is a saxophone & woodwind artist and teaches band and jazz band in the Anchorage School District and a volunteer Buddhist meditation teacher teaching Sunday classes Sep-May. Rick’s continuing education includes a Masters certificate in Electronic Music Composition & Production with Berklee School of Music and Berklee Film Scoring Professional Certificate (2021) and is a current Yamaha Performing Artist. Rick received full saxophone scholarships for both undergraduate & graduate degrees, and he received a B.A. in Music Performance from Cleveland State University and Master of Music in Saxophone Performance from the University of Akron. Rick was accepted into Doctorate program for saxophone at the University of Indiana with Eugene Rousseau, and has been in Alaska for the last 27 years dedicating his life to performing and teaching.
2022-23 Rick created the Alaska Electric Orchestra ensemble (AEO) and concert series was supported, in part, by a grant from the Atwood Foundation, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. AEO presented six concerts featuring the sounds of nature, electronics, and acoustic instruments and featuring several world-class guest artists such as violist, Lena Lukina; guitarist, Mark Manners; and trumpet Yngvil Vatn Guttu featured with Rick Zelinsky’s compositions and saxophones. Rick was also a headline performer for the Seldovia Music Festival.
In 2021, Rick performed in the Alaska World Arts Festival duo with Yngvil Vatn Guttu, Spenard Jazz Festival and published five original compositions in the publication “Alaska Real Book.” In May, Rick will be recording album in New York City with Mark Manners and include original composition “Peak 3” and include world renown pianist, Amina Figarova and flutist, Bart Plateau. Rick is also performing as part of the project, “Non Stop the Music” which is an online performance by musicians around the world to continue until there is no longer Covid-19 fatal victims.
In 2020 Rick released new single “Seven Blue Mermaids” written for online performance at the Alaska World Arts Festival and continued his new concert series “Evening of New Jazz Compositions” on March 14 and the last live concert in Anchorage, Alaska due to the pandemic.
In 2019, Rick performed and released 5th album, “Strange Mountains” a solo experiment with four saxophones and electronics and was a part of the Ableton Live Loop 2019 Music Conference. Ricks 4th album “Alone Together” in 2016 which Mike Dunham of the Anchorage Dispatch News reviewed:
“their newly released “Alone Together” may be the best by either of them. In fact, it may be the best produced-in-Alaska commercial studio album I’ve ever heard.”
In 2012, Rick released his second and third CD as a leader (Icy Grooves & Be Like the Sun) consisting of many original compositions and followed “Rick Zelinsky Live!” from 2010. Rick performs regularly in Alaska and is founder and director of the state’s popular summer band program, Alaska Band, celebrating it’s 20th anniversary (2020). Rick regularly plays soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, bass and alto clarinets; flutes, midi wind controller and enjoys playing both jazz and classical music.
From 2009-2016, Rick lead his own series of concerts, “Tribute to the Jazz Masters,” named by the Anchorage Daily News as “Best of” entertainment in Anchorage, and featured the music of original compositions and past and present giants of jazz such as Cannonball & Nat Adderley, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker, Thelonious Monk, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. The concerts have been performed at Anchorage’s Tap Root venue and additionally at the University of Alaska Recital Hall.
Some of Rick’s other recent highlights: performed with jazz greats, Eddie Palmieri, piano and trumpeter, Brian Lynch; musician in Broadway show, “Chicago;” saxophonist with the internationally known “Blues Brothers;” guest soloist performing saxophone concerto with the University of Alaska Wind Ensemble; guest saxophone soloist with Alaska Chamber Singers; guest teacher and artist with the Alaska Jazz Workshop, as a saxophone soloist with country star, T.Graham Brown; and featured soloist on CD releases for several Alaskan artists including Mark Manners and several with Yngvil.
Words of praise for the Tribute to the Jazz Masters series:
“As one listened to this band one heard a regular succession of waves of close listening followed by bursts of enthusiasm. It was a near-perfect combination of the casual experience of a club and the high-level musicianship of a concert.”
-Mike Dunham - Anchorage Daily News