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 25 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 (with LSAT, Earth, Wind & Fire, and others). She performs regularly as a leader and sideman in a wide variety of ensembles and genres including Sherrie Maricle & the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, LSAT, and the Alexa Tarantino Quartet/Quintet.
Alexa spent this past Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 performing in The New Group’s Off-Broadway Production of SWEET CHARITY starring Sutton Foster and directed by Leigh Silverman. Prior to SWEET CHARITY, she spent a year with Maurice Hines and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra as part of Hines’ production “Tappin’ Thru Life” for the show’s runs in Delaware, Off-Broadway in New York City, and Philadelphia.
Tarantino’s recent projects 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. The duo has performed/been in residence at the Academy of Music in Krakow, Poland, Berklee College of Music, The Hartt School of Music, 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, Tarantino 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, she 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.
Tarantino maintains a private studio and continues to visit several colleges, high schools, and summer jazz programs as a guest clinician. She is 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 is also a Teaching Artist with the Institute for Creative Music in Rochester, New York. Tarantino recently served as Jazz Saxophone Faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and is currently the Saxophone, Clarinet, and Flute Instructor at the LREI Schools in New York City. She holds degrees in Jazz Saxophone Performance and Music Education as well as a certificate in Arts Leadership from the Eastman School of Music. Tarantino is a graduate of Hall High School’s award-winning music program in West Hartford, Connecticut and currently resides in New York City.