Vail Jazz Selects Drew Zaremba as Next Artistic Director

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Drew Zaremba will be the second artistic director in the Vail Jazz Foundation’s 29-year history.

(Photo: Vail Jazz Foundation)

The Vail Jazz Foundation’s board of directors has selected Drew Zaremba as its next artistic director. He will be the second artistic director in the organization’s 29-year history.

“I have the honor of succeeding the amazing visionary Howard Stone,” said Zaremba. “I see my appointment as a natural and exciting extension of his leadership. Staying rooted in history of American jazz is important as we continue to explore the rich and exciting ways the music is evolving. There are many jazz festivals, but there’s only one Vail Jazz.”

“Drew is a brilliant performer and composer as well as a transformative leader who can build on our legacy as we look to the future,” said Garret Davies, president of Vail Jazz’s board of directors.

Sarah Valente, Vail Jazz board vice president and Search Task Force chair, was impressed by Zaremba’s ability to relate to audiences on a deep level. “Drew’s insightful understanding of the Vail Jazz mission, vision and values is wonderfully creative and ambitious,” she said. “I have no doubt he will fill our stages, classrooms and communal spaces with deep, meaningful and joyful artistry.”

Zaremba is currently serving as the regional artistic director for Vail Jazz, where he programmed this season’s concert series at the Solaris Plaza. He is also the head of Vail Jazz Goes to School, which brings the basics of jazz education to fourth and fifth grade students throughout Colorado’s Eagle County. He is a tenured associate professor of jazz studies at the University of Northern Colorado.

Zaremba has composed and arranged pieces for performances by the BBC Orchestra, the WDR and NDR Big Bands, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Metropole Orkest, the Airmen of Note, Wycliffe Gordon, Dick Oatts, Randy Brecker, Eddie Gomez, Lee Loughane, the Vietnam Classical Players and the Pyramid Jazz Orchestra in Kanazawa, Japan. One of his most ambitious projects was writing a concert of music entitled “Crossing Chinese Opera with Jazz” during a two-month residency in Zhuhai, China. He is also a three-time winner of the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer award.

In addition to composing, Zaremba is a sought-after saxophonist, keyboardist and woodwind performer and is in demand as a clinician and guest artist. He has given clinics and guest artist performances in Melbourne, Brussels, Tokyo, London, Hannover, the Netherlands and China, in addition to dozens of colleges and high schools in the United States.

Drew has published music through Alfred Music, Sierra Music and through his website, drewzaremba.com. He is the recipient of the Sammy Nestico Award for his original composition “Kangaroo Bruise Blues,” which includes a follow-up commission with the Airmen of Note.

“Drew is the natural choice for this moment at Vail Jazz,” said John Clayton, interim artistic director of Vail Jazz and Zaremba’s long-term mentor. “It’s a great day when human values, grace and authenticity — which Drew owns in abundance — rhyme with the rich opportunities available at our about-to-be 30-year-old enterprise. Drew brings joy with him, and our arms, minds and hearts are wide open to that joy.”

Zaremba comes to his new position at a time when the jazz world is embracing young, innovative musicians, many of whom are graduates of the Vail Jazz Workshop. Similarly, global jazz sounds, including those of Cuba, Brazil and France, are enjoying ever greater musical influence. Zaremba has his ear tuned to these trends and is set to explore his interpretation to the question Vail Jazz poses to all its patrons: What does jazz mean to you?

For more information about the Vail Jazz Foundation, visit vailjazz.org. DB



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