on this earth. My earliest memories as a child, recollect singing with my Mother…and rummaging through her record collection. Around age nine I started playing trumpet in band and singing in chorus. Throughout my school years I played and sang in a many ensembles and bands (pit orchestra, concert, jazz, marching, and pep band, vocal jazz ensemble, voice lesson chorus, high school choir, and musical theater). At NYSSMA solo competitions for voice and trumpet I earned high scores, and was selected for all-county and all-state ensembles.
In college I studied music composition under Dr. Carol Sams and jazz performance under Fred Radke (Harry James Orchestra). At the PNW Film Score Institute I studied composition with two-time Emmy awarded composer Hummie Mann. In addition I have spent years in private study with world-class musicians like Chuck Israels.