Chicago Artists Workshop Presents: Nick Zoulek
“…Zoulek’s performance, on saxophones in every range, is stunningly virtuosic, whatever the genre.” -The Wall Street Journal
A modern saxophonist of “pure mindfulness and talent” (PopMatters), Nick Zoulek’s focus on performance, collaboration, multimedia, and improvisation, has led to a diverse portfolio of distinctive artistic ventures, performing across France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.
As a soloist, Nick’s craft has been lauded as “wickedly contagious” (The Huffington Post) with the capacity to “[take] you to other worlds” (Milwaukee Magazine). The versatility Nick displays on the saxophone has been praised as “[b]eautiful harmonies [singing] in contrast to mysterious knockings and hums, and finally to ungodly, soul-shattering blasts” (Shepherd Express). Bringing together diverse musical landscapes, Nick’s performances traverse genre, bringing together classical, jazz, experimental, and rock idioms. He has garnered numerous awards as a classical soloist, and has been featured in concerti with the University of Wisconsin Whitewater Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Wind Ensemble, and the Boulogne Ensemble du Vent. Committed to advancing the classical saxophone, Nick performs frequently as a visiting guest artist at universities across the United States, most recently as the featured artist of the Shockingly Modern Saxophone Festival and as the year-long Artist in Residence for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee SENSORIA series.
As an interdisciplinary artist, Nick is “a no-holds-barred engine of avant-garde exploration,” (Portland Press Herald). Currently, Nick is working on his second album project, Enter Branch, which will combine his performance and compositions with members of Bon Iver, Eighth Blackbird, Field Report, the Tontine Ensemble, ~nois saxophone quartet, and many more. He has served as music director with Wild Space Dance Company, and has scored and performed dance works with the Madison Ballet, HYPERlocal, and with members of Zenon and Like You Mean It dance companies. Nick often works with film and animation, experimenting with the expressive potential of visual media. His films center on self-composed scores, and have been screened at festivals in England, Canada, Serbia, Africa, and around the United States. Nick’s media works have garnered numerous awards, including Best Experimental Film from the London Modcon International Film Festival and Largo Film Festival. Nick’s music can be heard on Rushing Past Willow (INNOVA Records), which fuses all of facets of his work through self-composed pieces for alto, tenor, and bass saxophone.
Nick maintains an active profile researching the saxophone’s role in contemporary classical music, presenting on contemporary aesthetics and saxophone performance. He has served on faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (sabbatical replacement), teaching saxophone and jazz studies courses. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Contemporary Music Performance with a cognate in Digital Media from Bowling Green State University. Additionally, Nick holds 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 previously learned with Dr. John Sampen, Jean-Michel Goury, Dr. Matthew Sintchak, and Dr. Jon Amon.
Chicago Artists Workshop Presents: Susy Bielak & Fred Schmalz
Susy Bielak is an artist, writer, curator and educator. Her work has been collected, exhibited and performed widely, including by the International Print Center, Museo Tamayo, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, and Walker Art Center. Her artwork and writing have been published in Art Papers, Poetry Magazine, and New American Paintings, among others. Bielak received her MFA from the University of California San Diego. She is a 2020-21 BOLT artist in residence at Chicago Artists Coalition, and her ongoing collaborative with Fred Schmalz is currently in residence at Grand Central Art Center with support from the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Fred Schmalz is an artist and poet whose debut poetry collection, Action in the Orchards (Nightboat Books), responds to encounters with dance, music, and visual art. He was poet-in-residence for the LA Philharmonic’s 2018 FluxConcert in its season-long fluxus festival. His recent writing has appeared in Poetry, Conduit, and Oversound. He is currently an artist-in-residence at Grand Central Art Center in his ongoing art collaboration with Susy Bielak. He lives in Chicago, where he co-curates the Poetry & Biscuits reading series.
Chicago Artists Workshop Presents: Molly Joyce
Molly Joyce’s music has been described as “serene power” (New York Times), written to “superb effect” (The Wire), and “impassioned” (The Washington Post). Her work is primarily concerned with disability as a creative source. She has an impaired left hand from a previous car accident, and the primary vehicle in her pursuit is her electric vintage toy organ, an instrument she bought on eBay which suits her body and engages her disability on a compositional and performative level. Her creative projects have been presented at TEDxMidAtlantic, Bang on a Can Marathon, Danspace Project, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, National Gallery of Art, Classical:NEXT, National Sawdust, and featured in outlets such as Pitchfork, Red Bull Radio, and WNYC’s New Sounds. Molly is a graduate of The Juilliard School, Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Yale School of Music, alumnus of the YoungArts Foundation, and currently serves on the composition faculty at New York University Steinhardt.