about us

our mission

The New Mexico Jazz Workshop is a professional organization committed to providing unlimited access to a higher quality of life through education and performance.  The New Mexico Jazz Workshop uses educational programs and performance to connect the community with the essence of jazz—creating a more empowered and vibrant community.

our history

The New Mexico Jazz Workshop (NMJW) was formed on February 12, 1976 when a group of jazz musicians came together to begin a jazz co-operative that was free to perform anywhere. By the end of the 1970’s NMJW began bringing international jazz artists to the KiMo Theatre. The organization moved from Santa Fe to Albuquerque in August, 1979. During the 1980’s, NMJW expanded its Guest Artist series to bring more national and international artists to New Mexico while the Madrid Concert Series continued to spotlight local musicians with 4 or 5 concerts per summer.

The 1990’s created more opportunity for local musicians with the Summer Music Festival which includes Salsa Under the Stars on Friday nights, Jazz Under the Stars on Saturday nights, and Blues Under the Stars throughout the summer. The first annual Women’s Voices, a festival of jazz, blues and gospel was held Saturday, June 12, 1993 at the Rio Grande Zoo.

Salsa, Jazz and Blues Under the Stars continue to draw record numbers at the Albuquerque Museum Amphitheatre. As the organization embarks on its 46th year, NMJW continues to reach out and connect with thousands of students each year with its Roots of Jazz program, Honor BandSouth Valley Band ProjectJazz Camp, Digital Technology Project, and Adult Education classes.

board members

S. Liakus Pilcher Head Shot copy
Sandra Liakus Pilcher, NMJW Board President, New Mexico Jazz Workshop Board member since 2009, serving on Fund Raising and Governance committees, Board Secretary 2013-2015, VP 2015-2016, and President 2016-2018 and 2020.   She has a life-long appreciation of Jazz and Blues music genres and is a proponent of free/ accessible music education for our youth.  Her music education started in 5th grade band and ended up as 1st chair clarinet in Sr. High along with chorus.  Professionally, she is a Mechanical Engineer (BS IIT) and Chemist (BS UNL) with a primary work history in Chicago area companies.  Since moving to Placitas in 2007, she has participated, served on executive boards, and is still active in local non-profits:  Jardineros de Placitas community club, NMSU Extension Master Gardeners, the Placitas Garden Tour, and since 2018 a founding member of the Canyon Blues and Jazz organization, which presents Sandia Chill concerts in Placitas.

Sharon Neal, NMJW Vice President, Because of my love of music, I have been a patron of the New Mexico Jazz Workshop concert series for many years. As a Board member I have an interest in community outreach. Specifically, exposing children to jazz from all walks of life. My community work includes being a volunteer for: PB&J, an organization that assists at-risk families with preschoolers; Sickle Cell Board Member; and participated in providing emergency assistance for the Jemez Pueblo during the pandemic. I have also served on various committees with the Albuquerque Community Foundation. Before being retired, I was a Regional Airport Director for United Airlines, responsible for managing the operation of 24 airports. Originally, I am from Chicago, Illinois and have lived in New Mexico for 30 years.


Donald Dentler, NMJW Board Treasurer, Don has held a number of mid-level to senior Accounting, Finance and Management positions in several states before exploring retirement in Albuquerque, NM. A lifelong fan of music and live music in particular; Don has been a volunteer helping other non-profit organizations, bands and musicians for over fifty years. Plus he has been involved with a New Mexico renewable energy non-profit for over 14 years; currently as CFO. Education includes: Master of Business Administration (Finance), Bachelor Business Administration (Management and Marketing).

John Trotter

John Trotter, NMJW Board Secretary, New Mexico Jazz Workshop Board member since 2020, currently serving as the Board Interim Secretary. He has an abiding love of jazz and is very glad to have the opportunity to support jazz performance and education in Albuquerque. He is a scientist, teacher, university administrator, and photographer. He came to Albuquerque in 1978 to take a faculty position in the UNM School of Medicine. During his academic career, he published more than 50 scientific papers, taught medical and graduate students, participated in faculty governance, and served in several administrative positions. Now retired from the University of New Mexico, he remains committed to Albuquerque as his permanent home. Some of his photographic work can be seen at www.johntrotterphotography.com


Evan Anderson, Born and raised in Juneau, Alaska, Evan graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2015 with an M.Sc. in Literature & Modernity. Since then, he has organized grassroots fundraising for Oregon's local PBS & NPR affiliate, directs the fight against hunger at the Ferndale Food Bank in Washington state, and has helped put on arts events such as the Pickathon Music Festival, Symbiosis' Oregon Eclipse, and Envision Festival in Costa Rica. He has seven years of experience as a music host on nonprofit radio programs, and has a deep love of jazz and all that came out of it.

Jack Bowers, Board Member

Jack Bowers, New Mexico Jazz Workshop Board member since 2016, serving on the Hiring Committee. Jack has been an active NMJW supporter, financially and more. He is a retired newspaper writer / editor who has been writing jazz reviews and opinion pieces for more than 25 years for Cadence magazine, Jazz News, The Jazz Report and other publications and is a senior contributor at the multiple-award-winning website All About Jazz, for whom he has been writing since 1998. He and his wife, Betty, moved to Albuquerque in 2003.

Keith web photo

Keith Robertson is the nephew of legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees The Isley Brothers, and a professionally trained drummer, percussionist, songwriter, and producer.  The industry first took notice of Keith when in 1988 he received percussion and drum programming credits for Teddy Pendergrass’ Gold Plaque award winning LP “Joy”. From there, he toured as a singer/percussionist with Grammy Award winners “The Dazz Band.” He went on to receive a multi-platinum award for his songwriting collaboration on N-Sync’s 11 million + bestselling CD “No Strings Attached” in 2001. As evidence of the respect that Keith has garnered as a masterful songwriter and producer, he has also written for some of the most popular network and cable TV shows such as America’s Next Top Model, VH1’s “Behind The Music” featuring Jennifer Lopez & Brandy, The Food Network’s “Chopped”, The MTV Movie Awards, Fox Sports, The Daily Show, General Hospital, additional network shows and movie soundtracks such as motion pictures “Deep Cover” and “The Distinguished Gentlemen.”In 2021, Keith released “Don’t Fight Just Dance”, that promotes nonviolent conflict resolution, and “Can’t Steal My Joy”. Both songs are from his soon to be released second artist project. Keith holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Counseling from Liberty University and will begin a Master’s program in Family and Marriage Counseling in 2022. He resides in New Mexico with his wife and children.

NMJW Board Vice President, Steven Seifert, MD

Steven Seifert, MD, (leave of absence), New Mexico Jazz Workshop Board member since 2016, serving on the Executive Committee and the Hiring Committee. He is a Professor at UNM School of Medicine and the medical director of the New Mexico Poison Center. He has served on a number of non-profit Boards, including the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault and the North American Society of Toxinology. He has been involved with the jazz scene in Albuquerque since his arrival in 2007. He is a supporter of jazz throughout the city, region, and country and also regularly performs locally.


The New Mexico Jazz Workshop Board of Directors meets the fourth Thursday of every month. Please contact the NMJW office for more information: 505-255-9798

Our Staff

Executive Director

Mia Maes – mia@nmjazz.org


Maud Beenhouwer – maud@nmjazz.org

Empowerment Through Music Coordinator

Kelsey Rangel – kelsey@nmjazz.org

Education Coordinator

Gina Scull - gina@nmjazz.org



Pete Amahl - Musician

Hannah Best - Former Board Member; Hannah Best & Associates

Joe Gabel - Past NMJW Board President, Serafian's Oriental Rugs

Joanie Griffin - Past NMJW Board President, Griffin & Associates

George Koinis - Past NMJW Board President

Glenn Kostur - Former Board Member; University of New Mexico, Director of Jazz Studies

Bobby Shew - Musician

Michael Anthony - Musician

Larry Schwartz - Past NMJW President, Wells Fargo Advisors