Zach Sheets (b. 1991) enjoys a multi-faceted career as a chamber musician, orchestral flutist, composer/performer, and advocate for funding in the arts and music education.
Zach has appeared as guest Principal Flute with the Boston Ballet and Spoleto Festival USA; the Portland, Albany and Cape Symphonies; and the Phoenix, Unitas, and Cape Cod Chamber Orchestras; and as a guest of the Boston Pops, Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Chorus Pro Musica, and New World Symphony. At 23, Zach was named Principal Flute, Lyndon Paul Lorusso Chair, of the Cape Symphony Orchestra; and is a founding member of the [Switch~ Ensemble] and flute & piano Duo Axis.
Photo by Justin McCallum Photography
Awards include a 2021 Artist Fellowship from the Mass Cultural Council, a 2020 St. Botolph Club Emerging Artist Award, 3rd prize in the 2019 San Diego Flute Guild Young Artist Competition, 1st prize in the 2017 Byron Hester Competition, and 1st prize in the 2015 Tallon Perkes Competition.
Festival engagements include the Spoleto Festival USA, Aldeburgh Festival, Cabrillo Festival 2022, Royaumont Voix Nouvelles, Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, TIME:SPANS, ManiFeste@IRCAM, Klangspuren Ensemble Modern Academy, SinusTON, and June in Buffalo Festivals. During his two summers with the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, he performed as principal flute for the North American premiere of Helmut Lachenmann's Das mädchen mit den schwefelhölzern and gave the premiere of his own solo flute work on Spoleto's Music in Time series.
Zach and longtime collaborator Wei-Han Wu have performed recitals throughout the US as Duo Axis, presented by UC San Diego, Brown University, the University of Chicago, UC Davis Artists-in-Residence program, the University at Buffalo's Creative Arts Initiative, the Houston Flute Club, Æpex Contemporary Performance, the EQ Concert Series, the Knutson Masters Series, and more. Duo Axis projects have been funded by the Copland, Ditson, Barlow, and Koussevitzky Foundations. As a founding member of the [Switch~ Ensemble], Zach has performed as ensemble-in-residence at Bard College, University of Chicago, Cornell, Eastman School of Music, Harvard Group for New Music, Ithaca College, University of Miami, and UC Berkeley.
In addition to his work with Duo Axis and [Switch~], Zach has performed with Ensemble Signal, the Talea Ensemble, and the Callithumpian Consort. Zach often works closely with influential composers to perform and premiere new works, including: George Lewis, Anthony Cheung, Philippe Leroux, Katharina Rosenberger, Timothy McCormack, Matthew Ricketts, David Bird, Esaias Järnegard, Adrien Trybucki, Anna-Louise Walton, Alican Camci, Zachary James Watkins, Leilehua Lanzilotti, Kelley Sheehan, Carolina Heredia, Christine Burke, and Alex Stephenson.
As a composer himself, Zach's works have been performed in the U.S. and abroad by some of the world's foremost interpreters of contemporary music, including the Ensemble InterContemporain, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, and the International Contemporary Ensemble. In November of 2016 he completed a month-long residency with the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne at their renowned FORUM international des jeunes compositeurs, for which his new work, from cairn terrain, was awarded the 1° prix du jury and the 2016 Lorraine Vaillancourt Prize.
Zach has received generous support to help refine his musical thinking, including artist residencies at the Marble House Project and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, a fellowship to attend the 2013 Écoles d'Art Américaines at Fontainebleau, a 2012-2013 Artist Development Fellowship from the Harvard Office for the Arts, a John Knowles Paine Traveling Fellowship, a Belle S. Gitelman Award, an Edward Vitali Scholarship, and the Bernard Rogers Composition Prize.
Zach is currently the Senior Director of Major and Institutional Gifts at Community Music Center of Boston, where he is overseeing a $10M capital campaign and an annual portfolio $1M in gifts and grants in support of arts education in the Boston Public Schools. He is formerly Managing Director of the Talea Ensemble and has consulted on fundraising and nonprofit management with a wide range of organizations. Read more about my work in the nonprofit sector here.
Mentors include Robert Morris, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Chaya Czernowin, John Luther Adams, Roger Reynolds, Amnon Wolman, Nicholas Vines, and Erik Nielsen (composition); Bonita Boyd, Ransom Wilson, Cynthia Meyers, Judy Grant, and Heidi Baxter (flute); Oliver Schneller, Allan Schindler and Hans Tutschku (electronics); Robert Levin, Federico Cortese, Kenneth Grant, and Jean Barr (chamber music); Vanessa Rose (development). Zach holds a B.A. in Music & French Literature from Harvard University and an MM & Performer’s Certificate from Eastman School of Music.