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Press Release: Vail Jazz Selects Drew Zaremba as Next Artistic Director: July 12, 2023

By Vail Jazz

Vail Jazz Selects Drew Zaremba as Next Artistic Director

Vail, CO July 12, 2023 — The Vail Jazz Foundation is pleased to announce that its Board of Directors has unanimously selected Drew Zaremba as its next Artistic Director. He will be the second Artistic Director in the organization’s 29-year 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. I can’t wait to begin the journey!” 

“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. “The Board set out to find the very best Artistic Director to write the next chapter of the Vail Jazz story, and we did.” 

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.  I have no doubt he will fill our stages, classrooms, and communal spaces with deep, meaningful, and joyful artistry. He is the partner we need to help Vail Jazz soar to even greater heights.”

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 Eagle County. He is a tenured Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Colorado. A resident of Greely, Colorado, Drew will be spending summers in Vail with his wife Jolie and young son Charlie

Drew Zaremba enjoys a worldwide reputation as an award-winning composer and a passionate conductor.  He has composed and arranged pieces for/performed 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 of “Chicago”, 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.  His significant relationships in the global jazz community were of particular interest to the Vail Jazz Search Task Force.

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

As Vail Jazz turns the page to its next chapter, 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 unique 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, please visit VailJazz.org or contact Jamie Cox, Marketing Director (jamie@vailjazz.org).

The Vail Jazz Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to the perpetuation of jazz music through presentation and education. Vail Jazz produces a summer performance series and award-winning educational programs serving both the national and local communities.