About/Bio

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Saxophonist and composer Zachary Bornheimer is a rising young musician in the Tampa area, performing internationally throughout Florida and Europe.  Bornheimer’s unique sound as a saxophonist fuses his early and late influences of John Coltrane, Chris Potter, Sonny Rollins, Maria Schneider, Michael Brecker, Joe Henderson, and Miles Davis into a unique sound all his own.

He recently released his 7-part Suite for Jazz Quintet, The Emotional Suite, on a 7-part album called Emotional, Vol. 1: Live at the University of South Florida.  This recording is an exploration into the late 60’s Avant-garde and the modern fusion eras while simultaneously writing to challenge and push his Quintet to new heights–the live performance of the suite had one of the largest audiences and quickest standing ovations of any USF recital within recent years.  Strikingly unique compositions and arrangements have been pervasive through Bornheimer’s works, being debuted by various ensembles including the USF Jazztet, USF Jazz Ensemble 1, and Paul Gavin & Full Force.  His composition, Color Shift, was among the Finalists for the 2015 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award.

Bornheimer is currently studying composition with Chuck Owen at the University of South Florida on a Graduate Fellowship.  In his undergraduate career, studying saxophone with both Valerie Gillespie and, the director of Jazz Studies, Jack Wilkins, Bornheimer traveled to Europe with the USF Jazztet, the premier Jazz Ensemble at USF.  With the Jazztet, he performed at the Umbria Jazz Festival, Jazz à Vienne, the Wigan Jazz Festival, and the Birmingham Jazz Festival, among others.  Additionally, as a member of the top Big Band at USF, performed with Maria Schneider, Rufus Reid, Steve Houghton, Ryan Truesdell, Gary Smulyan, and Michael Dease.

As a saxophonist, Bornheimer has performed with with local and national ensembles including the USF Jazztet, USF Jazz Ensemble 1, Southtown Fever, Paul Gavin & Full Force, Drum’n’Brass, the Jazz Legacy Big Band, the When We Were Young Band, and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.  He also has studied clarinet with Brian Moorhead, flute with Valerie Gillespie, saxophone, flute, and composition with Dean Eaves, and has taken a few lessons from Ralph Bowen and Rick Margitza.

Growing up in South Florida, Bornheimer was exposed to a wide variety of music.  His mom, on Sunday afternoons, would play cassettes of David Sanborn while driving home; that music always bothered him because it reminded him that the weekend was over.  Eventually, he grew to like school and didn’t mind David Sanborn.  In fact, Sanborn is one of his early influences.  USF alumni Ryan Lupton, one of his first teachers, exposed him to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, and Michael Brecker, all of which play a major role for his musical ear.

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