The TC Jazz Collective

The Music and Music Education program at Teachers College plays host to a variety of individuals who are not only passionate about the arts and music education but are also, themselves, excellent musicians. As an educational space for talented musicians who have common interests and goals, Teachers College is in many ways a perfect environment for collaboration. A prime example of musical collaboration between students in the Teachers College Music and Music Education program is the TC Jazz Collective.

The TC Jazz Collective was formed out of the desire of a group of students in the Music and Music Education program to put on a concert for their department and for Teachers College. This concert was given recently, on April 23rd, 2013 in Milbank Chapel at Teachers College. A member of the collective who helped organize, as well as play in the concert was jazz pianist, Christian Nourijanian, who graduated with his Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music in 2012, and completed his MA in Music Education from Teachers College, recently in Spring of 2013.

The TC Jazz Collective

Interviewing on the TC Jazz Collective Christian explains, “The TC Jazz Collective is a group of like-minded musicians who went to Teachers College.” Additionally many of the group’s members also attended the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) as part of a dual program offered with Teachers College (TC).

The group is comprised of six musicians, including Christian. The other members of the collective are: Natalie Galey (MSM M.M. ’11, TC Ed.M ’13), a jazz trained vocalist who also completes her program at TC this Spring semester; saxophonist Gian Tornatore, now Dr. Tornatore, who attended Berklee College of Music before enrolling at Teachers College in the Doctor of Education program through the Music Education Department; Dustin Kaufman (MSM M.M. ’11, TC Ed.M ’12) who is on the drums, Jeff Koch (MSM M.M. ’13, TC Ed.M ’14), on bass; and finally, guitarist Tim Basom, who is not affiliated with TC, but attended MSM with other members of the collective and is also a music educator. All members come from performance backgrounds, and all have, in NYC public schools and through private lessons been involved in music education.

Additionally, two members of the collective, Gian and Dustin, participated and did well in one of the most prestigious competitions for Jazz, called the Thelonius Monk Competition.

“Every year,” Christian tells, “is a different instrument – last year it was drums and Dustin was a semi-finalist for that, and in 2008 it was saxophone and Gian was a semifinalist for that.”  The competition is open for anyone under the age of 30 and every semifinalist is considered one of the best players on their instrument. “The piano competition will happen in the next couple years and I’m looking forward to entering.”

On top of being passionate music educators, members of the TC Jazz Collective are also wonderfully talented musicians, who love to play and perform. The TC Jazz Collective is an expression of these elements, as was the concert they put on.

Putting on the concert was the primary goal in forming the collective. Members of the group put together and performed their own arrangements of songs ranging from Stevie Wonder’s “All day sucker,” to “Smells like teen spirit,” by Nirvana, as well as more conventional jazz numbers by George Gershwin. Although most of the members had played with one another separately, and on different occasions, they had never played together as one group before this past concert. As their first public performance and concert, Christian noted that it was very natural and fun for them to play together. So much so, in fact, that the TC Jazz Collective already has another show in the works: They are slated to perform at the Somethin’ Jazz Club on Tuesday, June 11, from 7:00 to 8:45pm. The creative talent of the TC Jazz Collective is on the move, sharing their passion for music and education.