Vail Jazz Workshop
Each year, a dozen of North America’s most dedicated, gifted and promising young jazz musicians are chosen from a broad field of talented applicants, receiving scholarships to participate in the 10-day Vail Jazz Workshop in Vail, Colorado. Organized in conjunction with the Vail Jazz Party, this highly-regarded curriculum is now in its 27th year, mentoring over 300 high school-aged musicians since its inception. The VJ Workshop, among the longest-running programs of its type, enables the student musicians to study and be coached in an environment that emphasizes intense interaction with instructors and fellow students, while providing them with the unique opportunity to perform alongside legendary professional musicians at the VJ Party over Labor Day Weekend. It is a rigorous learning experience that is conducted exclusively, and uniquely, without any written music, emphasizing listening skills, improvisation, and group work. The curriculum for the Workshop each year varies depending on what the faculty sees as most beneficial for the students. By anecdote, reputation, and word-of-mouth—from students and professionals alike—the 12 annual slots at the VJ Workshop are among the most coveted music scholarships among pre-college jazz musicians today. Many Workshop alumni have advanced to highly successful musical careers, garnering numerous awards, Grammy® nominations, albums, and tour dates with jazz greats, as well as fronting their own groups at notable jazz venues and festivals throughout the world. In a nod to the exceptional talent the Workshop has nourished over many years, the VJ Party features returning alumni—now professionals—to perform as the Vail Jazz Alumni Sextet.
2022 Workshop Students
We are pleased to introduce this year’s Vail Jazz Workshop students. This group of musicians will come together to learn and be mentored from the top educators in the nation. Each student has earned their place in this year’s Workshop not only through musical talent, but also through their dedication and achievement at such young ages. Scroll down to read about each impressive young musician. Welcome class of 2022!
Aidan Farrell - Tenor Saxophone
Although Aidan comes to the Vail Jazz Workshop to focus on tenor saxophone, he got his musical beginnings in piano, and is also proficient on alto, soprano, bari, clarinet and bass clarinet. In addition to consistent participation in several school and All-state bands, Aidan has studied under numerous prestigious jazz educators, and has attended many prestigious educational workshops including the Conejo Valley Jazz Workshop, Stanford Jazz Workshop, Arrowbear Jazz Camp, and now the Vail Jazz Workshop. Outside of music, Aidan is an avid traveler, and his fluent Spanish has brought him to Spain, Mexico and Central America. He is also interested in climate change and volunteers with the Tree People and Mountains Restoration Trust helping to restore the wildlands near where he lives.
Aidan’s musical influences are Stan Getz, John Coltrane, and Dexter Gordon. He aspires to study both music and International Relations, with the dream of being a jazz-playing attorney in international law.
Alex Heidelbaugh - Trombone
Alex is a 17-year old trombone player who resides in Plano, Texas. He has a broad interest in jazz music, spanning hard bop, cool genre, funk, latin and big band. Outside of music, he is a car enthusiast and avid follower of Formula One racing. He enjoys reading history books, playing video games, and volunteers at his local food bank. Additionally, he is an Eagle Scout and member of the National Honor Society. Alex has an interest in promoting jazz appreciation among younger students, and plans to lead presentations at the middle schools that feed into his high school to generate interest.
Alex’s musical influences are Frank Rosolino, JJ Johnson, and Wycliffe Gordon. Musically, he hopes to improve his instrumental technique and endurance, range, clarity, and articulation, and gain greater understanding and appreciation for jazz. Beyond music, Alex aspires to attend The University of Texas and study Petroleum or Mechanical Engineering.
Cosmo Lieberman - Alto Saxophone
Cosmo is a saxophone player who enjoys music in all forms – listening to music, attending live concerts, jamming with others, and performing for audiences. He loves busking, which he does in his southern California beach town. He loves nature, and enjoys walking near the ocean while listening to an album cover to cover. Cosmo began playing saxophone at age ten, taking private lessons, playing in jazz combos, and playing in his high school jazz band. Cosmo has become quite accomplished among young musicians, collecting accolades such as the Mira Costa High School Honors Musician Award, Colburn Herbert Zipper Scholarship, and the YoungArts Merit Award.
Cosmo’s musical influences are Immanuel Wilkins, Jon Gordon, and Jackie McLean. Through the Workshop, he is looking to grow musical relationships, seeking bonds and meaningful musical interactions, expanding his improvisation abilities.
Levi Rozek - Trumpet
Young trumpeter Levi has already studied under an impressive assemblage of jazz musicians including Vail Jazz Party performer Sean Jones, Vail Jazz Workshop Alumna Tia Fuller, and Workshop instructor Wycliffe Gordon! Levi has played in several bands and ensembles, and has received several accolades for his solo abilities.
Levi’s musical influences are Lee Morgan, Roy Hargrove, and Marquis Hill. He comes to Vail this summer to once again study under Wycliffe Gordon, to focus on ensemble playing, and to make connections to last throughout his upcoming musical career. He has aspirations to create a jazz program that introduces younger audiences to this artform.
Ben Schwartz - Drums
Ben is a 16-year-old jazz drummer from New York who has been playing drums since he was six years old. At a very young age, Ben was selected into the Jazz House Kids program, and received praise, and also advice from mentor Ted Chubb which helped to shape his musician education and aspirations. In addition to drumming, Ben has a wide range of interests including baseball, music production, fishing, running cross country, walking around NYC, wilderness camping, snowboarding, discovering new music, and learning to drive. He is active in community service projects and actively works with disabled communities, and raises money to provide music lessons for the incarcerated.
Ben’s musical influences include Max Roach, Lewis Nash, and Justin Tyson. He is excited to learn and be mentored by one of his biggest influences, and is especially interested to learn techniques from Lewis’ grooves, brush soloing and MVP mindset. Ben plans to attend college in the fall of 2024.
Lorenzo Wolczko - Bass
Lorenzo comes to the Vail Jazz Workshop from the San Francisco Bay Area, where he has lived his entire life. His musical journey started in 3rd grade with piano, and he began playing bass in 8th grade, at the age of 12. Now, Lorenzo plays mostly in combos and composes original tunes, written both solo and with friends. He plays mostly acoustic jazz, some bebop and some modern. He enjoys exploring the music of the legends that have come before him, like Immanuel Wilkins, Chick Corea, Chris Potter, Nate Smith, and the John Coltrane Quartet.
Lorenzo’s musical influences include Ray Brown, Brian Bromberg, and Christian McBride. The Workshop was recommended to him by friends who are now Alumni, including Skylar Tang, George Rogers, and Alex Perry, who have seen the Workshop create opportunities and lifelong friendships. He plans to make the most of this musical opportunity before heading to college in the fall, where he hopes to continue his musical journey.
Lucas Perry - Piano
Lucas Perry comes to the Workshop from San Francisco, where he is a senior at SF University High. He fell in love with jazz at age four, started piano at age five, and has been playing and composing ever since. Lucas is a four-time YoungArts winner (jazz composition and piano), a Jazz at the Ballroom Scholarship Recipient, a Downbeat Composition First Place Winner, as well as a two-time Downbeat First Place Winner for honors combo performance. A member of the SFJAZZ High School All-stars and the CJC Advanced High School Combo, he has been playing regularly for senior citizens since fifth grade and presently teaches music at a “last chance” high school. He gigs around the Bay Area and plays in a jazz piano duo with his twin brother, also a VJ Workshop Alumni. Outside of music, Lucas enjoys drawing, basketball, and creating original math proofs.
Lucas’ musical influences include McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans and Chick Corea. At the Workshop, he hopes to become a better listener and to react to others as they play, practice staying in the pocket, building rhythm with both hands, and comping more efficiently.
Luke Ramee - Trombone
Luke Ramee is a talented 15-year-old trombonist coming to Vail from Raleigh, North Carolina. He started playing trombone at age eight and jazz at age nine. He has always been fascinated by jazz, and prioritized listening to new albums and players, learning new songs and transcriptions, and challenging himself to play at his highest level. His musical accomplishments run deep, and he has studied with many accomplished educators, including Workshop Alumni Jeffery Miller. Outside of music, Luke enjoys playing and watching basketball, biking and keeping up with current events.
Luke’s musical influences are JJ Johnson, Slide Hampton, and Steve Davis. His aspiration for the Workshop is to become a better musician not only individually but in an ensemble. He is excited to learn from one of his favorite trombone players Wycliffe Gordon.
Ruby Farmer - Bass
Ruby is a bass player who comes to the Workshop from Brooklyn, NY. In addition to bass, she plays (and teaches!) classical guitar. She is the recipient of many accolades including the Billy Strayhorn Jazz Education Scholarship and DownBeat Student Music Award, and has played in notable ensembles, including her female funk trio. Academically, Ruby excels in physics, philosophy and geometry, and interestingly, how they play together. Additionally, she is interested in knitting and thrifting, and has a knack for repurposing vintage fashion. She also loves fishing with her dad, teaching math, and playing tennis.
Ruby’s musical influences are Eddie Gomez, Oscar Pettiford and Ron Carter. At the Workshop, she is excited to learn from John Clayton, the other faculty members, and fellow students. She wants to focus on growing her network of fellow musicians, applying more jazz theory to improvisation, and gaining more comfort in translating her thoughts to her instrument.
Zeb Jewell-Alibhai - Trumpet
Zebedee is a 17-year-old saxophone player originally from southern Portugal, now living in Durham North Carolina. He first began playing soprano saxophone at age six, trumpet at age nine, and tenor saxophone at age 12. He began his musical studies with classical music before transitioning to jazz. He has been awarded many musical scholarships and played in an impressive array of big bands, combos and even solo. Zebedee has performed not only in North Carolina but across the country, and his band is actively fundraising to support artists hit by the pandemic. In addition to playing music, he enjoys biking and competitive running.
Zebedee’s musical influences are Roy Hargrove, Sean Jones and Wynton Marsalis. His goals for the Workshop are to make new friends and connections, and to build more personality and emotion into improvisation, both of which will help him to find his identity and sound as a musician.
Noah Buckner - Drums
Noah is a drummer from Brooklyn, NY, who loves to play and listen to music. His family has always been heavily involved in the arts, which has inspired and allowed him to take a musical journey. Noah has played in several big bands, but enjoys all types of jazz, and particularly loves attending live performances. In addition to music, Noah loves reading, surfing, and mentoring younger musicians at his school.
Noah’s musical influences are Max Roach, Brian Blade and Elvin Jones. Hi goals for the Workshop are to learn from the esteemed faculty, including drum instructor Lewis Nash. He wishes to make connections with the other students, and collaborate with them to grow as a musician. He also wants to take his learnings back home to the young aspiring musicians he mentors.
William Schwartzman - Piano
William is a pianist from Los Angeles, CA. William has a broad range of jazz interests, having studied bebop, ragtime and stride, latin and bossa nova, modern jazz approaches, and even free jazz. He loves listening to music, both to learn and enjoy, and loves both jazz and classical Outside of music, William enjoys mediation, tennis, math and reading. He is active in his community and plays music at a retirement home and participates in environmental initiatives around his home.
William’s musical influences are Red Garland, Bill Evans and Brad Mehldau. He is excited to be learning alongside some of the best young musicians in the country and hopes to gain lasting friendships with his new Workshop family. He looks to this experience to provide not only musical growth, but personal growth as well.
Who can apply?
The workshop is a residency program for twelve dedicated and gifted young jazz musicians who have demonstrated a commitment to their musical studies and a level of skill to warrant special attention. The level of talent of the students attending the workshop is extremely high. Therefore only students who can play at the highest level will likely gain admission to the workshop.
Students attending the workshop must be at least 15 years of age and not more than 19 years of age (determined as of August 27, 2022) and must be a full time student enrolled in a high school (grades 9 – 12) or home schooled in compliance with appropriate local law during the school year completed just prior to the workshop. Applicants who have just graduated from high school may apply but an applicant may not have attended a university, college, junior college or other post high school educational institution on a full time basis, nor may an applicant have attended a prior workshop.
The workshop is only open to students whose primary instruments are the following: piano, bass, drums, trumpet, saxophone and trombone. Currently no other instruments are accepted into the workshop.
Jan - Apr 2022
Director of Education, Bass Instructor
1955 - 2020