Drew Zaremba is quickly earning a worldwide reputation as a passionate conductor, award-winning writer, and fiery performer. As a writer, he has composed and arranged pieces for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Wycliffe Gordon, Lee Loughane of “Chicago”, Chuck Findley, Eddie Gomez, Stefan Karlsson, Brad Leali, the Vietnam Classical Players, and Erin Dickins of the Manhattan Transfer. In 2017, Drew spent two months as a composer-in-residence at the Contemporary Music Institute in Zhuhai, China, where he wrote a concert of music combining Chinese Opera and jazz. He has published music through Sierra Music, and has recorded twenty of his pieces with the University of North Texas One and Two O’Clock Lab Bands. As a performer and composer, Drew participated in the prestigious Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center in 2013. In 2015, Drew was awarded 1st prize of $10,000 in the Sherman/Barsanti Inspiration Award at the University of North Texas (UNT) for his premier concert with his orchestra, the Unity Orchestra, which featured Eddie Gomez. His original compositions “Race to the Finish” and “Blues for Gabe” have won awards through the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers award and the JEN student composers showcase, respectively.
In addition to composing music, Drew is an esteemed performer. He maintains a busy work schedule in the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) area and is an active performing and recording artist on multiple instruments, including all of the saxophones, flute, clarinet, Hammond organ, and piano. In early 2017, Drew released his debut record “Two Sides of the Same Coin” where he is featured on both the saxophone and Hammond organ. During is studies at UNT, Drew garnered several accolades for his performances, including being named a winner for Downbeat’s Best Undergraduate Soloist in 2012 on saxophone, second place in the Vandoren Emerging Artist Competition in 2014, and also playing lead alto in the Disneyland All-American College Band in 2012.
Drew recently graduated from UNT with his master’s degree in jazz arranging and composition, where he played tenor and lead alto with the UNT One O’Clock Lab Band, recorded on six One and Two O’ Clock Lab Band albums, directed the Four O’Clock Lab Band, and served as Rich DeRosa’s teaching fellow for the arranging program. While at UNT, he had the privilege to perform and work with Bobby McFerrin, John Clayton, Mike Clark, Carol Welsman, Walt Weiskopf, and Billy Harper. As a bandleader, Drew assembled The Jazz Fellowship Big Band his senior year, mixing some of the best students and faculty into one big band to play and record his compositions. They continue to perform in the DFW area today.
Teaching is a fundamental part of being a jazz musician today, and Drew is happy to be in demand as a clinician and guest artist. He was given the title of visiting professor for his work at the Contemporary Music Institute in Zhuhai, China. Additionally, he has given clinics and guest artist performances in Brussels, London, The Netherlands, and in colleges around the United States, including Sam Houston State, University of Oklahoma, and UT Tyler. Drew also teaches at Arrowbear music camp in California and the Golden Jazz camp in Zhuhai, China annually.
The “Unity Orchestra” is Drew’s biggest project; a 50-member ensemble that features the best jazz and classical players in the DFW region. Drew serves as the artistic director; he conducts the ensemble and writes the majority of the compositions and arrangements. Their first concert in February 2015 featured the great bass player Eddie Gomez, and their second concert in 2016 was entitled “Reinterpreting Beethoven, Bach, and Chopin”, and featured Addison Frei on piano. Without an evident leader in the jazz orchestral realm, Drew’s goal is to make The Unity Orchestra the premiere jazz orchestra in the United States.