SMJ Faculty – PARIS 2020

NILSON MATTA, Artistic/Music Director 

Under the direction of, and joined by SMJ’s Artistic/Music Director NILSON MATTA, our faculty has a commitment to working closely with each student “wherever s(he) is at.”  Whether you’re a hobbyist, a classical player/singer transitioning to jazz, or a working professional wanting to further refine your technique, explore repertoire, enhance your style, our faculty is here to share their expertise and take you where you want to go! ”   Nilson will work with all students as part of the instrumental and jazz programs in Sicily. 



Nelson Veras has created a unique and personal guitar game that incorporates most of the techniques of the classical guitar and an adaptation to a completely innovative style.  At the age of 14 he left his native Brazil to study in France. 

Very sought after for his musical style  shaped to Brazilian standards, he was noticed by Frank Cassenti during the shooting of the film Just a Dream where he met Pat Metheny . He formed his first quartet at the age of 16 with Éric Barret, Michel Benita and Aldo Romano with whom he played the first part of Herbie Hancock at the Jazz in Marciac festival, then at the Nice Jazz Festival, Vannes Jazz Festival, etc.

In 1996, Nelson Veras participated in the sextet Michel Petrucciani and his young lions with Detlev Beier (b), Flavio Boltro (tp), Olivier Ker Ourio (hca) and Manhu Roche (d). He joined the jazz class of the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris in 1997.  In 1998, he returned to Brazil where he married, and finished his school studies.  Then he decides to return to Paris at the end of 1999

Nelson has recorded with Aldo Romano with Palle Danielsson and Stefano Di Battista . He also plays with Brad Mehldau , Gary Peacock , Lee Konitz , Daniel Humair , Michel Graillier , Magic Malik , Alexandra Grimal , Jozef Dumoulin , Gildas Boclé , Sylvain Barou and Jacques Pellen (Celtic Tales), Dominique Di Piazza , Jean-Louis Matinier , Steve Coleman , Mark Turner .  He has a recent CD release with American guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg. 

Nelson is on the faculty of the internationally recognized American School of Modern Music in Paris, and Comarts in Rotterdam. 


Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Felipe Galganni started his training in dance and theater at the age of 10. Mentored by Heather Cornell (Manhattan Tap), Felipe moved to New York City in 2010 to further his education in tap.  Since then he has had the honor of working with such great names as Tony Waag, Max Pollak (Rumba Tap), Chikako Iwahori, Lynn Schwab, Ray Hesselink, Michelle Dorrance, and Derick K. Grant. He has also studied under the master Brenda Bufalino and recently performed in one of her newest works.

In the nearly 15 years of his career, Felipe has given tap dance lessons at the “top”  schools in Brazil, as well as worldwide for such well-known studios as Tap Dance Foundation, Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center in New York City.  He is also honored to be auditioning and teaching the summer program of the Joffrey Ballet School in Miami, FL.

Felipe  has worked as a choreographer in shows and movies. Revealing the unique Brazilian influence in his expression of tap dance, he also develops his own work with his own  company in New York City.  Regarding his piece Fuga, The New York Times writes, “…Felipe Galganni juxtaposed the precision of tap with the curvaceousness of capoeira, the Brazilian martial art. As two crouching, cartwheeling capoeiristas and six tappers wove through one another to Baden Powell’s ‘Berimbau,’ their musicality was contagious.”

Felipe has performed at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Joseph Papp’s Public Theater (Joe’s Pub), The NY Summer Stage, The Citigroup Alvin Ailey Theater, The Cotton Club, The Metropolitan Room, The Bronx Museum, The New York City Center, Lavo NYC, Arlington Club, and others. As a Team Leader of New York’s Tap City festival, Felipe was interviewed by NBC Channel 4 in 2014.