MAS Teachers' Bios
Sayed Sulaiman Azimi, songwriting, production, and sampling teacher, is first and foremost, a humble student of music. Sayed is a first-generation immigrant from Afghanistan. He was born and raised in Virginia and moved to the Bay Area in 2017. His mother is a journalist and poet. His father is an Afghan ghazal and pop music singer-songwriter and musician. He currently serves as the Crossroads Program Coordinator and Performing Arts House Manager at Marin Academy. He served as the yearlong Assistant Teacher to the MA music program in 2020-21. Sayed is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, visual artist, and music and yoga teacher with over 20 years of experience in music composition, music ensemble performance, and professional music recording. You can listen to Sayed’s music at www.duoexp.com and experience his live band perform every Saturday night in downtown Martinez, CA.
Jared Baird, drums instructor, received blue Smurfs drums when he was six years old and his future was set. Studying and performing both rock and jazz since high school, he is now the bandleader of a Bay Area soul-funk collective called “Smiling at Strangers,” an organ jazz trio called the “Bricoleurs,” and an enthusiastic member of the MA faculty jam band, “Faculty Lounge.” 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. Jared is the sophomore class dean and teaches in the English department.
Laura Magnani, piano instructor, is anative of Spoleto, Italy, and holds a double degree in Piano and Voice, earned with honors at the Conservatory “F. Morlacchi” in Perugia, a Masters in Piano Performance with Sergio Perticaroli at the “Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia” in Rome, and a DMA in Piano at the Conservatory of Perugia. She has attended numerous master classes (Rome, Mozarteum Salzburg, Brussels, Los Angeles) with eminent pianists such as S. Perticaroli, A. Delle Vigne, B. Petrushansky, M. Campanella, D. Pollack and many others. Since the age of 15, Ms. Magnani has been active as a performer, touring Italy, Europe, USA and Canada as a soloist and in various chamber music ensembles, constantly gaining the enthusiasm of the audience and the acclaim of the critics. Personally invited by Gian Carlo Menotti, she was featured in the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, and has been repeatedly invited to perform at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston (SC) as an Ambassador of her hometown. Magnani's versatile talent keeps her busy also in the fields of opera, musical theatre and vocal repertoire, as well as in music education, in which she has been involved for more than 25 years, teaching piano, chamber music and vocal training in Italy, Europe and USA. A skilled organizer, she has been the Artistic Director of the “Spoleto Piano Festival” for 15 years. Laura moved from Italy to San Francisco in 2013 with her husband, actor and singer Lars Primo Angeli, and their son, Filippo. Laura has been a piano coach for the Marin Academy Advanced Chamber Ensemble class.
Rebecca Mimiaga '05, private voice instructor, is a Marin Academy alum who has been studying voice since age 11. She started writing and performing her own music at age 16, while fronting various rock, folk and blues bands. She spent two years studying classical voice at Skidmore College before transferring to the New School For Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. There, she completed her BFA in Vocal Performance studies. For the past four years, Rebecca has been teaching private voice and piano lessons at various schools in New York, New Jersey and Brooklyn: Mark Murphy’s Music School in South Orange, NJ; The Music Center in Chatham, NJ; TeacherTone in Manhattan and Brooklyn Music Factory, where she additionally taught band classes. She's also given private lessons in her home, some of which were contracted by the teaching staff of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. When not teaching, Rebecca writes and performs with her two bands around the Bay Area and New York City. Her projects include "Rebecca Mimiaga," songs in a cinematic, through-composed form for voice and piano, and "LOUIZA," her indie-alt rock band.
Chris Peck, guitar and bass instructor, 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. Ancient Baby is his 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 is currently working on a novel while attaining his M.A. in the Humanities at Dominican University.
Karsten Windt, violin instructor, teaches and directs 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, introducing all of his programs as a narrator on stage and including other 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, started his chamber music series “Salon Classique” and moved to California in 2011, establishing himself as an independent violinist, chamber musician and teacher. Karsten holds several captain’s licences. In his free time, he pursues his passion for sailing.