Zach Sheets (b. 1991) enjoys a multi-faceted career as a chamber musician, composer, orchestral flutist, and arts administrator. Zach is Principal Flute, Lyndon Paul Lorusso Chair, of the Cape Cod Symphony; flutist for the [Switch~ Ensemble]; one half of flute & piano Duo Axis; and oversees foundation and government grants for Community Music Center of Boston.
As an active freelancer, he has performed with the Boston Ballet, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Albany Symphony, Portland Symphony, Slee Sinfonietta, Ensemble Signal, the New World Symphony, Talea Ensemble, Chorus Pro Musica, and more. Zach was the 1st prize winner of the 2017 Byron Hester Competition, 1st prize in the 2015 Tallon Perkes Competition, 3rd prize in the 2019 San Diego Flute Guild Young Artist Competition, and was invited to perform in both the Astral Artists 2015 National Auditions and the Concert Artists Guild 2015 Victor Elmaleh Competition.
During the summer, he has performed as part of the Spoleto Festival USA, Aldeburgh Festival, Royaumont Voix Nouvelles, Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, ManiFeste-17, Klangspuren Ensemble Modern Academy, Colorado College Music Festival, Ritsos Project, and June in Buffalo Festival. 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.
As a composer, 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. 2016 also brought a new orchestra commission for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, as part of their 6-city "Made-in-Vermont" tour, as well as chamber works for the Ogni Suono saxophone duo, Wolftone Duo, and sax/piano duo Phil Pierick and Kurt Galvan. See works to watch / listen.
Formative performances of Zach’s works include: with Lucas Vis and the Ensemble InterContemporain, featured as part of ManiFest-2015 in Paris; with James Baker and the Talea Ensemble as part of the Harvard Group for New Music 2011-2012 concert season; at the Écoles d'arts américaines at Fontainebleau in 2013; and with the Juventas New Music Ensemble, the Brattle Street Chamber Players, cellist Séverine Ballon, the Vermont Youth Orchestra, members of the [Switch~ Ensemble], and many others.
Alongisde pianist Wei-Han Wu, Duo Axis has presented recitals throughout the US. Recent engagements include a recital and teaching at University of Chicago, a week-long residency at University at Buffalo, and more. Duo Axis has been presented by Æpex Contemporary Performance, the EQ Concert Series, Buffalo's Creative Arts Initiative, the nth degree chamber series, and others. Thanks to funding from New Music USA, their landmark first project was a six-city recital tour in Spring 2016, featuring newly-commissioned works by Katherine Balch, Ashkan Behzadi, Gabriel Bolaños, and David Clay Mettens. Recent highlights also include the European premiere of Rand Steiger’s Light on Water, and new works by Tonia Ko (Guggenheim Fellow) and Anthony Vine (Winner, Gaudeamus Prize).
As a member of the [Switch~ Ensemble], Zach has performed as part of residencies in music departments at Bard College, Buffalo State University, University of Chicago, Cornell, Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College, and UC Berkeley, with upcoming engagements at Harvard University and UC San Diego. With [Switch~], Zach has performed in premieres by such leading composers as Timothy McCormack, Esaias Järnegard, Adrien Trybucki, Elvira Garifzyanova, Anna-Louise Walton, Matt Sargent, Alican Camci, Igor Santos, and dozens more.
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 Managing Director of the [Switch~ Ensemble] and Manager of Institutional Giving at Community Music Center of Boston, where he oversees a $1M portfolio of gifts and grants in support of music 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 that 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.