MAS Teachers' Bios
Sayed Azimi, guitar instructor (fall session) and songwriting, grew up in a musical household—his father was a musician and songwriter. Sayed was interested in music from a very young age. His first instruments were the tabla, harmonium and keyboard, and then, in 5th grade he started playing cornet and trumpet. At age 12 he began playing the guitar and drums. Sayed attended a high school that had a performing arts and creative writing program, which connected him to a community of artists, as well as giving him opportunities to perform. While in high school, The Washington Post wrote a frontpage profile about Sayed and his father's music. Since then, he has continued to write, record, and perform his own music, including an album recorded with his band at Fantasy Studios. His playing style is influenced by Hendrix and his Afghan roots; musical influences range from Ghazal to Black American music. You can find Sayed performing in the Bay Area solo or with his band. In addition, he serves as Marin Academy's Assistant Director of Annual Fund and Stewardship, he has served as a teaching assistant for MA's music program, and he has been teaching in the MAS program since 2021.
Jared Baird, drums instructor, received blue Smurfs drums when he was six years old, and his future was clear. Studying and performing both rock and jazz since high school, he pivoted to songwriting and founded the band Titmouse. A longtime "Plan to Improvise" co-instructor, and known for tight grooves and expressive chops, Jared is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music Summer Performance Program and a winner of the individual performance award at Berklee’s high school jazz competition. He is currently a student of local jazz fusion legend, Scott Amendola. Areas of expertise: improvisation in ensemble, composing and arranging drum parts, developing strong time and groove, recording drums, refining drum sound, and preparing for performances. Jared has taught English at MA for 13 years.
Chris Peck, guitar and bass instructor (winter and spring sessions), is a musician and teacher from the San Francisco Bay Area. He holds a B.A. in Jazz and Composition from NYU’s Gallatin School. He began teaching guitar while still in high school, and has since taught group workshops in percussion, rock and jazz ensemble in a variety of settings around the Bay Area. When he’s not teaching, Chris makes his own albums and videos, and performs internationally and throughout the US. Last spring, he released “Ancient Baby,” the first album from the band of the same name. Chris is also a creative writer—presenting his fiction and poetry in readings around the Bay Area and holds an M.A. in the Humanities from Dominican University.
Karsten Windt, violin instructor, has been a teacher and director of the Advanced Chamber Music Ensemble program at Marin Academy. He received his Masters degree from the Universität der Künste in his hometown of Berlin and spent two years of postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School in London. First violinist with the Deutsche Symphony Berlin (DSO) and joining many other orchestras occasionally, like Montreal Symphony, Hamburg and Stuttgart Radio, Berlin, Oslo and Valencia Operas, and London Philharmonic, he maintained a busy concert, recording and international touring schedule over a period of twenty-five years and won a Grammy with his orchestra in 2011 under the baton of Kent Nagano. Karsten founded the Akanthus Ensemble Berlin and performed and recorded chamber music with his group. He introducing all of his programs as a narrator and included popular styles of music in special theme concerts and events. Karsten also developed and directed the String Academy of the DSO for many years, training young music students for orchestra parts, chamber music, chamber orchestra and auditions. Following repeated invitations to play and narrate for Forest Hill Musical Days in San Francisco, Karsten fell in love with the San Francisco Bay Area, founded the private chamber music series Salon Classique and moved to California in 2011. Since then he has established himself as an independent orchestra and chamber violinist and teacher. He still plays with the DSO in Berlin from time to time. Karsten holds several captain’s licenses. In his free time, he pursues his passion for sailing.
Christie Winn, voice and piano instructor has been teaching voice and piano in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last 25 years. Throughout her performing career, she has performed with many groups whose styles include: jazz, classical, rock, pop, hip hop, and musical theater. Christie has also recorded for Warner/Discovery, Sony, Disney, and Blue Coast records. On her latest CD, Aguas Profundas (recorded under her stage name, Christianna Valentina) she sings in Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and English. In addition to being a teacher, she loves to continue her own music studies with musicians around the world. She has a B.A in Jazz studies and a B.A. in ‘Inter-Arts’ from San Francisco State University.