Born: December 24, 1978 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
A dedicated performer and educator, saxophonist Craig Yaremko has established himself as one of the most exciting and versatile young artists on the New York-area music scene. A dynamic performer on all saxophones, flutes and clarinets, Craig's diverse musical tastes have led to performances with world-class jazz, classical, rock and pop artists. Through this he has developed a distinctive approach as both a composer, performer and educator, delivering inspired performances both onstage and in the classroom. A native of Clifton, NJ, Craig received his M.A. in Music Education from Montclair State University and his B.F.A. in Jazz and Contemporary Music Performance from the New School University. During his years at the New School, Craig had the opportunity to study with many legends of jazz, including Jane Ira Bloom, Joanne Brackeen, Joe Chambers, Eddie Gomez, Barry Harris, Junior Mance, Cecil McBee, Ron McClure, Charles Tolliver, and Reggie Workman. He has also studied conducting with Dr. Thomas McCauley, Dr. Craig Kirchhoff and Dr. Mallory Thompson. During his formative years, his primary saxophone and woodwind teachers were Mark Friedman and Ken Hitchcock (who passed on the teachings of Joe Allard and Thomas Nyfenger). Craig has performed along side jazz artists Gerri Allen, Helio Alves, Tim Armacost, Jerry Bergonzi, Paul Bollenback, Don Braden, Paulo Braga, Randy Brecker, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Candido, Jimmy Cobb, Kermit Driscoll, Paquito D'Rivera, Wycliffe Gordon, Joe Magnarelli, Hendrik Meurkens, Paul Meyers, Bob Mintzer, Rufus Reid, John Riley, Dave Samuels, Bobby Sanabria, Byron Stripling, Dave Stryker, Dave Valentin, and Ray Vega. He has worked with some of the New York area's finest big bands, including an almost nine-year run as the lead alto saxophonist with the Cecil’s Big Band (directed by Mike Lee) at the now-closed Cecil’s Jazz Club. Other big band performances include Diane Moser's Composer's Big Band, the BMI Composer's Workshop (with Jim McNeely, Mike Holober and Michael Abene), as well as the bands of Bill Mobley, Russ Speigel, Bill Warfield, and Joe Elefante (receiving national exposure in the Wall Street Journal and on ABC's Nightline). Craig has appeared on numerous albums, including three albums with the Nathan Eklund Group (Coin Flip (2010), The Crooked Line (2007) and The View From Afar (2006)), two with the Michael Treni Big Band (Boys Night Out (2012) and Turnaround (2009), both featuring saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi) and Willy Dalton and the Real Deal Big Band (Real Deal Big Band (2012)). A truly eclectic musician, Craig has also performed with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, New York City Symphony, and numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway pit orchestras. He has backed-up such artists as Clay Aiken, Frankie Avalon, Lou Christie, the DuPrees, Linda Eder, Fabian, Michael Feinstein, Connie Francis, Aretha Franklin, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Patti LuPone, Johnny Mathis, Bobby Rydell, Paul Sorvino, The Teenagers, Toni Tennille, The Tokens, Leslie Uggums and Frankie Valli. Yaremko has led is own groups since 2001. The June 2007 release of Sync marked his third recording as a leader (Persistence (2004) and Brasil (2001)), and was named by Hot House magazine as one of the Top Ten CDs of 2007. A highly interactive, “chordless” quartet outing, the album highlights the chemistry between Yaremko (heard on saxophones, flute and bass clarinet), and trumpeter Nathan Eklund. They are joined by the rhythm section of Bill Moring on bass, and Steve Johns on drums. Sync rceived high praise from the jazz press, as the CD finds the group exploring compositions by Monk, Jobim, Lennon and McCartney, and Irving Berlin, as well as “originals, which touch on the jazz tradition while also looking forward...(they) are rife with musical adventures.” (Newark Star-Ledger). Jazz Improv New York (now Jazz Inside) exclaimed that “Craig Yaremko is a jack of many instruments, and here he is the master of all.” For his latest project, Craig is joined by organist Matt King and drummer Jonathon Peretz, delving into originals and standards in the classic organ trio format. Expect a new recording from this group in late 2012/early 2013. A firm believer in sustaining the art form and giving back to the next generation, Craig Yaremko is a dedicated educator. Craig is currently director of the instrumental music program at Holdrum Middle School, in River Vale, NJ, where he directs the Concert Band, 6th Grade Band, Jazz Band, and various chamber groups. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Montclair State University, where he teaches Woodwind Techniques. He was conductor of the 2012 NJ Region I Saxophone Ensemble, and has also given clinics throughout the New York Metropolitan area on jazz improvisation and woodwind performance.
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Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Craig is available for clinics and private instruction. He has had a private teaching studio in NJ since 1995, and is currently the woodwind instructor at Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes, NJ. He is on faculty of the Encore Music Studio in Ridgewood, NJ, and coaches saxophone sections at area schools, including Ridgewood HS and West Orange HS. Craig has given clinics throughout the area on saxophone, flute, clarinet, woodwind doubling, and jazz improvisation.