A modern artist with an impassioned eye toward the unification of contemporary art and sound, American saxophonist Nick Zoulek’s focus on collaboration, improvisation, and commissioning new works has led to a diverse portfolio of distinctive performances and artistic ventures. Working with a unique array of musicians and performers, including Wildspace Dance Company, multimedia musicians Netmoiré, and saxophonist Tommy Davis as part of Duo d’Entre-Deux, Nick’s craft has been lauded as “a delight”, and with the capacity to “[take] you to other worlds” (Milwaukee Magazine). Uniquely skilled as a bass saxophonist, the prowess and versatility Nick displays on the instrument has been praised as “[b]eautiful harmonies [singing] in contrast to mysterious knockings and hums, and finally to ungodly, soul-shattering blasts” (Shepherd Express). His forthcoming album, Rushing Past Willow (Spring 2016), fuses all of these facets of Nick’s work, and displays self-composed works for alto, tenor, and bass saxophone.
Nick maintains an active profile in researching the saxophone’s role in contemporary classical music, presenting on the instrument’s idiomatic aesthetics and its inclusion with digital arts. His work has been generously funded and well-recognized by Mid American Center for Contemporary Music, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, and the State of Wisconsin.
Widely adaptable as a classical, jazz, and experimental saxophonist, Nick has performed with ensembles at universities across the United States, including the University of Wisconsin Whitewater Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra, and has been a guest artist at universities including Kent State University and Oklahoma City University. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Contemporary Music Performance at Bowling Green State University with the guidance of Distinguished Artist Professor Dr. John Sampen. Nick holds a Master of Music Performance from BGSU, a Certificat des Études Musicales from the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régionale de Boulogne-Billancourt, and a Bachelor of Music Performance with Magna Cum Laude honors from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He has previously learned with Jean-Michel Goury, Dr. Matthew Sintchak, and Dr. Jon Amon. Nick is currently on faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he teaches saxophone and jazz courses.
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"...Mr. Zoulek’s performance, on saxophones in every range, is stunningly virtuosic, whatever the genre."
-The Wall Street Journal
"...a no-holds-barred engine of avant-garde exploration"
-The Portland Press Herald
"...a tour de force."
"...Rushing Past Willow pulls you into [a] swirling portal of disciplined arpeggiations packed with shifts and flourishes, bringing to mind the work of German synth pioneers like Cluster and early Tangerine Dream. However, Zoulek isn't triggering a synthesizer or twisting filter knobs-he's playing this stuff manually on a sax, which is insane for the amount of controlled dynamics he brings to the timbre, volume, and frequency spectrum."
"The beginning of “Leafless Against the Sky” is beautiful in its simplicity: the chemical interjects nature. The sound design warns of a plague. The chemical stains, and then grows. The tension builds and I am on the edge of my seat. There is so much frightening beauty in decay. Death by colour – the ending is visual poetry. The film is focused and measured and delivers exactly when it should. There is a superb sense of awareness towards rhythm. Hands down one of the best projects I’ve reviewed for this festival. The film is simple but kicks a punch – well done to the maker!"
-Break Big Film Festival
"...dark notes in the gathering twilight...the music stirred my bones."
"...[performed] with sensitivity and wit."
-Third Coast Digest
"...a delight...[will] take you to other worlds."
"Beautiful harmonies sang in contrast to mysterious knockings and hums, and finally to ungodly, soul shattering blasts."