Teachers

Guitar

Rafal Sarnecki  

Originally from Warsaw, Poland, Rafał Sarnecki is a jazz guitarist and composer currently living in New York. In the thirteen years that Rafal spent living in the Big Apple he has become one of the most sought after jazz composers of his generation. As a leader of his own projects Rafal has toured China, South Korea, Malaysia, Chile, Israel, the East and West Coast of the US and many European countries. He has shared the stage with many top names from the US jazz scene including: Ben Wendel, Ingrid Jensen, Alex Sipiagin, Joel Frahm and Gary Thomas to list a few.

Rafal has recorded four CDs as a leader. Two of them: Song From a New Place (2008, ARMS Records) and Cat’s Dream (2014, BJURecords) were nominated for the Fryderyk award, the Polish equivalent of a Grammy. The Madman Rambles Again (2011, Fresh Sound) was selected as among the best jazz albums of 2011 by Hi – Fi magazine and All About Jazz (Dave Sumner’s Best Releases of 2011). Rafal’s newest album Climbing Trees was released on Outside in Music on July 27, 2018. Besides being active as a bandleader Rafal is also involved in a variety of New York based groups such as: Lucas Pino No-Net Nonet, Annie Chen Group and David Bertrand Quartet.

Living in NYC Rafal received his BFA degree from the prestigious Jazz & Contemporary Music Program at the New School and his MA in music performance from the graduate jazz program at the CUNY Queens College. While staying in the US in 2015 he received a Ph.D. in composition from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw.

www.rafalsarnecki.com

Drums

Nathan Blankett 

Israeli drummer, composer and arranger – Nathan Blankett, is fascinated by many different music genres. He has developed, over the years, a warm and organic sound that combines different elements from folkloric world music as well as contemporary electronic-oriented productions.

In 2011, Nathan was granted a scholarship to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music where he was privileged to study with great musicians such as Ian Froman, Yoron Israel, Ralph Peterson, Joe Carrier, Bill Elliott and more… graduating in 2014 summa cum laude in Contemporary Writing and Production.

Nathan resided in New York taking part in various projects and bands such as Mob Job, The Nick Horner Family, with whom he traveled to Quito, Peru to play at the UN Habitat conference, and tours regularly as a member of the Ehud Ettun Trio. As a trio they play frequently at notable festivals and venues around the world including Seoul Music Week, Jazz in Degou festival (S. Korea), Esse Jazz Club (Moscow), The Rex Hotel (Toronto) to name a few.

Since November 2019, Nathan has joined the faculty at the Internal Compass Institute in Mitzpe Ramon, Israel, where he resides, while continuing to play music with his colleagues around the world.

Bass

Ehud Ettun 

Israeli Bassist Ehud Ettun, has introduced himself to the international Jazz scene playing with George Garzone, Fred Hersch, Danilo Perez, Donny McCaslin, Anat Cohen, Eli Degibri and others. He is known for his unique approach to the upright bass as a melodic instrument, and not only as a bass instrument. His uniquely developed techniques, make him on demand bassist all around the world.

“Ettun can conjure the deep soulfulness of Charlie Haden.”  -The Boston Globe

​​​He has performed in venues ranging from Blue Note, New York, to Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and concerts and festivals in Europe, North America South America and Asia. In recent years, Ehud started developing his own trio sound having had toured the world performing in New York, Toronto, Boston, Poland, Germany, Serbia, South Korea and more. The trio is creating music that is influenced a lot by modern jazz and continues the tradition of musicians like Chick Corea, Carla Bley, Brad Mehldau, Ray Brown, Charlie Haden and others.

​In addition to the trio work, Ehud Ettun is collaborating with Japanese Pianist, Haruka Yabuno on the Yabuno Ettun Project, and with other musicians around the world. Ettun is also the artistic director of Internal Compass Music, and the founder of the Internal Compass Institute, a college level program for creative music in Mitzpe Ramon, Israel and leading various projects in Jerusalem and worldwide.

 

Vocal

Bogna Kicinska 

Jazz vocalist, composer and educator, originally from Poland. Before coming to the US she was already recognized in Poland as one of the most prolific singers on the modern jazz scene. At that time she won many competitions, e.g. International Jazz Competition for Singing Musicians in Zory, Old Jazz Meeting in Ilawa,, Nadzieje Warszawy in Warsaw.

In 2010 she moved to New York to study at the Aaron Copland School of Music CUNY. Living in NYC Bogna stays very active on the music scene performing with a variety of bands and projects. In 2012 she started her own quintet which features some of the finest musicians on the New York jazz scene. In 2014 she released her first album “The Maze” which has been nominated for the FRYDERYK 2015 award, the Polish equivalent of a Grammy.

“Jaw-dropping vocal facility […] thrilling approach to improvisation […] one of the finest scat singers I’ve heard in years” – Rick Anderson, cdhotlist.com.

“Bogna Kicinska […] is a real discovery, she is a vocalist with a wide range of voice, singing with great feeling and improvising using scat technique without any restraint” – Jazz Forum Magazine (Poland)

www.bognakicinska.com

Piano

Daniel Schwarzwald 

A pianist and a composer from Jerusalem, Israel based in Berlin these days. He contributes his unique voice and approach to composition composing to singers, jazz, tango and solo piano pieces. Daniel studied at the Academy in Jerusalem where he learned classical piano, jazz, chamber music, and composition. Schwarzwald studied under Omri Mor, Itai Rosenbaum, Slava Ganelin and Shoshana Cohen.

In 2012 Daniel moved to Berlin where he recorded his first solo piano album: “My Journey to Venus” released in Internal Compass label and his second album “First Meeting” co-led with Julia Bilat. In the last 6 years Daniel has played with many different projects in the multi-cultural Berlin scene, playing with people from all over the world and performing in important jazz clubs, festivals and venues around Germany and Europe.

As a sideman he has performed with Kevin Mahogany, Eli Degibri, Ziv Ravith and Ehud Ettun playing in Jazz Festivals around the world such as Dominik Republik Jazz Festival, Jazz in Seoul Jazz Festival and Minsk Philharmonie and many more. Daniel is about to release his next album as a composer that will include his original songs and compositions for hebrew poetry such as Zelda, Bialik, Rachel.

Daniel moved recently back to Israel joining the Internal Compass program in Mitzpe Ramon teaching and playing and various exciting new projects.

Winds

Pete Madsen – trombone


Pete Madsen, trombone received a bachelor’s of science degree in music education from the University of Missouri, a master of music degree from Northern Illinois University, and a doctor of musical arts degree in trombone performance from the University of Illinois.

Dr. Madsen’s duties at UNO include directing the jazz ensembles and jazz combos, coordinating the UNO Great Plains Jazz Festival, and the UNO Jazz Camp and teaching applied low brass, jazz survey, low brass ensemble, and improvisation.

He has performed extensively in jazz, pop, and classical venues, having played with Bill Watrous, Pete Christlieb, Aretha Franklin, Frank Valli, the Jim Widner Big Band, the Omaha Big Band, the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, the Omaha Jazz Orchestra, the Illinois Symphony, the Omaha Symphony, the Omaha Brass Ensemble, and the Missouri Symphony Society. Dr. Madsen is also in high demand as a guest artist/clinician and has performed and/or adjudicated throughout the United States and in Europe, Japan, and Brazil. As a member of the Continental Trombone Quartet, Dr. Madsen has performed and presented clinics at the Eastern Trombone Workshop, the Midwest Clinic, and the International Association for Jazz Education International Conference. The Continental Trombone Quartet has also performed in Spain, Mexico, Brazil, China, and Canada. Dr. Madsen is a Getzen Artist/Clinician.

 

Darren Pettit – saxophone

Darren Pettit, saxophone received his bachelor’s degree in saxophone performance from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1995. While attending UNO, he was awarded the Presser Scholarship and the Dean’s Award from the College of Fine Arts. He then received a full scholarship to the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music where he received a master’s degree in saxophone performance.

Mr. Pettit performs regularly with the Omaha Symphony, the Omaha Community Playhouse, and the Las Vegas Lab Band. Currently, Dr. Pettit is the head of theory/composition at UNO where he teaches music theory, ear training, jazz arranging, and Combo 1. Under his direction UNO Combo 1 has performed in Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Texas, Colorado, Latvia, China, Japan, and South Korea. He recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Jazz Studies/Composition from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.