August 1, 1951
|Occupation||Conductor, Arranger, Trumpeter|
Jeff Tyzik (born Jeff Tkazyik, August 1, 1951) is an American conductor, arranger, and trumpeter from Rochester, New York, working primarily with orchestral and jazz styles. As a conductor, Tyzik is well regarded for his innovative yet accessible programming. He's noted for teaching the RPO how to swing, and for his easy rapport with audiences.
Tyzik, born in Hyde Park, New York, started playing cornet at age 9, after being inspired by the buglers in an Independence Day parade in nearby Poughkeepsie. He switched to trumpet at age 11. He attended college at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, earning Bachelor of Music (1973) and Master of Music (1977) degrees.
While at Eastman, Tyzik met Rochesterian Chuck Mangione, who was teaching at the school at the time. Tyzik worked with Mangione between 1973 and 1980, both as lead trumpeter in Mangione's band and as co-producer of four albums. During this time, Tyzik also began a long collaboration with Doc Severinsen, when Severinsen brought Tyzik to London to work on two albums with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Tyzik recorded six albums as a solo trumpeter between 1981 and 1990, appearing on Capitol Records, Polydor Records (PolyGram), and Amherst Records. He performed in the Rochester area with his own big band in the late 1980s and early 1990s. During this time, Tyzik was also busy with Severinsen, serving as arranger and record producer for Severinsen and The Tonight Show Band. Tyzik won a Grammy Award in 1987 for producing the 1986 album The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen.
With the Rochester Philharmonic
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra approached Tyzik and Allen Vizzutti (a friend of Tyzik's from Eastman) in 1983 about creating a pops program for the orchestra. The resulting concert was a rousing success, and the pair spent the next decade working with orchestras around the country on similar programs.
In 1994, Tyzik was named Principal Pops Conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he still holds. Since then, he has established himself as one of the country's preeminent Pops conductors and arrangers, acting as Principal Pops Conductor for the RPO, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and as guest conductor for numerous other orchestras in the U.S., Canada, and even Monte Carlo. He also conducted the Brass Band of Battle Creek for a 1996 independent album.
His arrangements of popular and jazz tunes for full orchestra have been widely performed. Publisher G. Schirmer commissioned Tyzik to arrange some of Duke Ellington's jazz suites for orchestra, including Black, Brown and Beige and The Nutcracker Suite. The Royal Philharmonic, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and the Summit Brass have all recorded music arranged or composed by Tyzik.
Tyzik has recently begun branching out into more traditional orchestral styles, conducting a few RPO concerts outside of the Pops series. At one such concert, he premiered his own Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra, and later premiered his wind ensemble orchestration of the same piece with the Eastman Wind Ensemble at Carnegie Hall.
More recently, a recording by the RPO, with Tyzik conducting and Jon Nakamatsu on piano, of George Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F, Rhapsody in Blue, and Cuban Overture peaked at #3 on the Billboard classical charts. The album, released 8 May 2007 on the Harmonia Mundi label, received very positive reviews, with David Hurwitz calling it "unquestionably the best Gershwin disc to come along in years."
In addition to his primary position, with the RPO, Tyzik has been named Principal Pops Conductor for a number of other orchestras, and he guest-conducts extensively.
He is the Principal Pops Conductor of the Oregon Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, The Florida Orchestra, and (beginning in 2013) the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony.
- Farthest Corner of My Mind (1979, independent; 1981, Capitol; 1986, Amherst)
- Prophecy (1980, independent)
- Radiance (1982, Capitol)
- Jammin' in Manhattan (1984, Polydor)
- Smile (1985, Polydor)
- Distant Dreams (1990, Amherst)
- George Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F, Rhapsody in Blue, Cuban Overture (2007, Harmonia Mundi) (Jon Nakamatsu, piano; Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra)
- Barry, John W. (April 2, 2013). "Poughkeepsie native Jeff Tyzik is principal pops conductor for Rochester Philharmonic". Poughkeepsie Journal. Poughkeepsie, New York. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on April 15, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
- "Jeff Tyzik performs with the Oregon Symphony". OregonSymphony.com. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
- "Eastman School of Music Class Notes". Rochester Review. University of Rochester. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
- "RPO's Gershwin CD gets rave reviews". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-07-24.