Maya Stepansky is greatly honored to receive the 2015 Stanley Kay Scholarship and attend the NYSMF.
A 10th grade student at Montclair High School, Maya’s passion for drumming took off at age 9 when she was selected as drum majorette for Hillside School’s Drums of Thunder, a nationally-touring precision drum corp for professional sports and civic events. Early studies with Chuck Speicher and John Castiglione led to a growing love for jazz and an introduction to big band playing through the JazzHouseKids program in ensembles led by jazz masters Ed Palermo and Oscar Perez, with performances at Dizzy’s at Lincoln Center and Montclair Jazz Festival. She subsequently attended the Juilliard Jazz Summer Workshop, Litchfield Jazz Camp and NJPAC’s All-Female Jazz Residency, where she was inspired by exposure to such drum legends as Carl Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington. In 2013, she was accepted to NJPAC’s Jazz for Teens Program and honored to take part in a faculty-student combo for 3 special NJPAC concert events with faculty artists Lauren Sevian and Jazzmeia Horn. She was also thrilled to perform original compositions by legendary saxophonist Oliver Lake with the composer himself in a special jazz education concert at the Renaissance School, and recently served as drummer for several MHS musicals (“Hair,” “Rockin’ Out”).
An MHS honor student, NJ state champion rower and MHS Crew Team varsity letter recipient, Maya is active in MHS Math League, National Latin Honor Society, and co-president of the National Art Honor Society. Her music and film collaborations with her brother Jeremy have received 2 awards in the Montclair Film Festival’s annual youth filmmaking competition and led to the creation of a full-length CD, Notes From Home, which raised over $5000 for homeless aid organizations. With Jeremy, her rock/jazz band, The Frontiers, were most recently featured guest performers at a special event sponsored by the International Rescue Committee.