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Vocal Program Faculty

Jazz Residency:

Dena DeRosePianist/vocalist Dena DeRose has it, all in one: a dynamic and innovative jazz pianist, a compelling and original singer, and a creative and sophisticated composer and arranger. Dena began playing the piano at the tender age of three and became an accomplished player by the time she was in her early twenties. She would drive hours on end from upstate New York to New York City to hear idols such as Hank Jones, Kenny Barron and Mulgrew Miller perform. Unexpected, but early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis forced her to stop playing. While she was recovering and wondering if she'd ever be able to play again, Dena discovered her ability to sing. Now she tours internationally, playing the worlds' great jazz festivals and clubs as well as teaching at three universities. DeRose releases her fifth CD, (her first on MAXJAZZ) with A Walk In The Park, which features a fantastic rhythm section of Martin Wind, bass; and Matt Wilson, drums. This extremely accomplished musician performs her inventive arrangements of standards and three memorable original compositions on this exciting new recording.

“DeRose is a major find. She both sings and plays piano like a million bucks.”

– DownBeat Magazine

Madeline EastmanMadeline Eastman has been lauded for her original, "hip" take on the music prompting CD Review to write, "She doesn't tinker aimlessly, she reconstructs with purpose. She lays depth charges right from the beginning." Don Heckman of the LA Times called Madeline "a consummate, inventive, endlessly entertaining artist at work." Mad was also recognized as one of the "Top Female Vocalists" in the latest DownBeat Readers Poll. Eastman has recorded seven CDs featuring such luminaries as Tony Williams, Cedar Walton, Phil Woods, and Kenny Barron. Barron also joined Madeline on a soon-to-be-released album they recorded with the famed 50-piece Metropole Orchestra under the direction of Vince Mendoza. She splits her time between touring and teaching. She developed and heads the Vocal Department at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, and is Artistic Director for Jazzcamp West, Artist in Residence at the Jazzschool in Berkeley, sole vocal clinician for the Monterey Jazz Traveling Clinician Program and Artist in Residence for the Brubeck Jazz Colony.

“Eastman has joined a very exclusive club: modern jazz vocalists with something fresh to say. She's hip without pretensions, cool without alienation, she has it and warmth, a rare gift in jazz.”

– The Boston Herald

Email Madeline.


Sandy CressmanBorn in New York City of American parents, but with a Brazilian heart, vocalist Sandy Cressman began her career with the highly acclaimed vocal trio Pastiche, with whom she recorded three CDs. Sandy’s connection with Brazilian music was first sparked when she heard the music of Ivan Lins while at U.C. Berkeley in the late 1970s, and later San Jose State University where she majored in vocal jazz. She immersed herself in the music, learned to speak Portuguese fluently, and began a long-time collaboration with Brazilian pianist Marcos Silva, eventually forming the quintet Homenagem Brasiliera. The group’s growing repertoire explores the richness and diversity of Brazil’s music. They have two CDs to their credit, and have performed at jazz festivals such as San Jose Jazz, Monterey Jazz & of course, Stanford. In addition to her world music interest working with Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra, Sandy has recorded vocals on many cds, soundtracks and jingles and composed original music for television. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, she has been teaching for many years, offering private instruction at her home studio as well as at several community music schools. She also coaches jazz vocal harmony groups.

Wendy McCainWendy McCain has been on the voice faculty of the Stanford Jazz Workshop for several years and has had a private studio for over 20 years. Her students have taken top prizes in the National Downbeat Competition for the last seven years running. Wendy is a strong believer of nurturing creativity and cultivating a deeper love for music in her students. Her lessons emphasize the “art” of singing and teach vocal technique tailored to each singer’s development as a unique individual.

She has been improvising and composing since the age of six, making her professional debut as featured artist at the age of 12. She maintains an active singing and teaching career and collaborates with her husband, renowned jazz bassist and educator Seward McCain, writing lyrics to his many compositions. Two of her songs are featured on his forthcoming new CD Seward’s Folly (listen to samples at

Peggy SternPeggy Stern is an eclectic pianist, music educator and composer with far ranging influences. Initially classically trained and a graduate of the Eastman School as well as the New England Conservatory, she found her way to San Francisco, where she explored salsa and R&B. Returning to the East Coast, she was introduced to saxophonist Lee Konitz, who had heard Peggy’s compositions on Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz” program. Peggy is well-known as a composer, with four of her tunes featured in the Sher Real Book series. When not touring and recording, Peggy is an in-demand teacher, and has had a lot of experience and success leading jazz choirs, both at home and abroad. Peggy says, “I have been a teacher for many years: I am a classically trained pianist, who switched to improvised music, but kept my classical roots. Having been there myself, I have created a method for getting from thru-composed music on the page to improvised music, using one or two chords to draw out the original ‘song’ that lies in each one of us. I love music theory, and I believe that the tools of music are there for the taking, and that study and practice yield tangible rewards. I find it particularly rewarding to share my knowledge and love of music with young people; it gives me optimism and energy to see how people blossom with music in their lives.”

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