Conductor Saya Callner enjoys making music in the New York City area, from church music to conducting orchestras, choruses, and opera.
Ms. Callner first came to the U.S. from her native Japan to study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She later relocated to New York City where she received Master of Music degrees in choral conducting and music theory at Mannes, studying choral conducting with Mark Shapiro and music theory with Robert Cuckson and David Loeb. Ms. Callner then went on to receive a Master’s degree in orchestral conducting with Kenneth Kiesler at the University of Michigan. Currently, Ms. Callner is in the DMA program in orchestral conducting under Kynan Johns at Rutgers University.
Ms. Callner is the founder (2007) and director of New York’s Chromatic Voice Exchange, a unique chorus made up of music theorists, composers, and instrumentalists. Dedicated to working with living composers, Ms. Callner has premiered more than 30 new compositions with her chorus. Far from limiting herself to new compositions, Ms. Callner has also performed such large choral-orchestral pieces as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms’ Alto Rhapsodie, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, and she premiered an opera in one act, A Night of Pity by Robert Cuckson, with a fully staged cast at the Mannes College of Music. She has also been the conductor of the New York Mixed Chorus since 2012.
A dedicated educator, Ms. Callner teaches young people of talent in piano and chorus, and currently works at the Bronx Bethany After School Enrichment Program, as well as with Midori and Friends.
Ms. Callner is very excited to be part of the Park Avenue Christian Church music family.
Dr. Tony McNeill is the former Director of Worship and The Arts at Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church (“America’s “Freedom Church”) in Atlanta, GA, where he served for four and a half years. Prior to coming to Atlanta, Dr. McNeill was a Visiting Lecturer in Choral Music at his alma mater, Appalachian State University (Boone, NC). He currently serves as Program Director for the Certificate in Worship Leadership at Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary (Atlanta, GA) and keeps a demanding schedule as a consultant, workshop presenter, choral clinician, mentor and conference worship leader. He earned a masters degree in choral conducting from The Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL) and the doctorate of worship studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies (Jacksonville, FL). Dr. McNeill was also profiled in the BET.com documentary, HOLLER IF YOU HEAR ME: GAY AND BLACK IN THE CHURCH.
Paul Vasile is a freelance church musician, consultant, and composer based in New York City. A multitalented musician and dynamic worship leader, he is committed to building, renewing, and re-shaping faith communities through music and liturgy.
Paul brings over twenty years of ministry experience to his work as a consultant, workshop facilitator, and teacher. He is excited to help congregations broaden their repertoire of sung prayer and praise, and to demonstrate how participatory music and liturgy can energize and unify worshippers from varied backgrounds, cultures, and traditions. His skills and background make him a unique resource to congregations in transition, or those experiencing anxiety or conflict in their worship life.
Paul is an inspiring teacher and has been a guest lecturer and worship leader at Union Theological Seminary, General Theological Seminary (NYC), the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and The Chandler School of Theology. He has also curated notable concert series, arts events, and educational programs exploring the intersection of music and spirituality.