Meet Our Teaching Artists
Alexander Davis, principal teaching artist
Alexander Davis (he/him) is a New York City-based bassoonist who has been known for his ability to play “with poise and élan” (Cleveland Classical). He is a musician whose artistic intentions center on space-making, connection, and community-building within classical music. An advocate of creating equity in the arts, Alexander is the founder and Artistic Director of the Sugar Hill Salon, a chamber music series showcasing black and brown wind artistry based in the culturally robust community of Harlem, NY, and on the stolen traditional territory of the Lenape Nation (www.sugarhillsalon.com).
Alexander performed in the first all-black orchestra to ever hold a concert in the history of Carnegie Hall’s existence with the Gateway Festival Orchestra in April of 2022. He has played in orchestras such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Composer Orchestra, Albany Symphony, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, CityMusic Cleveland, Tertulia Chamber Music, Harlem Chamber Players, Sherman Chamber Ensemble, The North Country Chamber Players, and Metropolis. He has performed in summer festivals such as Tanglewood, Ensemble Evolution, Banff Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Maine Chamber Music Seminar, and the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival. In addition to performing, Alexander has been the administrative manager of the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival since 2017 where he works alongside Imani Winds to cultivate a new generation of aspiring chamber musicians. He has also been part of the “Armory Artists Corps Teaching Artists” in conjunction with the Park Avenue Armory since 2018, serving NYC public school students by helping them gain access to tools for self-exploration in today’s society using interdisciplinary art forms created by artists in residence.
Alexander is adjunct faculty at Montclair State University, the Maine Chamber Music Intensive, and Usdan Summer Arts. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Performance from SUNY Fredonia, a Masters in Performance from Stony Brook University, a Performers Certificate in Orchestral Performance from Manhattan School of Music, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate of Music at Stony Brook University. He has studied with bassoonists Laura Koepke, Frank Morelli, Bob Williams, and Michael Ma.
Anna Mayta grew up in Chile and is an Educator, dance improviser, choreographer, and dance artist.
She graduated from Empire State College in June 2001 with a BA in Dance in Education. In November 2008, she received a certificate to teach yoga from Svyasa Swami Vivekananda Yoga
University in Bangalore, India. In 2006, she was awarded a dissemination award from the Dutchess County Arts Council in Poughkeepsie, New York. In October 2020 she was accepted to Bethany Arts Center residency in Ossining, NY. Where she choreographed a solo dance inspired by the idea that men and women are equal. In 2022 she was awarded a grant from CREATE to choreograph a piece about the stories of the Latinx community in Hudson NY dealing with linguistic prejudice. Mayta teaches the Spanish language through movement in addition to fusion dance, which centers on the incorporation of African, Classical Indian, Flamenco, Chilean, Modern, and Latin dance styles. Anna Mayta has performed at Dixon Place and Spoke at the Hub in NYC, Bangalore India, Boston, Maine, and around the Hudson Valley, NY. She has choreographed for the D’amby Project, SolesBare Dance Collective, The National Ballet of Zimbabwe, Kuumba and drum dance company, and Operation Unite youth dancers. Currently, Mayta directs her dance company, Mayta Fusion Dance which is in residency at Berkshire Pulse in Great Barrington, MA, and its home is Hudson, NY. She teaches, choreographs, and performs throughout the Hudson Valley NY, Berkshire area.
View her website. View a Video.
Yael (“KAT”) Acher-Modiano
“[A] mind-bending proponent of modern soundscapes. Her approach is flawless, sensitive, and puts the listener in the middle of unique and often visual experiences…”- Cadence Magazine, USA
The award-winning, diversified flutist, composer, and educator, Acher-Modiano from Tel Aviv and Copenhagen, is based in New York City. She received her BA degree in Classical Flute Performing Arts from the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem, where she studied also Jazz and Electronic Music Composition. She lived in Copenhagen and relocated to NYC in 2005 as a Fulbright scholar, studying Composition at NYU, and received an MA in Music for Social Change, from Empire State College (NY).
With performance and commission credits that span Europe, Israel, Japan, the USA, and Canada, Modiano’s body of work includes Progressive Urban Electro-acoustic Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, Tango, Free Improvisation, Electronic-Acoustic live soundtracks for silent films, and Music for Choreography. She performs also therapeutic concerts at Hospices, Shelters, Juvenile Detention Centers, and charity concerts for social causes.
Modiano teaches Flute, Masterclasses, and Interactive Music Appreciation, and more. She reaches people of all ages, locally and internationally in diverse communities and schools.
”KAT” Modiano Electro-acoustic Jazz ensembles performed in New York City and Europe, at legendary venues such as Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, BAMcafé, (NYC), NJPAC, Newark Museum (NJ), Copenhagen Jazz Festival (Denmark), Malmo Jazz Festival (Sweden), etc.
She performed/recorded also with world-known jazz musicians: Wycliffe Gordon (Wynton Marsalis), Bernard Purdie (Modern Drummer Hall of Fame), David Haney (Cadence Magazine), Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood), and more.
Modiano performed her Electro-acoustic Live Soundtrack to Silent Films at Lincoln Center Library for Performing Arts, United Palace for Cultural Arts, The High Line, Jewish Heritage Museum, Fresh Fruit Festival, and Spectacle Theater (New York City). Outfilm, (Hartford, CT), CIMM fest- International Movies & Music Festival (Chicago). In Europe: Queersicht. (Bern, Switzerland); Danish Film Institute, Cinematek, Grand Theater (Copenhagen), Øst for Paradis (Århus); Vineta Pavilion (Venice Biennale); Gallerie Kuchling (Berlin), Tel Aviv Cinematheque (Tel Aviv), among other notable cultural organizations. For more about Yael’s body of work, visit: modianomusic.net
Beth Tolmach is an artist and educator from Kent, NY. She received her Bachelor’s in Art History at Columbia University. For several years Beth worked as an arts and culture writer for various New York publications, before deciding to pursue her Master’s in Art Education at Artez University in the Netherlands. As part of her master’s thesis, she completed a three-month residency at the Metropolitan Arts Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she explored how art can help open communication between historically divided communities. She also spent three years living in the mountains of Peru, where she worked at an ecological non-profit and taught art to both adults and children.
Beth’s artistic practice mainly consists of collage and mixed media works, as well as design for her jewelry line, HiiPriestess. Most recently she has started learning audio production and makes electronic pop music with synths and vocals. View Beth’s website: cargocollective.com/bethtolmach
Dianne Robinson is a Jamaican-born dancer and educator who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in dance/Youth Counseling and an associate degree in Education. The proud mother of six has been dancing professionally for 30+ years. She specializes in Ballet, Modern, and African dance and received her formal education from Erasmus Hall High School, Alvin Ailey Dance School, Medgar Evers College, Hunter College, and John Jay College where she graduated with honors through the CUNY Baccalaureate Program.
Her love for dance has allowed her to travel, teach, perform, and choreograph at various colleges, schools, and community cultural organizations throughout the country and abroad. One of the highlights of her career was her frequent travels to Reykjavik, Iceland where she taught and choreographed at Kramhusid Dance Company as well as Preschools, Elementary and High Schools throughout the Country.
Ms. Robinson also served as a counselor, a mentor, and a motivator for children and families in the field of social services for over 10 years in Foster Care and Adoption agencies, and Head Start programs.
Presently, Dianne works as a Teaching Artist at Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet (JGCO), Partnership with Children (PWC), and Dance Theater of Harlem DTB Program and also performs with various New York-based organizations. Dianne believes that dance is a creative expression and a vehicle to unite people from diverse cultures and nationalities.
Dianne joined Your Queens Inc. in February 2022 and portrays the role of Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba.
Sari Nordman, a Finnish interdisciplinary artist and educator, creates public art projects, video works, and dance performances. Many of her projects have been informed by climate change and respond to environmental social justice issues. She has exhibited her works with The Immigrant Artist Biennial, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, and King Manor Museum. Her work has been supported by the New American Fellowship, Brooklyn Arts Council Creative Equations Fund, as well as Arts Alive, Finlandia Foundation, and New York State Council on the Arts grants. She has discussed her art, and the environmentalism and social engagement in her process in many publications and artist talks such as Art Spiel, Hunters Point Library Environmental Education Center, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Hirshhorn Museum.
She has taught dance to various ages, abilities, and backgrounds of students and has worked as a teaching artist in New York City public schools for over ten years. She holds an M.F.A. from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts. sarinordman.com
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Hayden Nork is a multi-instrumentalist, performance artist, visual artist, soundscape composer, and art historian.
Working primarily with music and improvisational, “chance composition”, he has two active musical projects. His band and musical collective, Sallow Friend, released their debut album, Come on Happy Goose in April of 2022.
He has worked with Robert Schneider (Neutral Milk Hotel, Apples in Stereo, Cornelius), NYC-based performance artist and modern dancer Alix Pearlstein, and most recently, Los Angeles-based multimedia artist Patty Chang.
Hayden is a graduate of Purchase College, SUNY, holding a Bachelors degree in Art History.
Learn About Our Extended Team
Robert “BJ” Garcia
Educational Digital Designer
Mr. Garcia is currently a 7th & 8th Technology teacher at Crownover Middle School in Corinth, Texas. When he is not in the classroom you can find Coach Garcia on an athletic field where he coaches football, basketball, track and cross country. Mr. Garcia has previously taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math in Denton Independent School District for 13 years before making a transition into teaching technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree from Texas Tech University and enjoys incorporating his background in design and construction into his lessons.
In 2015, he was named Crownover’s Teacher of the year by his peers. During the summers, he teaches Summer STEM camps at the University of Texas in Arlington. The camps are hosted by UTA’s Science and Engineering departments and allow Mr. Garcia an opportunity to work with local middle and high school students. He has participated in collaborations with the Samsung “Solve for Tomorrow” program, was selected as a National PBS Digital Media All-Star Teacher, was chosen to participate in the Thomas Jefferson Monticello Teacher Institutes, and has secured several grants to enhance learning for his students.
“Becoming an educator is truly the best job I have ever had,” Garcia said. “I am able to coach students in the sports that I love and shape minds in the classroom. I enjoy finding meaningful ways for students to make connections between math and the real world. I have a passion to create STEM-based lessons that challenge students’ creative side. The goal for my classroom is to make learning irresistible to my students!”
David Gonzalez, Teaching Artist Mentor
David Gonzalez is a professional storyteller, poet, playwright, musician and public speaker.
He is a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department, and is the proud recipient of the International Performing Arts for Youth “Lifetime Achievement Award for Sustained Excellence.”
Mr. Gonzalez was named a Fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for “Unique Theatrical Experience” for The Frog Bride. David has created numerous productions, including the critically acclaimed ¡Sofrito! with The Latin Legends Band, and MytholoJazz, both of which enjoyed sold-out runs at New Victory Theater. Sleeping Beauty was co-commissioned by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Brooklyn College, and The McCallum Theater.
David was a featured performer at the National Storytelling Festival, and appeared for three seasons at the Royal National Theatre in London. The Man of the House was commissioned by, and premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2013. Mr. Gonzalez’ work Double Crossed: The Saga of the St. Louis toured nationally, including a run at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. As If the Past Were Listening, was in Lincoln Center Institute’s repertory for three seasons. Finding North, commissioned by the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park ran at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. He co-wrote Mariel, an Afro-Cuban musical won the Macy’s “New Play Prize for Young Audiences.”
He recently wrote, performed and produced three episodes of GONZO’S MULTIVERSE, a multimedia video variety show for kids, for The National Theater.
David is also the librettist for Rise for Freedom!, produced at the Cincinnati Opera, and wrote and produced Jimi and Mr. B, a musical commissioned by the Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center. His poems for The Carnival of the Animals with classical piano virtuoso Frederic Chui, premiered in 2008.
David was the host of New York Kids on WNYC for eight seasons, earned his doctorate from New York University’s School of Education, and worked as a music therapist with handicapped children for many years.
David’s poetry project, City of Dreams, has performed at colleges, festivals, and theaters throughout the country. He is also the Director of Crisalida Communications which consults to arts and civic organizations helping them create effective community outreach programs.
Jeannette Rodríguez Píneda, Curriculum Writer & Educational Designer
Jeannette Rodríguez Píneda is a Dominican-American mixed media artist living and working between Santo Domingo and NYC.
Using antiquarian and analog photographic processes to explore the borders of home, identity, and memory. She teaches radical printed matter and time-based media for many youth serving arts programs including, Groundswell, Queens Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, Whitney Museum of American Arts and Recess. Also, founded MOVIMIENTO, a free bilingual hiking initiative that fosters inclusion and equity in the outdoors.
Annie Harold, Curriculum Writer & Educational Designer
Annie Harold is a program manager and educator with a B.A. in Environmental Justice from Macalester College. She has been developing, leading and expanding educational programming for schools and nonprofits for ten years.
Annie currently works for Envoys as a Partnerships Manager, designing custom travel programs for schools in the NYC area.
Prior to this, she spent two years creating and leading educational programs at both The Battery Urban Farm and Gitano Garden, and three years directing programs at the Indonesian agricultural foundation Sawah Bali. Her professional experience also includes sustainability consulting, small business coaching, website development, photography, video editing and freelance writing.
Caramoor Kids Curriculum
The Caramoor Kids Curriculum is available in both English and Spanish, and is suggested for students in grades 5 – 8. Download the digital version below. Resources corresponding to each section / lesson may be found here:
Lucie Bigelow Rosen
- Mendi + Keith Obadike
- Walter Kitundu
- Taylor Deupree
- Ranjit Bhatnagar
- Annea Lockwood & Bob Bielecki
- The Art of Listening to the Sounds of Nature
- What Can Listening to Nature Teach Us?
- Listening to Nature: The Emerging Field of Bioacoustics
- Listening to Nature Gives You a Real Rocky Mountain High
- Listening to Nature: How sound can help us understand environmental change
- The Music of Nature and Ways of Listening
- Organizations for resources / follow-up field trips
- Caramoor’s “Music and Meditation in the Garden” Series (summertime concerts)
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden (occasionally offer walking meditation public events)
- Jason Moran
- Matana Roberts
- Lucie Bigelow Rosen
- Ranjit Bhatnagar
Ethnography through Sound
Leaf by Leaf
- Teaching Resources
- Organizations for resources / follow-up field trips
Dyed in the Wool
- Teaching Resources
- Organizations for resources / follow-up field trips
For information about the Caramoor Kids school curriculum program or bringing an organization or school group to Caramoor, please contact our Director of School Programs and Community Engagement, Adina Williams, at email@example.com or 914.232.8421.