Matt Bokulic

Musical Director, Keyboard

Matt studied piano and composition at Berklee College of Music, The University of Massachusetts and The University of South Florida. He has played and recorded with Celine Dion, John Laporta, Rick Derringer, Reeves Gabrels, and The Nelson Riddle Orchestra. He also wrote “Contemporary Harmony: A Practical Approach”, “The Interrelationship of Scale Patterns” and “Sixty Disciplines to Keyboard Freedom”.

Peter Mongaya

Peter Mongaya

Department Head, Guitar

Peter is one of Tampa Bay’s most in demand teachers and guitarists. A native of Denmark, he studied music at the Sankt Annae School and the Jazz Akademiet in Copenhagen. A graduate of The Players School 80 Week Music Program, Peter has also studied with Joe Pass, Mike Stern, Charlie Banacos and Fareed Haque.

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Joe Porter

Department Head, Bass

Joe Porter received his bachelor’s degree in Jazz performance and double bass from the University of South Florida. Joe toured with Maynard Ferguson’s band until he returned to Tampa in 2003. Joe is one of the area’s busiest bass players and brings academics and musical experience to his students.

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Mick Donner

Department Head, Luthier

Mick has been building stringed instruments for 27 years, having worked for Washburn, Gibson, Peavey, Parker, and Dean guitars. Association with these companies has afforded him the opportunity to befriend and build instruments for some of the greatest players in the world. He is currently working as an Asian Trade Consultant for the Music Industry as well as maintaining a private repair business.

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Elias Tona

Faculty, Bass

Elias is one of Tampa Bay’s most in-demand teachers and bassist. A native of Venezuela, he studied music at the School of Jazz of Caracas. He is currently with Al DiMeola and has also played with Oskar Cartaya, Willie Colon, Jose Luis Rodriguez “El Puma”, Franco de Vita, Juanes and more.

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Gumbi Ortiz

Department Head, Drums & Percussion

One of the most exciting Latin percussionists playing today!. Gumbi has been a member of guitarist’s Al DiMeola band for over 25 years. Gumbi’s classes combine stellar musical performance with street-wise playing and learning philosophy. His classes demonstrate rhythmic exercises that he uses and showcases thoughout his professional playing. Gumbi showcases through example .

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Pat Close 

Faculty Drums 

Pat has been teaching all phases of drumming for over 40 yrs. He has played for world renowed musicians like Brian Bromberg, Jimmy Haslip, Glenn Leonard ( of the Temptaitions ), Kenny Drew Jr. and many more. Originally from Ohio, Pat has dedicated his life to teach, play and records nationwide. He is working on his 1st Instructional DVD for drummers which combines all his years of knowledge about technique and hand speed exercises. He also is releasing a solo CD which will feature some world renowned musicians.

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Phil Magallanes

Faculty Piano 

Phil went on to tour and record with Arturo Sandoval, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Engelbert Humperdinck. Phil also composed for Spyro Gyra (“Planet J” on their album “In Modern Times”) and worked with with Debbie Gibson, Joel Rosenblatt, Rick Braun, Funk Filharmonik, Jeff Andrews, Guru, Lucky Peterson, Mario Cruz, Eric Alexander, Harvie Swartz, Dave Mann, Ernest Ranglin, Bruce Arnold, Teddy Kumpel, Butch Thomas, Richie Castellano, Gumbi Ortiz, Tony Janflone Jr, Paula Atherton, Gil Parris, Bobby Rondinelli, Terry Silverlight, Ed Calle, Mary Wilson and Lew Soloff, among many others.

Brian

Brian O’flaherty

Department Head , Horns 

Brian obtained a Bachelors Degree of Music (Composition)-(Oliver Ditson Award for Composition–1976)—Roosevelt Univ. (Chicago-1979) He also did graduate work at Northern Illinois Univ. (1979-80) and received the Down Beat magazine “Dee Bee” Award in 1980 in two categories–Best Jazz Arrangement and Best Instrumental Soloist in the college division. Brian played with Louis Bellson, Woody Herman, Don Sebesky, Mel Lewis, Bob Mintzer, Kim Richmond (L.A.) and also various television and radio jingles Tony Awards orchestra 2002-2006.

Austin Vickrey

Faculty , Horns 

Austin is a saxophonist and music educator in the Tampa Bay Area. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Saxophone Performance from the University of Utah and a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. He has performed and recorded with: the Nelson Riddle and Cab Calloway orchestras, Al Martino, Kenny Garrett, Conrad Herwig, Curtis Fuller, Joshua Redman, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Lou Rawls, The O’Jays, and Bootsy Collins. Austin performs throughout Florida and is one of the most in-demand saxophonists in the area.”

Rob Silverman

Drums

Rob Silverman is the president of Autumn Hill Records, the worldwide leader in instrumental music. He is a drummer, recording artist, author and clinician. He wrote the best selling book “Music Marketing in the New Music Economy” as well as five drum instructional books for Mel Bay Publishing.Rob has sold eight mIllion songs and has over two billion streams to his credit. He has recorded music that has appeared in HBO’s “The Leftovers,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and many other TV and film productions.He is the drummer for Bach to the Future and the Eric Marienthal Band, and has recorded with Jeff Lorber, Randy Brecker, Steve Smith (Journey), Dweezil Zappa, John Patitucci, Jimmy Haslip, Jay Oliver, Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson), Dave Weckl and many others. Rob’s seminar focuses on taking advantage of all of the career opportunities that music has to offer such as teaching, performing, recording and selling your music in the digital age. Rob has a Bachelor’s Degree in music and communication from The University of Missouri St. Louis.

 

 

Alfredo Olarte

Faculty Voice

 

Studied voice and music in the Prudencio Esaa Conservatory in Caracas. He also studied with the renowned  baritone Francisco Kraus. In New York City, he studied singing with baritone Franco Iglesias, repertoire with Glenn Morton and Douglas Martin, conductor. Opera debut was in Caracas singing the Duke of Mantua, Verdi’s Rigoletto with soprano Carmen Moreno. Alfredo Olarte continued his Opera studies at the  Juilliard School of Music in Boston with maestro Vincent La Selva of the New York Grand Opera. Voice with Joyce Mc Clean and piano with Julie Jordan. In 1993 received a Scholarship from the Venezuelan Ministry of Culture CONAC to study in Germany with the legendary baritone Josef Metternich, and with American Tenor James King at the prestigious “Muenchener Singschule Prinzregenten Theater”  in Munich.

Recitals and opera performances: Rodolfo, La Boheme, Sunstate Opera production with soprano Julia Coulmas, and conductor Charles Harvey, Largo, Florida, an Opera Gala,  Teatro Municipal, Caracas, House of the Angostura Congress with Famicanto Opera, Ciudad Bolivar, Vzla, Recitals in New York, Tampa. Saint Petersburg.  Broadway from Terrence McNally, in the role of tenor Tony Candolino, in Poughkeepsie NY with Daniel Shaublin.

Repertoire: Rigoletto,  l’ Elisir d’amore, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Traviata, Un Ballo in Maschera, La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, Tosca. Operas in study: Don Carlo, Norma, La Forza del Destino Aida and Turandot.
Mr Olarte has been a voice teacher since 1999 in New York city, Minneapolis, MN and Saint Petersburg, FL.  Language and voice teacher for Saint Paul Public Schools, MN, after school hours and Summer Program. Fluent in Spanish, Italian, English and German.

 

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Tony Cintron

Drums

 

Is an American drummer/percussionist, composer born in the Bronx, NY of Puerto Rican descent. He has been a force behind some of the most popular and influential artists in Pop, R&B, Blues-Rock, Jazz and Latin-fused music of the past three decades.

Currently drumming for Louie Vega & the Elements of Life Band, he is primarily known for his drum tracks on R&B dance hits of the 80’s and 90’s. Over the decades his diversity as a drummer has given him the opportunity to perform on many stages including the Modern Drummer Festival with percussion legends Marc Quinones (Allman Bros. Band) and Bobby Allende (Marc Anthony, Santana) representing the LP Percussion Ensemble. Also known for his diverse Blues/Rock style of playing, Tony was recommended to icon producer Tom Dowd for the Sony debut recording of Joe Bonamassa’s “A New Day Yesterday” later including a world tour.

Recording & Touring credits:

Roberta Flack, Patti Austin, Tom Browne, Gato Barbieri, Dizzy Gillespie, Ruben Blades, Dave Valentin, Marion Meadows, Bob Baldwin, Spyro Gyra, Warren Hill, La India, Louie Vega & Elements of Life, Faith Evans featuring P. Diddy, Ricky Martin, Idina Menzel, Vinny Valentino, Dean Bowman (Screaming Headless Torsos), Joe Bonamassa

Tony plays Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and ddrum products.

Butch Thomas

Faculty Member Horns Department

Conrad “Butch” Thomas may be new to the charts in the United States, but he’s no neophyte to the global music industry.

Born and raised in St Louis, Missouri, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music from Webster University. Soon after graduating, he relocated to New York City, where he established a relationship with the great instrumentalist and composer Jaco Pastorius (featured on Pastorius’ recordings,” Promised Land”, “Punk Jazz” and “NYC Jam” and featured live). Then the rest is history.

He continued on to perform with well- established artists including The Temptations, Thomas Dolby, Dave Valentin and Lenny Kravitz. His ambidextrous Florida jazz style placed him comfortably in the company of an eclectic roster including “The College Boyz”, “The Cult”, Tyrone Davis and the rock group “Living Colour.”

He’s received a number of video credits including Lenny Kravitz’ hit “It Aint Over “Til It’s Over”, Queen Latifah’s “How Do I Love Thee” and Sting’s “You Still Touch Me”.

It was during this time that the directors of the hit FOX Network detective series “New York Undercover” called him to appear with a number of featured guests with the shows’ “Natalie’s” segment including Al Jarreau, Al Green, Mavis Stables, Mary J. Blige, and many others. Through a referral, the call came from superstar singer/guitarist Sting, where he toured extensively . It was through his appearances with Sting that he was placed in demand by yet another hierarchy of stars e.g. James Taylor, Elton John, Diana Ross and a feature spot on Aretha Franklin’s hit song “A Rose Is Still A Rose” ( U.K. version) written and produced by singer/songwriter Lauryn Hill.