Full Bio

Jazz Saxophonist, composer, and GRAMMY® Award Winning Album Associate Producer Zachary Bornheimer has already built a national and international reputation having performed in Florida, New York, Chicago, Italy, France, and England.

Studying with Jazz Composition 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.

Most recently, Bornheimer served as Associate Producer on Maria Schneider's Internationally Acclaimed and Awarded Data Lords double-disc album providing assistance during the mixing, mastering, and post-production stages in addition to providing copywork assistance for the project.

Bornheimer served as an instructor at Eckerd College from 2018-2021 giving private and course instruction on jazz ensemble playing, composition, and saxophone specifically.  At Eckerd, Bornheimer developed his robust & systematic approach to jazz education and music education as a whole.

Bornheimer was the first two-time winner of the Owen Prize in Jazz Composition, awarded the 2016 prize for Henry (composed and premiered by Donny McCaslin & USF Jazz Ensemble 1), and the 2017 prize for his composition Elegy.   His piece Color Shift was among the finalists for the 2015 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award and was featured during New Music Workshops for the 2017 International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC) Symposium.  Bornheimer was named a Ravinia's Steans Music Institute (RSMI) Fellow for the 2017 Program for Jazz by Rufus Reid.  He returned to Ravinia in late 2017 to perform as a part of the prestigious Ravinia All Star Quintet.

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Bornheimer's most recent recording, Year in Review: 2018 [Limited Edition] explores several recordings made during 2018 during his Patreon Experiment. This recording features quintet, big band, string quartet + jazz rhythm, and jazz trio in a variety of compositional sub-genres.

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Bornheimer's most recent dedicated Quintet release is 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 few lessons 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.

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