The Eastman School of Music, of the University of Rochester, is excited to announce that säje, the two-time GRAMMY®-nominated vocal jazz ensemble featuring newly appointed Associate Professor of Jazz Voice Sara Gazarek – will make their Rochester debut in Eastman’s Kilbourn Hall on Saturday, April 6, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. säje (rhymes with beige) is, states Forbes, “blazing a new trail for female composers and performers in the jazz world.”
“I’m out of my skin excited for my new Eastman School of Music family (and greater Rochester community) to have a glimpse into my musical soul with the upcoming performance of my GRAMMY®-nominated vocal ensemble, säje,” shares Gazarek enthusiastically. “The sisterhood that has been cultivated by this compositional collective is a genre-bending, expectation-pushing, heart-exploding experience that is very near and dear to my heart, and it’s an honor to have the opportunity to present them in what feels like a musical ‘open house’ of my recent appointment.”
The vocal supergroup, comprised of jazz vocalists and composers Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor, Johnaye Kendrick and Erin Bentlage, brings together the unique careers and perspectives of each of these accomplished artists to create a lauded, unique body of work, ranging from compelling original music and contemporary reimagining to fresh takes on jazz standards. The group has received the John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize Award for their second composition “Wisteria,” a nomination for “Best Vocal Jazz Group” by the Jazz Journalists Association Awards and two GRAMMY® nominations: first in 2020 for their composition “Desert Song” and most recently in 2023 for their arrangement and collaboration with Jacob Collier, “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” The collective’s eponymous debut album was released in August of this year, landing at #2 on the Billboard Jazz and iTunes Jazz charts, and features their original works, as well as collaborations with such highly regarded artists as Terri Lyne Carrington, Ambrose Akinmusire, Collier and many others.
“Students, faculty and beyond will have a chance to hear the energy and vision that I strive to bring to my appointment at Eastman,” continues Gazarek. She hopes that everyone will “leave the performance feeling more connected and excited about the new jazz voice program at the school.”
Tickets to this performance, and all Eastman Presents concerts, are on sale now and can be purchased online, in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main St.) or by calling 585-274-3000. To learn more about these performances, and other upcoming events from the Eastman School of Music, visit our Concerts and Events Calendar.
Media only: Lauren Sageer, Assistant Director of Public Relations and Digital Content,
(585) 451-8492, email@example.com
The double GRAMMY® nominated vocal supergroup, säje (rhymes with “beige”), is the brainchild of vocalist/composers Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor, Johnaye Kendrick, and Erin Bentlage. Born out of close friendship and deep admiration, these world-renowned artists, composers, and arrangers have come together to explore, create, and celebrate the music that moves them. As individuals, each artist has crafted their own notable solo career, and now are delighted to bring their collective voices to this union, traversing a vast array of compelling original material, beloved jazz standards, and contemporary re-imaginings (The Bad Plus, YEBBA, Björk, etc). After debuting an inspiring and energized set at the 2020 Jazz Education Network Conference in New Orleans, säje went on to tour multiple jazz festivals and clubs from January to March. During quarantine, säje received their first GRAMMY® nomination, for their composition “Desert Song” in the Best Arrangement Instruments and Vocals category. They were awarded the John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize Award for their second composition “Wisteria”, as well as their first Jazz Journalists Association Award Nomination for “Best Vocal Jazz Group”. The collective also recently received gracious support for their continued work through the Chamber Music of America New Jazz Works grant, the Super Patron Grant, the Jazz Road Creative Residencies grant, and the USC Visions + Voices grant. Their highly anticipated debut album was released in August of 2023, featuring new original work and compelling covers, highlighting collaborations with artists Jacob Collier, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ambrose Akinmusire, and more. The album was received to critical acclaim, and wide reception, landing a #2 spot on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart, peaking at #4 on the iTunes Jazz Chart, and landing a GRAMMY® nomination for their collaboration with Jacob Collier, “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning”. The union of säje is rooted in the tradition of joy, curiosity, lush harmony, heartfelt expression, and profound sisterhood.
About Eastman School of Music:
The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854–1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training.
More than 900 students are enrolled in the Collegiate Division of the Eastman School of Music—about 500 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. They come from almost every state, and approximately 23 percent are from other countries. They are taught by a faculty comprised of more than 130 highly regarded performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. They are Pulitzer Prize winners, Grammy winners, Emmy winners, Guggenheim fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, published authors, recording artists, and acclaimed musicians who have performed in the world’s greatest concert halls. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 900 concerts to the Rochester community. Additionally, more than 1,700 members of the Rochester community, from young children through senior citizens, are enrolled in the Eastman Community Music School.
About the University of Rochester:
The University of Rochester is one of the nation’s leading private research universities, one of only 62-member institutions in the Association of American Universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives undergraduates exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College, School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery.