A musician is an ambassador who presents the views and values of a culture, a catalyst of thought and emotion, who employs sound to communicate in a universal language.
American saxophonist Nick Zoulek, praised for performing with “sensitivity and wit” (Third Coast Digest), has bestowed the timbres and power of the contemporary saxophone upon audiences throughout the United States, France, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
A modern artist with an impassioned eye toward the unification of contemporary art and sound, Nick has commissioned and premiered works by such cutting-edge composers as François Rossé, Alain Louvier, Dennis Levaillant, and Etienne Rolin. With a keen sense for the profundity of both collaboration and improvisation, Nick has programmed three full-length multimedia shows with Wildspace Dance Company (Milwaukee 360, Carried Away, Luminous), blending movement and electronics with acoustic saxophone. Continuing his collaboration with dance, Nick has performed with Danceworks, the University of Wisconsin Dance Department, and members of the Like You Mean It and Zenon dance. His diverse teamwork with multimedia artists (Netmoiré, Jason Charney and Josh Simmons), and fellow musicians (Duo d’Entre-Deux, Tommy Davis) has been lauded as “a delight”, and with the capacity to “[take] you to other worlds” (Milwaukee Magazine). Uniquely skilled as a bass saxophonist, Nick’s prowess and versatility 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). Nick’s forthcoming debut album, Rushing Past Willow (August 28, 2016 on Innova Records), fuses all facets of Nick’s work, and features self-composed works for alto, tenor, and bass saxophones.
A concert saxophonist, Nick has been featured as a soloist with the University of Wisconsin Whitewater Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the UW-W Symphony Orchestra, and the UW-W Chamber Orchestra. He has performed as a visiting guest artist at universities across the United States, most recently at Wayne State University, Kent State University, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Missouri Southern State University, and Oklahoma City University. Receiving high acclaim for his performances, Nick has won prizes with the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra and Concord Chamber Orchestra, and honors including the Dahle Award, Geiryn Jazz Award, and the Raymond E. Light Scholarship.
Nick maintains an active profile researching the saxophone’s role in contemporary classical music. He has presented on the instrument’s idiomatic aesthetics and its inclusion with digital arts, funded by research grants from the Mid American Center for Contemporary Music and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, as well as numerous universities. He has been recognized by the State of Wisconsin for his work, receiving a Citation of Excellence for his studies on the contemporary classical saxophone in the collaborative setting.
Nick’s adaptability has been markedly influenced by his studies with renowned experimental musicians such as Joëlle Léandre, Matan Rubenstein, and Damien Nedonchelle, and jazz artists and clinicians including Jeff Coffin, Steve Weist, Clifford Gribble, Berkley Fudge, Carl Allen, Chris Vadala, and Marshall Gilkes.
Nick is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Contemporary Music Performance at Bowling Green State University with the guidance of Distinguished Artist Professor Dr. John Sampen. A dedicated teacher in his own right, Nick is currently on faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (sabbatical replacement), where he teaches saxophone and jazz courses. He has previously held a graduate assistantship in saxophone at BGSU and private studios in Paris and Wisconsin. Nick earned 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 learned with Jean-Michel Goury, Dr. Matthew Sintchak, and Dr. Jon Amon.