WHO WE ARE
From Milan, Italy, Maurice Minichino received a Master of Music degree in piano performance from the G. Verdi Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Carlo Vidusso. He then moved to New York to study conducting at the Juilliard School of Music and to pursue a career as a Jazz pianist.
Born and raised in the Bronx NY, Nanette Garcia studied percussion at the Harbor Conservatory of the Performing Arts with master percussionist Frank Malabe. She went on to study the sacred bata drumming tradition with santero Felipe Garcia Villamil of Matanzas, Cuba. Nanette received a Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Performance from Empire State College.
Since meeting in 1981, Maurice and Nanette toured with jazz ensembles they formed, making Milan, Italy their home base for a period. They traveled extensively to expand their knowledge of music traditions with a concentration on Afro-Cuban culture. After field work in Matanzas and Havana, in 2000, the musicians published their instructional book The Sacred Music of Cuba: Bata Drumming Matanzas Style.
When the couple settled in Westchester NY with their two daughters, they began networking with local musicians and artists. In 2000, they moved into their performance space in Yorktown Heights NY, and shortly after, founded their group Skin Against Metal, The space quickly became a creative lab for experimentalists of all disciplines and genres to come together and examine new ideas and concepts in a safe and open forum, and develop material for performance. In addition to facilitating collaborations, Maurice and Nanette compose scores and soundscapes for NY based and international choreographers and visual artists.
In 2005, the composers released their first Contemporary Classical album Alchemy: A Tribute To Frankie Malabe. That same year they developed the Talk n Drum Language & Music Program, a multi sensory method to teach ESL, Spanish, Italian and American sign Language to young children. This was in response to the dire need for education programs for children and young adults of marginalized and underserved communities throughout NY. By 2008, instructors trained in the method, were teaching the Talk n Drum Program in schools throughout Brooklyn, NYC, Bronx and Westchester County. To continue the development of such programs, the musicians established the Talking Arts Foundation in 2011. The musicians host four to six performances per year at their space to raise funds for the foundation.