"There are only two kinds of music in the world: good and bad," Jeff Tyzik said, quoting the great Duke Ellington. "I have never drawn lines about what I'll write, play, or think about, as long as it's good."
A tremendously versatile artist, Tyzik is many things to many people. Onstage, audiences love him for his engaging podium style and stellar trumpet playing. Behind the scenes, musicians love him for his brilliant arranging, intelligent programming and straight-shooting professionalism. An anomaly among conductors, Tyzik creates every one of his signature programs from scratch—including his programs with guest artists—and he always includes opportunities to feature members of the orchestra.
Born in Hyde Park, New York, Jeff Tyzik first fell in love with music at the age of eight when he saw a drum and bugle corps march by in a local parade. "For my ninth birthday, I said, 'I want a bugle!'" recalled Tyzik. But when he opened the case, he was crushed. "It wasn't a bugle. It was a cornet!"
He quickly forgot his initial disappointment, however, and began studying cornet with a teacher who had performed in the Goldman Memorial Band in the 20's. He immediately excelled. "I was always extremely serious about music, even at a young age. I was frustrated with the other kids when they didn't take it as seriously as I did." recalled Tyzik, adding, "I've always given all of my energy to anything I'm passionate about."
In 1983, Tyzik and Vizzutti were invited to create a new pops program for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. "We put together a half of a concert that had both jazz and classical styles. People went crazy! As a result, we started working with orchestras from Spokane to St. Louis. We found that the synthesis of jazz, pop and classical musical elements worked everywhere." Tyzik had initiated the basic programmatic style that he has been perfecting ever since.
Soon, Tyzik started receiving requests to do his own programs. "Orchestras were interested in hiring me as a conductor. They were looking for something new. I created a program with great arrangements that featured their players. My first orchestral big band show was an immediate hit with both audiences and orchestras."
Over the years, Tyzik has performed with orchestras in numerous schools across the country. "Some of my most incredible moments with orchestras have been outside the concert hall. One morning the Rochester Philharmonic and I were performing the Shostakovich Festival Overture in an inner city school for a thousand high school students. The kids had never heard music like this before. They were so moved by the power of that piece that we heard a spontaneous roar and got a standing ovation twenty seconds before the piece ended. We all learned a lesson that day about the effect of great music on the human spirit!"
In Rochester, he has won awards for his work in the public schools, including a Rotary International fellowship for community service. In addition to his educational work, Tyzik is an active member of the artistic community as a member of the Board of Managers at the Eastman School, where he also served on faculty for six years.
When he is not traveling, Tyzik spends his time with his wife, Jill, either at their home in Rochester, NY or on the North Fork of Long Island. Their most special moments are with their grandchildren Jemma and Jaxen. Jeff and Jill's daughter, Jami, shares her family's love of music. Jami earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and her Master of Music degree from Boston University's School of Music. Jami is the president of Greenberg Artists and Jeff Tyzik's manager for all facets of his musical endeavors.