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 social 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

Charles Palmer, NMJW Board Treasurer

Charles Palmer, NMJW Board Interim Board President and Treasurer, New Mexico Jazz Workshop Board member, serving on the Executive Committee and the Hiring Committee. Accountant in the food industry for 38 years (retired & returned to Albuquerque), trombonist in community orchestras, wind ensembles, big bands, and salsa bands. Currently the finance director at Share Your Care, Inc. NFP since January 2019. Other NFP experience since 2006 includes board directorships, treasurer, fundraising, and strategic planning. Education includes: Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Music (minor in Accounting and Finance).

NMJW Board Vice President, Steven Seifert, MD

Steven Seifert, MD, NMJW Board Vice President, 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.

S. Liakus Pilcher Head Shot copy
Sandra Liakus Pilcher, (NMJW 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.
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.

John Dubois

John Dubois, New Mexico Jazz Workshop Board member since 2019, serving on the Fundraising Committee. He is an alumnus of the NMJW high school Honor Band and Outpost Youth Jazz Program. He is a University of New Mexico, Anderson School of Business Alum – who also studied at the Communications & Journalism Department, and the School of Music. He was previously an Advancement Officer for a private school, then transitioned into the world of finance as a banker, moving his way to the position of AVP of Business & Wealth Branch Services. Currently, he is a Business Development Officer for Nusenda Credit Union. Additionally, he is actively sitting on other Albuquerque non-profit boards, and is willing to serve his community where he lives, works, and plays.

Dr. Aurelia B. Harris

Dr. Aurelia B. Harris, New Mexico Jazz Workshop Board member since 2008. She has been a long-time sponsor and supporter of the NMJW and its summer music concerts and programs before and during her tenure as a Board member. Dr. Aurelia B. Harris is an Economist and Program Manager for the USDA Forest Service Southwestern Region. She has served as a volunteer and Board member for several non-profits in New Mexico including United Way of New Mexico, Sickle Council of New Mexico, National Association of Black Economist, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the USDA African American Strategy Group. Aurelia is a cantor and choir member at John XXIII Catholic Community. She has also served on the City of Albuquerque Mayor’s Volunteer Board.

John Trotter

John Trotter, 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


The New Mexico Jazz Workshop Board of Directors meets the fourth Wednesday of every month at 11:30 am. Please contact the NMJW office for more information: 505-255-9798

Our Staff

Program coordinator

Maud Beenhouwer – maud@nmjazz.org

Empowerment Through Music Coordinator

Debo Orlofsky – debo@nmjazz.org

Education Coordinator 

Debbie Dobson – debbie@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