Originally from West Hartford, Connecticut, Alexa Tarantino is an award-winning, vibrant, young jazz saxophonist, woodwind doubler, composer, and educator. She is passionate about developing and expressing her voice as an improviser, and inspiring others to do the same through jazz education.
Although only 23 years old, Tarantino has already played such prestigious venues as the Umbria Jazz Festival (with Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project), the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Rockport Jazz Festival (Alexa Tarantino Quintet) and the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, where she was invited to share the stage with Earth, Wind & Fire. Alexa performs regularly as a leader and sideman in the Rochester area and beyond in a wide variety of ensembles and genres including Tarantino/Terefenko, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, the Dave Rivello Ensemble, and the Alexa Tarantino Quartet/Quintet. Beginning December 2015, you will find her on stage with Maurice Hines and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra as part of Hines’ production “Tappin’ Thru Life” at the New World Stage Theaters in New York City.
Tarantino’s recent efforts include a collaboration with Eastman Professor and jazz pianist Dariusz Terefenko. The duo released their first album, “Crossing Paths,” in January 2015 on Alexa’s new label, Infinite Records. The album explores the potential of interactive improvisation using lesser-known standard tunes as well as 20th century post tonal compositions and original material. They recently returned from a week in Poland, performing and teaching at the Academy of Music in Krakow. The duo has also performed/been in residence at The Hartt School, SUNY Oswego, the Jazz Education Network’s Fifth Annual Conference, Saint Peter’s Church in NYC, and the Hartford Public Library’s Baby Grand Jazz Series.
Prominent amongst her numerous honors, Alexa won the 2014 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Saxophone Competition; was selected as one of five finalists in the 2014 North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) Jazz Competition; and received the Jazz Education Network’s Women in Jazz Scholarship, “in recognition of dedication, talent, and service in the field of jazz studies and leadership into the future.” In 2013, Alexa was invited to participate in the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, a three-week intensive residency where she collaborated with faculty such as Vijay Iyer, Esperanza Spalding, and Ravi Coltrane.
Alexa maintains a private studio and continues to visit several colleges, high schools, and summer jazz programs as a guest clinician. She is also the Founder and Director of the Rockport Jazz Camp in Rockport, Massachusetts, bringing seasoned artists and educators to work with local students to create a unique and inspiring experience for the community. She completed her undergraduate education at the Eastman School of Music, graduating with degrees in Jazz Saxophone Performance and Music Education, as well as a certificate in Arts Leadership. She is a graduate of Hall High School’s award-winning music program in West Hartford, Connecticut.