to The Songbook Academy
Perfect Harmony Music Resources
Contact us for more information:
The Great American Songbook Foundation
The Great American Songbook Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire and educate by celebrating the Great American Songbook.
Meet our Music Directors
Daryl Kojak, pianist, arranger, producer, musical director, composer, songwriter and educator, is honored to have worked with a long list of talent, including Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Phoebe Snow, Sheila Jordan, Jane Monheit, Marni Nixon, Cheryl Bentyne, Kristin Chenoweth, Ben Vereen, Marilyn Maye, Catherine Russell, and a whole bunch of others. An accomplished and widely diverse composer, Daryl has created and scored music for film, television, stage, artist’s recordings and video games. He composes regularly for the New York City Parks Department’s Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater.
Daryl is a recipient of Backstage's Bistro Award for Outstanding Musical Director, The Caribbean Gospel Music Award for Top Gospel Arranger, and The Daryl Kojak Trio received the MAC Award for Best Jazz Group (The Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs). Laurie Krauz and Daryl share a Bistro Award for Outstanding Theme Show for "Tapestry Rewoven." Daryl arranged Anthony Cochran’s “Lives," (Music Of Elvis Presley,) which also received a Bistro Award. Daryl has been nominated numerous times for a MAC Award for Best Musical Director.
Daryl has worked on the New York music scene for more than thirty years as a pianist, producer, composer, songwriter, arranger and musical director. The musical genres and styles of his extensive recording experience include jazz, blues, gospel, rock, R&B, pop, classical, new age and musical theater.
For more info please visit www.darylkojak.com.
Jeff Harris is equally at home as a pianist, composer, arranger, conductor, and lyricist. He has worked with such diverse singers as Maureen McGovern, Chaka Khan, Jack Jones, Barbara Cook, Marilyn Maye, Lea Salonga, Michael Feinstein, Freda Payne, Karen Akers, and Cleo Laine. His longest association has been with Maureen Mcgovern, playing and arranging seven of her CDs (co-producing her most recent “You Raise Me Up”), writing many songs for her (she has recorded seventeen including “Why Can’t I Forget?”), and appearing with her frequently on television, in concerts, and by request of President George H.W. Bush at The White House.
Mr. Harris has worked extensively on Broadway as both pianist and conductor in the shows GYPSY (directed by Arthur Laurents; starring Patti Lupone), ON THE TOWN (both revivals), CHICAGO, FOSSE, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and CRAZY FOR YOU.
Jeff Harris is a frequent guest as a pianist and conductor with many of the leading symphony orchestras including the Boston, St. Louis, Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, National, and was, for several years, the regular pianist for the New York Pops.
Born in California to a musical family, Mr. Harris attended the University of Southern California on a full scholarship receiving his Bachelors of Music in Composition. He now makes his home in the New York City area.
Russ Kassoff is an accomplished jazz pianist, conductor, music director, composer, orchestrator, and arranger, whose varied talents are much valued and on display in the music world. Russ toured as pianist to Frank Sinatra by request from '80-'91 including "The Ultimate Event Tour" ('88-'89) featuring Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, and Liza Minnelli touring for 18 years ('82-'01). On Broadway he was MD/Conductor for Twyla Tharp's "Come Fly Away" (2010) and was conductor/pianist for Charles Aznavour in concert (’98). Russ continues as music director with Rita Moreno - since 2003. Russ has accompanied and/or recorded with Perry Como, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Vic Damone, Carly Simon, Lainie Kazan, Debbie Gravitte, Luciano Pavarotti, Tierney Sutton, Marilyn Maye, Tony Danza, Rebecca Luker, Red Norvo, Chris Connor, Mimi Hines, Carly Simon, Rod Stewart and Sylvia Syms - a wonderfully eclectic career. “You are the best.” - Frank Sinatra, ’87 www.russkassoff.com
Beckie Menzie has appeared at the legendary Carnegie Hall, Jazz At Lincoln Center and Birdland in New York, Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre and Park West, as well as at concert halls and art series across the country. Hailed by Chicago’s WGN Radio as “indispensible to Chicago cabaret,” Beckie was featured in Michael Feinstein’s Now & Then Series for her Carnegie Hall debut. She has been featured at many Mabel Mercer Cabaret Conventions in New York, The Hamptons, and in Chicago, as well as performances for the Chicago Humanities Festival, where she has served as a performer, director and musical director.
She performs regularly with Tom Michael and as a duo they have toured their many concerts across the country, including Carnegie Hall’s 100th birthday celebration for Cole Porter, they’ve performed with the Rich Daniel’s City Light’s Orchestra and headlined with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and others including the Racine Symphony and the Danville Symphony. Beckie is one third of the GIRLS LIKE US group that includes Laura Freeman and Marianne Murphy Orland. Beckie is the co-host for Monday Night Live at Petterinos and is an award winning songwriter who coaches Chicago’s young musical talent. For more info please visit www.beckiemenzie.com.
Melanie Shore’s dynamic musical fluency on the piano has established her as an accomplished performer, sought-after studio musician, and award-winning composer and arranger. Over her career, she has performed with an array of artists, including Chuck Berry, Il Divo, Lea Salonga, David Archuleta, Collin Raye, Debby Boone, Restless Heart, and Teddy Gentry from the Grammy Award winning group Alabama, among many others.
Melanie has been featured in and is a regular contributor to Joseph Gordon-Leavitt’s collaborative musical community, hitRECord. She also served as musical director and arranger, as well as played keyboard/Hammond B3 organ alongside pop and country multi-platinum artist Collin Raye. In addition, Melanie has played for many national Broadway tours including the first national tour of Matilda The Musical, performs with neo-soul sensation, Joslyn, and is touring with the soul/funk/fusion group led by Kris Johnson of the Count Basie Big Band and Lulu Fall of The Great Comet of 1812.
Melanie is established as a commissioned composer and arranger in high demand. She was awarded composer-in-residence by the Utah Arts Festival, and has been commissioned by various organizations across the United States for her choral, orchestral, and jazz arrangements. She is also the arranger for the Homecoming Spectacular series, where she has written for renowned artists Gladys Knight, Kristen Chenoweth, Peter Hollens, Lexi Walker, and Colbie Caillat. Melanie regularly arranges for the world’s largest choral-orchestral organization, Millennial Choirs and Orchestras, as well as for “Downbeat Award” winner, The Crescent Super Band. Melanie is also active as a studio session musician. She is known for her stylistic versatility and can be found recording everything from musical theatre to pop, funk, gospel, soul, and jazz.
When not performing, arranging, or touring, Melanie gives back to the community by serving as a clinician for school-aged Jazz bands. She holds a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Utah, and is an associate professor of jazz piano at Snow College, University of Utah, and Utah Valley University.