Born and raised in Saco, Maine, Zach Zaitlin is a dynamic and multi-faceted musician. Whether he is teaching a beginning piano or songwriting lesson, composing an instrumental work, or performing his original songs at a rock venue, Zach strives to communicate and pass on the beauty and humanity he feels so strongly in music.
Zach’s own love of music has been cultivated by a number of amazing teachers and transformative experiences. These include early piano studies with Shirley Conner and Jacqueline Gourdin; voice studies with Michelle Hansen Snow and Catherine Murray; participation in the Maine All-State (2000, 2002) and MENC All-Eastern (2001) Choruses; and a summer stay at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (2001).
Zach earned his BA in Music from Swarthmore College in 2006, where he won the Melvin B. Troy Prize for Movement for String Quartet. While at Swarthmore, Zach studied piano with Marcantonio Barone; composition and music theory with Gerald Levinson; and developed a broad foundation in music history and musicianship. He also spent a semester in Madrid, where he studied piano with Edith Peña, dabbled in Flamenco dance, and began work on his senior paper on Albéniz and the development of a Spanish musical nationalism.
After moving to Portland, Oregon in 2008, Zach truly began to make music the focus of his life. During his time in Oregon, Zach studied piano and pedagogy with Carol Rich and maintained a studio of as many as 30 piano and composition students. Zach’s time in Oregon allowed him to find his unique compositional voice and to develop his skills as a performer and music professional. Zach performs his original compositions at venues on both coasts as a solo artist and with a variety of ensembles. His music is heartfelt and unexpected, drawing on influences as diverse as Bach, Berg, and Björk. Zach released his first album, Joyeux Noël, in 2010.
Zach returned to his beloved home state of Maine in July 2012 and is currently working to find his musical niche in the “original” Portland. As a teacher, Zach strives to instill in his students the sort of deep, broad musical fluency that he developed at Swarthmore. With patience and enthusiasm, Zach works to identify students’ strengths and areas for improvement in order to tailor a course of study that ensures a solid foundation in music theory and musicianship; an understanding of historical context and performance practice; and exposure to a rich variety of repertoire. Zach’s emphasis on critical thinking challenges and engages students regardless of age or ability and encourages sustained development of musical skill and confidence.