Laura Petillo appointed Manager of Music Programs at Count Basie Center Academy of the Arts

RED BANK, NJ — The Count Basie Center For The Arts has appointed longtime violinist and string teacher Laura Petillo to serve as director of music programs for its Academy of Arts and the Count Basie Center’s Monmouth Conservatory of Music.

Petillo’s history at the Monmouth Conservatory – and as a musician – is storied. At the age of 12, his father, Patrick Appello, himself a lifelong musician and professor at the Conservatory, encouraged him to take lessons with its founders, Irina and Vladic Kovalsky. The nonprofit Conservatory was donated to the Basie Center as part of Kovalsky’s 2017 retreat.

“My early years at the Conservatory gave me a high-quality classical musical education and so much more,” says Petillo. “The advice given to me by the Kovalskys, as well as my first music teacher, my father, gave me confidence, discipline and a passion for music that have accompanied me throughout my life – values ​​that I have always held. intention to instill and strengthen with our students moving forward.

“My goal is for our music programs to provide exciting programs for students from all backgrounds,” added Petillo, “as well as opportunities for young musicians to share their talents and creativity with the local community and beyond.”

In addition to directing the Conservatory, Petillo will manage music-based offerings as part of the Basie Center’s education department. Programs such as Stormy Singers, a preschool choral program at Red Bank Elementary School, the Count Basie Center Gospel Choir, and music-based classes and workshops at the Count Basie Center Academy of the Arts will all be under the guardianship of Petillo.


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“Laura not only brings a musical pedigree to our programs, but also a story,” said Samantha Giustiniani, Senior Director of Education and Outreach, Count Basie Center for the Arts. “The fact that her musical upbringing led her to pursue a career in teaching is not lost on us: Laura embodies excellence, hard work, passion and the rewards one can feel when exposed to to the arts at an early age.”

Petillo’s curriculum vitae in music and education is a veritable concentrate of accomplishments; later this year, she will earn her doctorate in educational leadership from Monmouth University, where she completed her master’s degree in early childhood education in 2020. A longtime resident of Jersey Shore, she attended the school Catholic Saint Mary’s and Holy Trinity as a child, moving to the Ocean Township district for middle school, then Red Bank Regional High School. During these years, she performed in all three tiers of the New Jersey Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as with the Red Bank Regional Chamber Ensemble, and on the College of New Jersey All-American Youth In Concert Band tour. in Eastern Europe. In 2008 she was Concert Master of the Rutgers Sinfornia Orchestra and performed as Baroque Violin Principal with the New York Continuo Collective. Petillo graduated in 2011 from Mason Gross and Douglass colleges at Rutgers University.

“I came to appreciate the Basie Center as a non-profit organization interested in improving its community through the power of the arts,” says Petillo. “It’s inspiring to have the opportunity to be a part of these efforts, as well as incorporating important elements including social-emotional learning, the importance of social justice, sustainability and other innovations. that I have learned that can have a profound impact on education.”

Information about private and group instruction at the Monmouth Conservatory, as well as music and performing arts lessons at the Count Basie Center Academy of the Arts, is available at and

For more information about the Count Basie Center for the Arts, contact Jonathan Vena at (732) 224-8778 x 107 or [email protected]

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