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

A headshot of Joanie Griffin.

Joanie Griffin, NMJW Board President, is the founder and CEO of Sunny505, one of New Mexico's largest advertising and communications firms. She is passionate about economic development and helping New Mexico thrive. In addition to the New Mexico Jazz Workshop she serves on the board of directors of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and the New Mexico Holocaust Museum and Gellert Center for Intolerance. She also serves in an advisory capacity for the Albuquerque Regional Economic Alliance and the Albuquerque Film & Music Experience. Joanie received a Bachelor's of Science in Journalism from the University of Colorado.

Sandra Liakus Pilcher, NMJW Board President
Sandra Liakus Pilcher, Immediate Past 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.
Keith Robertson, NMJW Board Vice President

Keith Robertson, NMJW BOARD Vice President 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.

Donald Dentler, NMJW Board Treasurer

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, NMJW Board Secretary

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, NMJW board member

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.

Shelly Cherrin, Bio and photo coming

Rhonda Cordova, Bio and photo coming

Clarence Hughes, Bio and photo coming

Michael Keith , owner/president of Musicality LLC – Music Store and Lesson Studios. Bio and photo coming.

Miriam Ray, Bio and photo coming

NMJW Board Vice President, Steven Seifert, MD

Steven Seifert, MD, In Memory of Steven Seifert, who served on the NMJW  Board 2015-2022. New Mexico Jazz Workshop Board member since 2015, 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 – [email protected]

Red or Green? Must I choose?!
Go-to comfort food? Toast and jam
Hometown? Las Vegas, NM
Favorite karaoke? Never done karaoke
A favorite musician? Ray Lamontagne
Dream job as a kid? Chef
If you could have lunch with anyone (living or not), who would it be? Warren buffet/alive; my maternal grandparents/not living
What’s a skill you’d like to learn? To sing!
What’s one of your non-music talents? Award-winning Chef and Cateress for over 30 years

Born to a ranching family in the mountains of northern New Mexico, Mia was raised in El Porvenier and later in Santa Fe where the beginnings of her first career as a culinarian took shape. After graduation from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Mia established a catering company in the Denver/Boulder area. A return to New Mexico brought expansion to her career as an award-winning chef with Until We Eat Again Catering.

Living back in NM allowed Mia to foster her heart’s true passion of service to others and began volunteering with more than 10 area non-profit organizations. Soon thereafter, Mia was elected as president of the Board of directors at the National Association of Women Business Owners, Roadrunner Food Bank, The Barrett House Foundation, and New Futures School. Her pivot from entrepreneurship to leadership in non-profits occurred during the Pandemic after a period of gratifying, self-reflection. A chance to interview with the New Mexico Jazz Workshop happened in the fall of 2021 and now Mia is leading a dynamic staff dedicated to enhancing the lives of our Albuquerque community through a mission of live performance, through education and service to underserved youth.

This quote perfectly describes the privilege Mia feels at the helm of the Workshop: “Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.”

Mia headshot BW


Maud Beenhouwer – [email protected]

Bio coming soon!

Empowerment Through Music Coordinator

Artha Meadors– [email protected]

Bio coming soon!

Education Coordinator

Mara Starr-Newman - [email protected]

Red or Green? Christmas, leaning green
Go-to comfort food? Pho, boba
Hometown? Laramie, WY
Favorite karaoke? Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden) / Cry Me a River (Julie London) / Somebody to Love (Jefferson Airplane)
A favorite musician? Opeth
Dream job as a kid? Mermaid lawyer slash marine biologist
If you could have lunch with anyone (living or not), who would it be? Richard Feynman
What’s a skill you’d like to learn? Bass guitar, surfing!
What’s one of your non-music talents? I’m shockingly good at parallel parking.

Mara Starr-Newman joined the NMJW in November, after working since 2015 as a postsecondary humanities and language instructor. Mara started performing at a young age, which helped instill a lifelong passion for music. They have been involved in community choruses in Wyoming, Seattle and Colorado. Currently, Mara serves as a board member for the Colorado Hebrew Chorale in Denver.

Being able to use her entire professional background to help people of all ages from New Mexico access music instruction and performance is a dream come true.




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