Nasar Abadey – Drums and Percussion


Nasar Abadey

Drummer and Composer Nasar Abadey is the founder, leader and driving force of SUPERNOVA®. They perform music from the threshold of Jazz to beyond space and time, while having an artistic license to express their compositions through traditional African rhythms, bebop, fusion, Afro-Cuban, Afro Brazilian, and free form. The band’s musical inspirations include John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, and Duke Ellington among others.  Based in Washington, DC Abadey has also built a solid reputation as a sideman with several groups, and has recorded and/or performed with many national artists throughout his career. Abadey began playing drums at age five. Drawing influences from powerhouse drummers such as Tony Williams, Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, and his cousin Frankie Dunlop, Nasar Abadey creates jazz music steeped in modal, free form, fusion, and avant-garde styles.

Currently Mr. Abadey is a Professor of Jazz Percussion in the Jazz Studies Department at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD

The Washington Renaissance Orchestra premiered a concert at the historic Lincoln Theatre in June, 2014 in a tribute to African American Music Month, under the artistic direction and founder Nasar Abadey; and his 11 piece SUPERNOVA Chamber Orchestra was invited by Jason Moran to the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage to perform for International Jazz Appreciation Day, in April 2014. In 2013 Mr. Abadey was honored by the Strathmore Mansion Artist in Resident (AIR) to mentor vocalist, Integrity Reeves, and drummer, Isabelle DeLeon.  Previously selected honors and awards are the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Creative Communities Initiative Grant Award; the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for Merit and Artistic Performance; the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Artist Award, for performance, concerts and lectures in Providence, Rhode Island, Boston, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC; the Creative Artist Performance Service (CAPS) Award, for Composition, New York State; and the Prince Georges Arts Council Grant Award for Jazz Workshops in the Maryland Public School sector; GATEWAY CDC for a percussion ensemble;  and the Honda Odyssey Project. He has served as Music Panelist for DC Commission on the Arts; National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, respectively. He is currently a Board Member of the Washington DC Area Lawyers for the Arts, (WALA); selected by Washington City Paper, Art Desk ‘ DC’s Best Drummer in Jazz 2011; and in Capital Bop-Complete DC Jazz Guide was selected as one of five (5) Top CD’s in 2010.

SUPERNOVA’s® debut CD, Mirage was released on the Amosaya Records  and his sophomore CD Diamond In The Rough was released on DPC Records in 2011. Most recently SUPERNOVA® was selected by the US State Department and the Lincoln Center as Ambassadors to tour with the American Music Abroad Rhythm Road. This one month tour took them to five (5) countries in East Africa; Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Mozambique. Abadey has performed with many of the greats in the jazz world. His credits include Amiri Baraka, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Rouse, Gary Bartz, David Sanchez, Cyrus Chestnut, Gregory Porter, Sonny Fortune, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, Kenny Kirkland, Gary Thomas, Stanley Turrentine, Sun Ra, Frank Morgan, Bobby Hutcherson, Pharaoh Sanders, Malachi Thompson and many others. Additionally, he has appeared in various festivals including, San Remo (Italy), Montreal (Canada), Cap City (DC), Virgin Island (Caribbean), JVC (NYC), Morocco (Africa), Chicago Jazz Festival, Iowa City Jazz Festival, D.C. Loft Jazz Festival, Atlanta Jazz Festival, Mellon Bank Jazz Festival, (Philadelphia), The East Coast Jazz Festival, the Free World Jazz Festival (DC), International Children’s Festival (Seattle), Guatemala City Jazz Festival, Duke Ellington Festival, DC Jazz Festival, Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival among others.

Charmaine Michelle

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During her 20s, trumpeter Charmaine Michelle took a break from the music world to build her family. In 2008, she rededicated herself to pursuing a music career and began playing at local venues in the Baltimore/DC corridor. With help of friends and mentors, in 2010 she participated in Peabody Conservatory’s Jazz Studies Program headed by legendary saxophonist Gary Thomas. During her matriculation at Peabody, Ms. Michelle was the recipient of the Noble Levi Jolley Sr. Jazz Scholarship and studied under trumpeter-Joe Burgstaller (formerly of the Canadian Brass).
Charmaine Michelle has performed with the Peabody Brass Ensemble, Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Combo, Alex Norris, Steve Wilson, classical pianist Kyungwha Chu, Musicians of Mercy, St. Thomas Episcopal Brass Quintet, Sudanese Rocker mOsno, folk artist and activist Paulo Greogry, spoken word artist Aquil Mizan, Ama Chandra, Marc Evans, Adrian Blu, Dunbar Alumni Big Band, The Dale Acorn Big Band, KREation, Artists against War, and The Ernie Williams Project.

Miki Yamanaka



Miki Yamanaka is a pianist, organist, and composer from Japan. She started playing the piano at the age of 5, and then became interested in Jazz when she started playing in the junior high school big band. She moved to NY to study English and music in 2012. She has studied piano and music theory with Jason Lindner, Jeb Patton, David Berkman. She has performed at Smalls Jazz Club, Mezzrow, Fat Cat, Showman’s, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, and other venues. She is the current pianist for the Philip Harper Quintet.

Cyndy Elliott


A life-long resident of the Washington DC area, Cyndy Elliott currently works as a freelance bassist, performing many different styles of music in big bands, small combos, orchestras, and chamber ensembles, and is the co-leader of Swingtopia, a jazz octet.  She has performed at many of the major venues in DC, including the Atlas Theatre, Bethesda Blues and Jazz, Blues Alley, Bohemian Caverns, Twins Jazz, and the Terrace Theatre, Millennium Stage, and Concert Hall at the Kennedy Center.

Cyndy has had the honor of working with several renowned musicians from the big band era, including Tex Beneke, Ray Anthony, and Maxine Andrews, and two of the original Mills Brothers, in addition to doing short tours with current versions of the Artie Shaw, Harry James, Jimmy Dorsey, Sammy Kaye, and Les Brown orchestras.  Locally she has enjoyed working off and on for many years with the Tom Cunningham Orchestra and the Hank Levy Legacy Band, among many others.

Cyndy spent a number of years “on the road” touring with the big band show “In the Mood” and the Broadway musical “Meet Me in Saint Louis.”  She did residencies in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts playing bass and piano with the all-women “Swingtime Canteen” show, in addition to being a frequent sub during its off-Broadway run.  Cruise ship work took her to the Caribbean, Central America, and all over Europe.  She toured Australia and New Zealand with a jazz trombone ensemble and performed in nine cities throughout China with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony.  She is looking forward to subbing with the national tour of “Sister Act” for a few weeks next year.

Cyndy earned a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Maryland in 2009.  As a graduate assistant she directed a number of ensembles and taught beginning jazz theory and improvisation.

Prior to turning her attention to bass playing, Cyndy received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Converse College and had a 25 year career as a piano teacher and adjudicator with many award-winning students at the state and local levels and earned permanent certification in piano teaching from MTNA.  In addition, she taught theory, ear training, piano, and voice in pre-college programs at Converse College, American University, and Montgomery College.

Angel Bethea


Angeliqua (Angel) Bethea is currently a freshman majoring in Music with a Jazz Studies concentration at George Mason University in Fairfax, V.A. She attended the prestigious Ellington School for the Arts during high school during which she worked closely with the great Davey Yarborough. She also attended the Washington Arts Institute for Jazz each summer for the last 5 years. During her time at Ellington, she had the opportunity to play with Earth Wind and Fire, Patti Labelle, and Sting. She has played at Duke Ellington, the Kennedy Center, and the Strathmore Mansion. While at Ellington, she was able to participate in master classes with Matt Wilson, Terrell Stafford, and Winard Harper’s group. She currently plays with the George Mason Jazz Ensemble, GMU jazz combos, the AVU gospel group, and a local band called D6 that is comprised of former Ellington students. She is also currently playing with the Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes Septet, and recently released an album with them called “It Don’t Mean a Thing…” She currently resides with her family in Washington, DC. 

Halley Shoenberg

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Mastering sound and mood, Halley Shoenberg is an accomplished saxophone and clarinet player whose style is collected from several sources of jazz, theatre and popular music. From swinging originals to noted modern-era favorites, her intelligently inspired brand of music shines with unique clarity.

A multi-instrumentalist who plays clarinet, saxophone and flute, Shoenberg has produced three CD releases, Love Goes ‘Round, Someday, and Private Concert which include several of her original compositions. A native of Silver Spring, Maryland, Halley earned her Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from Indiana University and Master’s in Arts Administration from Florida State University.

As leader of her own “Halley Shoenberg Jazz Quartet” and other ensembles, most recently adding the “Halley’s Hot Gumbo Swingtet,” her concert and festival presentations have won the hearts of jazz enthusiasts who demand master musicianship.

Past performances include the “Halley Shoenberg Octet” in concert at Strathmore Mansion and her bands at DC area festivals such as the Bethesda, MD Fine Arts Festival, Alexandria, VA Jazz Festival and the Silver Spring Swings concert series. As the clarinet soloist in DC’s premiere swing band, Halley is regularly featured on classic swing masterpieces and evening-long Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman tributes. She has played at major venues including the Kennedy Center, National Parks, at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival and Blues Alley. Her Trio was featured in Worchester, MA at a live performance and broadcast for WICN Radio.

Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Buddy DeFranco, and Ken Peplowski influence her clarinet playing. Her saxophone style pays respect to Art Pepper, Lee Konitz, Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Stan Getz. Halley is also inspired by the legendary music of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and the Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton big bands.

Having intensely studied classical and jazz, she currently teaches private lessons to young clarinet and saxophone students in addition to performing. At Indiana University’s School of Music Halley studied with David Baker, Dominic Spera, James Campbell, Tom Walsh, Lynn Baker, J.B. Dyas and many more outstanding musician-teachers of performance, history, and composition. After graduation, Shoenberg served as intern in the Smithsonian’s jazz history department. During her arts administration graduate program at Florida State University, she performed and toured with the school’s award-winning jazz ensemble and interned at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Based in Washington DC, her performances on saxophone in Rhapsody in Blue and the West Side Story Suite have been heard on tour in Germany with the Washington Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed traditional “Dixieland” jazz with the Potomac River Jazz Club’s Federal Focus Jazz Band, which participated in Chilliwack Jazz Festival in British Columbia and at the French Quarter Jazz Festival in New Orleans. Shoenberg has performed in New York, at the Boswell Sisters Centennial in New Orleans and at the Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center.

In addition to the Halley Shoenberg Jazz Octet, Quartet and Trio, Halley performs and has recorded with the Tom Cunningham (swing) Orchestra, the James Bazen (modern-style) Big Band, the La Salle (1920’s and 30’s jazz) Dance Orchestra, the Bitter Dose (gypsy jazz) Combo, Craig Gildner and Blue Sky 5, and Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes.