Piano Faculty

Alan Aurelia
Alan Aurelia Tuba, Trombone, Trumpet, French Horn and Piano
B.M., M.F.A. Candidate at University of Connecticut. Studied at Hartt School of Music. Conducted University of Connecticut Orchestra, New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble, Centre Symphony, Kingsborough Band, Brooklyn Winds Ensemble. Founder and member of Riverside Brass Quintet, founder and conductor of Riverside Opera and Staten Island Ballet Orchestra, director of Music on the Move. Performed with Stuttgart Ballet and at Spoleto Festival, Italy. Played for Queen Mother and Pope John Paul II. Faculty member at Wagner College and Brooklyn College. Instructor at City Music School. Music Director of Richmond County Orchestra.

Maestro Aurelia is also a very skilled and experienced teacher. He plays many instruments and works very well with students of all ages.

Yelena Polyachenko
Yelena Polyachenko Associate Faculty of Piano, Theory
Yelena Polyachenko holds a MM degree from R. M. Glier State Musical Conservatory in Kiev, Ukraine.

Since then, Yelena has taught at music schools preparing students for recitals and competitions. She teaches piano for children as young as age four to adult students. While at the Early Ear Music School in NYC, Yelena created a method for making music fun for young beginners and tailors it to each child’s personality. This technique encompasses teaching piano to children with special needs. She has carried this unique method on in her teaching with us here at the Conservatory.

Yelena has also taught at an elementary school where she produced musical shows including The Wizard of Oz, The Snow Queen, Matilda, Summer Fairies, and Octave, as well as being the accompanist for ballet classes and their performances at a dance school. For the Staten Island Children’s Theater Association Yelena has played piano for their drama lessons, and assisted in the production of Alan Menken’s Beauty and the Beast Jr.

Yelena is a very experienced accompanist and soloist. At Wagner College she has accompanied the musical theater department’s group classes, as well as individual student’s vocal recitals. There she has also participated in the musical department’s concerts, evaluations, and competitions.

She intensively teaches music theory, ear training and solfeggio, with her students winning many competitions as they are so well prepared by her.
Recently Yelena has been participating in maestro Alan Aurelia’s Richmond County Orchestra’s productions as an accompanist to opera singers.

Valeda Zaage-Bell
Valeda Zaage-Bell Associate Faculty of Piano, Recorder, Trombone, Voice, Theory
Valeda Zaage-Bell received her Bachelor of Music Degree from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She attended Manhattan School of Music, Temple University, Brooklyn College and Hunter College for graduate work. She studied piano with Charles Fischer and orchestral and choral conducting with Elizabeth A.H. Green and John Sinclair. On July 29, 2009 she conducted a 120 voice choir and a 30 piece orchestra for a performance at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina. Recently Valeda recorded a CD of 20th century piano music for Patrice Editions. Valeda has taught music classes at Curtis High School, New Dorp High School, Port Richmond High School and Wagner High School. She was the music director for local productions of “Once Upon a Mattress,” “Marat/Sade,” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.” In 2005 she performed an original art song she composed for the New Music Collective at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. She has been the organist, pianist and choir director for the Vanderbilt Moravian Church for the past 23 years. Last year, in 2010, Ms. Zaage-Bell composed seven “Haiku” for piano and debuted them at the SICOM faculty recital. Valeda actively plays with chamber groups as well. She plays trombone with the Conservatory Jazz Band. She is also the artistic director of a local recorder ensemble.