Meet the Artists-in-Residence of New York Memory Center. Each brings a special expertise and offers stimulating programs on a regular schedule at the Center and occasionally at the Memory Arts Café.
Percussionist in Residence
David Azarch, is a Group Empowerment Drumming facilitator and AFA Qualified Dementia Care Professional, bringing the power of expression through percussion to therapeutic recreation and activities programs in
the New York Metro and Tri-State area. Working within the modality of Recreational Music Making (RMM) and Therapeutic Recreation and, trained in Drumming and Wellness protocols, David is a facilitator to a number of special needs populations including adults and seniors in Dementia Care and Memory Centers, adolescents and young adults with Autism and other developmental challenges, Adolescent and adult substance abuse rehabilitation and recovery programs and, At-Risk Youth programs that include the Juvenile Correctional System. David began playing drums in 1972 at the age of fourteen. His interests in music, particularly rhythm led him to explore the world of hand drums and percussion instruments, along with its cultures, styles and techniques. On a deeper level David responded to the organic connection of the hand touching the drum and how the reciprocation created a visceral and emotional intimacy between person and sound. The tactual nature necessary to play these instruments allows for greater expression and potential for emotional reciprocity.
Musician in Residence
Ismail Butera — accordionist, vocalist, entertainer — loves the folk music of the world’s peoples. “The sound and expression of a musical tradition reveals the inner soul and understanding of various cultures,” he says. Ismail is a founding member of Metropolitan Klezmer and plays a breathtaking array of styles: traditional court repertoire of Zanzibar, Arabic modes, African rhythms, Indian film melodies, and Turkish musical genres, with lyrics in Ki-Swahili. He has taught at Buffalo Gap Balkan Folk Arts Camp, played traditional Greek instruments with Smyrneiki Kompania, performed Balkan, Mediterranean and Near Eastern vocals and instrumentals with groups Sharqiya and Bogomila, and formed the Balkan Brothers duo with percussionist Seido Salifoski. He has also performed with The Klezmatics, Andy Statman, Michael Alpert, Noga Group, Yale Strom’s Hot P’Stromi, and Latin folk ensemble Chameleon, in addition to playing Albanian, Armenian, Israeli, Sephardic and Persian music. He appears on all four Metropolitan Klezmer CDs. During the day he entertains in nursing homes, hospitals, and nonprofit centers and has worked for Hospital Audiences Incorporated (HAI), Self Help Community Services, the Trinity Church ‘Music to Go’ series, and the New York Memory Center. “Music, dance and the arts are truly wonderful human forms of expression and communication, and do make miracles happen.” See his website for upcoming performances.
Poet in Residence
Gary Glazner is the founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project (APP). The APP was the recipient of the 2013, Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Award. The APP was awarded the 2012 MetLife Foundation Creativity and Aging in America Leadership Award in the category of Community Engagement. PBS News Hour, NBC’s “Today” show and NPR’s “All Things Considered” have featured segments on Glazner’s work. Harper Collins, W.W. Norton and Salon.com have published his work. Glazner is the host and co-producer with New York Memory Center, of the monthly Memory Arts Café, a series of free art events for people living with Alzheimer’s disease, their caregivers and the general public. He is the author of Dementia Arts: Celebrating Creativity in Elder Care, published by Health Professional Press, 2014. Glazner is the founder of the Institute for Dementia Education and Arts (IDEA).
Tai Chi Artist in Residence
Sifu Tzyann Hsu was born in Taiwan. She began her training in Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan at the age of 16. After coming to the United States, she furthered her study of Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong, and earned a Teaching Certificate for Tai Chi Chuan from Sifu (Master) Chan Wai Kwan, chief instructor of the Tai Shan Martial Arts Institute in Tai Shan, China. Sifu Tzyann Hsu has over 15 years of teaching experience with all ages and skill levels and at various locations including Brooklyn Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy, Yee’s Hung Ga International Kung Fu Association – Brooklyn Branch, Park Slope Senior Citizens Center, New York Memory Center, Boro Park Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare, Pratt Institute, and Maimonedes Medical Center. Tzanne has presented workshops and demonstrations for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, Asian Pacific Heritage Month sponsored by National Grid, New York City Department of Health’s East New York Health Fair, New York Public School M.S. 88, and the Berkeley Carroll School. For more information see her website.
Multimedia Artist in Residence
Before finding a home at the New York Memory Center, Tara Klang developed her own Art and Theraputic style in her hometown of Brooklyn. After abandoning a short career in television and theatre in 1998 to pursue her true passion, Art, she was lucky to get her first Gallery exhibition in1999 with funding from the NYC Aids Housing Network Gallery. Under the mentorship and with the assistance of other professionals in the field Tara continues to work actively in the community both with the Behind The Blue Door Gallery and by using her art at fundraising events to raise awareness in key issues. Over the course of the past 15 years she not only enjoyed her own solo career but getting to work besides and exhibit her work alongside Lawrence Gartel (Father of media art and mentor to Andy Warhol), Don Oriolo (Felix the Cat ), Francisco Poblet (Salvador Dali protégé), Mia Tyler, and many others all along her travels along the Eastern Seaboard. All she has learned over the years she delights in sharing with Memory Center members, and especially enjoys assisting them in creating projects which engage multiple creative processes and are tailored around their individual activities. When she is not working in the visual art community she also works at a dance school as a dance instructor and choreographer.
Yoga Artist in Residence
Maria Petsching is a private certified yoga instructor in Brooklyn. She underwent her teacher training (by Swami Vivekananda Saraswati) in Rishikesh, India in 2001 and at PAX in Vienna, Austria.
While also working as a personal trainer since then, Maria has been teaching yoga to seniors since 2005.
In her sessions she combines stretches, breathing exercises, meditation and yoga principles.
Rhythm Break Cares
Dance Artists in Residence
Rhythm Break Cares (RBC) takes a unique and highly effective approach to address the widespread and immediate needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s, associated dementias, and their caregivers, by engaging them in partner dance as a means to improve their quality of life. Since 2009, RBC has successfully offered this interesting form of dance therapy, which capitalizes on the demonstrated benefits of music, movement and touch. RBC sessions provide a rare opportunity for patients and their caregivers to escape some of the burdens associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia, in a stress-free environment where they can observe, participate and be entertained. Their dance artists are professionally trained Ballroom and Modern dancers that have undergone specific training to work with the Alzheimer’s, dementia, and elderly communities. RBC holds sessions in a variety of ways offering social functions at our midtown location, on-site sessions at dementia centers, private lessons, and instruction for caregivers and caregiver group classes. Current site locations and centers include: New York Memory Center, 80th St Residence, Hearthstone, The Esplanade, and The National Alzheimer’s Association. The Rhythm Break Cares mission is to help as many individuals that we can through the restorative power of music, movement and touch in partnership with assisted living residences, researchers and other organizations working towards the same cause. See their website for more information.