Ofer Assaf is a jazz saxophonist and composer. Born in Israel, Ofer Assaf's exposure to music began with the recorder at the age of 6. While attending the Thelma Yellin high school of the arts, Ofer divided his time between his passions of music and dance. He was dancing professionally for several years, but eventually decided to focus on music as his career.
Ofer's love of creating music led him to excel in the saxophone, and he went on to win the Israeli National Competition in Jazz and Contemporary Music for young musicians in 1991. After completing high school, Ofer was a saxophonist with the Air Force and IDF Orchestras in the Israeli army to fulfill his mandatory national service. During that time, he had the privilege to perform at monumental events for world leaders, including former President Bill Clinton, and former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. His career in Israel explored a myriad of musical avenues, including performing at nation-wide events. Ofer played for the 3000th anniversary celebration of Jerusalem with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and a diverse array of national television and radio shows. He went on to perform with leading Israeli musicians, becoming a prominent local musician and a member of the Tel Aviv Big Band in the mid-1990's.
Eager to expand his musical skills, Ofer moved to New York in 1997 and immersed himself in his studies at the New School University's jazz program, where he studied under the direction of Billy Harper, Reggie Workman, Richie Beirach to name a few. While pursuing his degree, Ofer received several scholarships and awards from the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.