Teacher Profiles

Meet the Timbalooloo Teachers!


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Oran Etkin, Founder of Timbalooloo. Oran began piano at the age of 5, violin at 8, saxophone at 9 and clarinet at 13. He began studying with renowned saxophonist George Garzone at age 14 and later with Yusef Lateef. He studied classical clarinet and composition as an undergraduate and received a Masters in Jazz Performance at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Dave Liebman and Dave Krakauer among others. Oran has been described as a “great clarinet player” and “an excellent improviser” by the New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff and a “composer of eminent individuality” by his mentor and teacher, the legendary Yusef Lateef. His music is featured on several CDs, including a Grammy Award Winning Anti-Bullying Compilation CD. Oran’s new album on Motema Music (Sept 25 2015 release) is “What’s New? Reimagining Benny Goodman” – a distinctively modern homage to the legendary “King of Swing” and his 1930s quartet with Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa and Teddy Wilson. The recording features his working band with Steve Nelson, Matt Wilson and Sullivan Fortner with guest vocalist Charenee Wade. In 2014 he released the album Gathering Light. He has toured both albums at venues throughout the world including Newport Jazz Fest, Montreal Jazz Fest, Paris Jazz Fest, London Jazz Fest, New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center and Birdland.

Oran continues the tradition of music education through a groundbreaking new method of teaching music called Timbalooloo. The popularity of Etkin’s educational method has spread through word of mouth and has been endorsed by Harvey Keitel, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Edie Falco and Ken Burns,- all of whom have enrolled their children in Oran Etkin’s Timbalooloo Music Classes. His award winning children’s CD Wake Up, Clariet! and the live performances for families literally bring the instruments to life as they become characters in the story of a sleepy clarinet named Clara Net and her mother, Big Mama Tuba! Harvey Keitel and Daphna Kastner Keitel, who enrolled their son in Etkin’s Timbalooloo Music Classes for three years, remarked that Etkin “makes music from all over the world accessible and fun for children to listen to and learn about. From the age of two, our son was talking about Herbie Hancock, Mozart, Samba, and African music – and he knew the difference.”


Dahlia Dumont was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. The multitude of cultures and music around her in New York City inspired her deeply from a very young age. At university, she studied Anthropology and French, which drove her to Senegal for four months to work within a community of West African artists outside Dakar. There, French become her second language. This experience, in turn, brought Dahlia to France for several years, including 3 months as a Davis Fellow and 9 months as a Fulbright Scholar. Dahlia’s main drive in France was to work once again within the African artist communities there, interning at artistic cultural associations like La Federation Nationale des Artistes Franco-Africains and Riv’Arts. Though Dahlia was always a writer and a poet, these years in France, influenced by the music she discovered within the diverse communities there, inspired her first musical compositions.   In 2012, Dahlia created her project, ‘The Blue Dahlia,’ formerly called ‘DecaDence.’ The band would go on to perform more and more shows throughout New York City. Today, the group performs several times a week in various settings, and it is an official band of the MTA program Music Under New York. She released her first album in July 2015 and toured Europe shortly after. The music, with lyrics in both French and English, mixes all of these musical and cultural influences from her family roots in Eastern Europe, to her childhood in New York and her years in Senegal and France.


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Jo Wallfisch was born in London to a family of accomplished musicians, Joanna Wallfisch earned a  Bachelor of Arts Degree at Central Saint Martins College, London and École Superior des Beaux Arts, ParisIn 2011 she went on to complete a Masters in Jazz Performance from London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, during which time she also released her debut CD Wild Swan, featuring New York City jazz talents to the order of Rob Garcia, Joe Martin and Sam Newsome. Hailed by the great pianist Fred Hersch as “a real discovery —a first-rate musician in every way,” British vocalist / composer Joanna Wallfisch has built an impressive profile since her move to New York from London in 2012. Critics have called the New York City-based singer-songwriter “mesmerizing” (Jazzwise Magazine), with a “crystalline delivery” (Downbeat Magazine ), “combining the intimate purview of a singer-songwriter with the technical liberties of a jazz improviser…crossing borders and flouting rules…[with her] clear eyed-poetry” (The Boston Globe) — “[she] stands out as someone special” (Hothouse Magazine). Jo has had the opportunity to tour with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has also appeared with the Lee Konitz Quartet. Other notable collaborators include pianist Dan Tepfer, The Sacconi Quartet, and Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto. She is also a regular collaborator within the dance, circus and theatre worlds. Alongside Joanna’s performance and compositional work she is a passionate educator, especially in the field of early music education for young children.

As of the Spring of 2017, Joanna is based in Los Angeles, acting as Timbalooloo’s lead teacher for all home and in school music enrichment classes.


Yonatan Gutfeld was born in Jerusalem and studied music composition at the Jerusalem Music Academy – Rimon School of Jazz and Rock. He also studied literature at Tel-Aviv University. He released his first album of Hebrew Songs in 2011, and moved to New York City in 2012. Yonatan currently works in NYC as a music educator, composer, recording artist and performer.


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Jacinta Clusellas is a guitarist, vocalist, composer, arranger and teacher from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her music brings together Argentinian Folklore and Jazz, in the context of songs influenced by landscapes, poems and literature from Latin America. She presents her compositions arranged for a 15-piece ensemble, which includes a rhythm section, strings and woodwinds, featuring a fusion of contemporary orchestral arrangements with experimentation and improvisation. In August 2015, after touring in Argentina and Chile, Jacinta Clusellas released her debut album “El Pájaro Azul”, produced in collaboration with Latin Grammy Nominee Marian Gomez Villota. Jacinta has been part of projects as a performer and arranger for Javier Limón, Alejandro Sanz and A.R. Rahman, and she is actively performing in NYC alongside great musicians and collaborators from around the world.


Anne Boccato is a pianist, composer and vocalist based in the NYC area. A graduate of SUNY Purchase College with a degree in Jazz piano performance, Anne has worked extensively with composition and arranging, combining musical elements of her native Brazil with the modern jazz she encountered in New York City’s thriving music scene. Anne has performed/appeared on recordings with John Patitucci, Antonio Sanchez, John Ellis, Charles Flores, Jean-Michel Pilc, Kevin Hays, Kris Allen and many others, at venues such as Yale University, the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase, the University of Hartford, as well as many places abroad. In addition to performing, Anne is very passionate about teaching. She helped develop the curriculum for the preschool music and arts enrichment program at the Rye Arts Center in Rye, NY, and currently teaches piano, theory and composition lessons.


Noa Fort is an Israeli born singer-songwriter, pianist, painter of sounds. Recently regarded as “one of New York’s more interesting and original artists” (New York City Daily), she draws inspiration from different musical worlds and integrates classical and jazz piano, tabla studies, jazz singing and rock/punk/ska keyboard playing into her original music. Upon graduating from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, she formed the “Noa Fort Quintet” with which she performed in many of Israel’s most prestigious venues. Also in Israel, she taught piano lessons at her private studio and music classes at various music conservatories. In 2013 Noa moved to New York to pursue her music as well as her master’s degree in music therapy at NYU. She has played at Why Not Jazz Room, Rockwood Music Hall, Pete’s Candy Store and Spectrum. She is now leading a trio that recently recorded her first album. She loves being part of the Timbalooloo team and can’t wait to spread the love of music.


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Caleb van Gelder is an exceptional drummer and percussionist focusing on jazz, world, experimental, and electronic music as a composer, collaborator, and educator.  Hailing from Wyoming and Montana, Caleb is currently based in Brooklyn, NY. He began his studies at age thirteen with Jazz great Ronnie Bedford, then at the University of Wyoming, and continued his music studies abroad, most notably in Brazil. He has developed a prolific career as a performer and educator, having performed with the likes of Carole King, Camila Meza, Ryan Keberle, and Azar Lawrence, while maintaining a fervent and diverse teaching schedule the past 9 years. His music education experience includes directing general music and concert band programs at Sussex School and Seeley Lake Elementary in Montana, working with special needs children with Center for Music by People with Disabilities program, in Missoula, MT, as well as private piano and percussion lessons with youth and adults alike. Caleb’s education work focuses on a vast range of topics, including general and world music studies, concert band, choir, West African drumming, Latin percussion, and electronic music production. Caleb has been a Timbalooloo and a Marquis Studios teaching artist since moving to Brooklyn in 2016.


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Born into a musical family in Israel, Kami Maltz has been singing and performing from an early age. By the age of 20, Kami has performed with the Israeli Philharmonic, played in Israel’s biggest music festivals and clubs and had a few international tours playing her original music. As a teacher Kami has taken part in KeyNote program – the Israel Philharmonic orchestra’s program for Music Education and Community Outreach. Kami was in charge of creating and leading music lesson, accompanied by different members of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. Upon moving to NY in 2013 Kami has been teaching music and hebrew at a variety of schools and programs. Most recently at congregation Beth Elohim and Timbalooloo. While performing regularly at clubs and festivals around New York, Kami keeps creating new music and is currently working on her second album.


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Andy Algire is a percussionist, composer and educator specializing in African and jazz music. He began his formal musical training in 1990 as a Percussion Performance Major at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, with an emphasis on drum set and jazz studies. From 1995 to 1997 Andy toured nationally with guitarist Billy McLaughlin. From 1997 to 2000 he was a member of Scott Hanna’s Rhythm Exchange World Music Ensemble. In the spring of 2000 Andy moved to New York City and began formal study with master balafonist Abou Sylla, from Guinea, West Africa. He is a member of several New York based groups including the Mandingo Ambassadors, Kakande, Feraba, and Benyoro. He has performed with a number of acclaimed recording artists from Africa, including Sekouba Bambino, Oumou Dioubate, and Hassan Hakmoun. Andy is a music instructor at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY where he leads two African music ensembles.