Jazz saxophonist and composer Zachary Bornheimer has already built a national and international reputation having performed in Florida, New York, Chicago, Italy, France, and England. Bornheimer is known for his forward-looking, dynamic, yet lyrical improvisations as well as his highly honed, systematic approach to practicing. His compositions have won various awards and have been performed by various musicians nationally and internationally.
Saxophonist and composer Zachary Bornheimer is a rising young musician centered in Tampa, FL. Studying with Chuck Owen on fellowship at the University of South Florida, Bornheimer's works have been performed by various USF Ensembles including the USF Jazztet in Europe and USF Jazz Ensemble 1 with guest artists. As a performer he has performed in the United States and Europe with the University of South Florida and others.
Bornheimer was the first two-time winner of the Owen Prize in Jazz Composition. He was award the 2016 prize for Henry, which was composed and premiered by Donny McCaslin & USF Jazz Ensemble 1 and the 2017 prize for his composition Elegy in 2017. His piece Color Shift was among the finalists for the 2015 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award and was among those selected to be featured during New Music Workshops for the 2017 International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC) Symposium. Bornheimer was recently named a Ravinia's Steans Music Institute (RSMI) Fellow for the 2017 Program for Jazz.
Bornheimer's most recent release is 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 (until his graduate recital). Strikingly unique compositions and arrangements have been pervasive through Bornheimer’s works, being commissioned by various ensembles including the USF Jazztet, USF Jazz Ensemble 1, Andrew Allen Trio + Friends, and Paul Gavin & Full Force.
When completing his graduate degree in Jazz Composition under Chuck Owen at the University of South Florida on Graduate Fellowship, Bornheimer assembled his Jazz Orchestra, a tour de force of musicianship and power, with some of the best and well respected musicians in the area in the Central Florida area. The premiere performance of the Jazz Orchestra earned one of the largest audiences to attend a student performance (even larger than some USF Ensemble concerts) and one of the fastest standing ovations on record. The orchestra blends free, orchestral, fusion, Brazilian, swing, and post-bop jazz elements into an emotionally satiating, exploratory, and enriching sound.
As a saxophonist, Bornheimer has performed with with local and national ensembles including the USF Jazztet, USF Jazz Ensemble 1, Paul Gavin & Full Force, the Jazz Legacy Big Band, Samba Jazz Quartet, the New Jazz Standards Quartet, Andrew Allen Trio + Friends, La Lucha, Jack Wilkins & Friends, and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra at various venues including the Umbria Jazz Festival, Jazz à Vienne, the Wigan Jazz Festival, and the Birmingham Jazz Festival. Professionally as a sideman or soloist, he has performed at the Jewel of the Ridge Jazz Festival and the Hague Jazz Festival and, as a member of the top Big Band at USF, performed with Danny Gottlieb, Frank Greene, Christine Jensen, Maria Schneider, Rufus Reid, Steve Houghton, Ryan Truesdell, Gary Smulyan, Michael Dease, and Ron Blake. He has studied clarinet with Brian Moorhead, saxophone & flute with Valerie Gillespie, saxophone with Jack Wilkins, saxophone, flute, and composition with Dean Eaves, composition with Chuck Owen, and has taken a lesson or two from Ralph Bowen, Rick Margitza, and Maria Schneider.
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.