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Zachary Finnegan

Faculty Teaching Artist - Trumpet


Zachary has become a leader on the bandstand and an in-demand musician in the central Wisconsin area. Music and spirituality have always been intertwined in his playing due to his upbringing in the church as well as family influence, and he is consistently molding himself into a fine jazz artist due to his various life experiences and exceptional education. His love for music came at a very young age. His father, Joseph Finnegan, instilled a passion for the arts and is a role model for Zach in all facets of life to this day. Zach was an active performer throughout Junior High and High School as he participated in Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble at D.C. Everest, numerous pit orchestras, as well as four years in different Wisconsin State Honors groups (band, orchestra and jazz ensemble). A highlight from Zach’s high school experience was getting the honor to play a solo alongside professional musicians Wayne Bergeron and Eric Marienthal at the Shawano Jazz Festival where Zach was awarded the “Outstanding Soloist Award.” In addition, Zach traveled to seven European countries while performing with the Wisconsin Ambassadors of Music program at 17 years of age.

Originally from Wausau, WI, Zach is currently in pursuit of degrees in both Jazz Performance and Music Education from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point and will graduate in May. He has studied with Andrew Balio, Patrick Phalen, and Robert Baca and is currently studying under Brent Turney and Mathew Buchman. At school, he has performed with the UWSP Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, and various Jazz Combos. Zach co-leads Omnos Quintet,  a collaborative Jazz Quintet that performs at venues across the state, most notably opening for Dave Liebman later this year at the Riverfront Jazz Festival. He enjoys booking, managing, and collaborating with music enthusiasts around the state, and has found a professional outlet with Omnos (which presents largely original compositions and arranged jazz standards). In addition, Zach is an avid composer for this group and other chamber ensembles. His quintet piece entitled, Hugh, was featured on a Jazz Studies Promotional video for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point music department in 2016.

Throughout his education and music career, Zach has performed with many well-known artists such as John Greiner’s Swingshift Band, Hip Pocket, Water City Jazz Orchestra, Wisconsin Ambassadors of Music, Central Wisconsin Jazz Orchestra and as Guest Artist/Soloist with the SPASH Jazz Ensembles among other freelance work. In addition, he has shared the stage with world-class musicians such as Rodney Whitaker, Matt Wilson, Brandon Lee, Tim Green, Jeff Sipe, Michael Dease, Jim Alfredson, Dave Pietro, Martin Wind, Miguel Zenon, Ben Allison, Steve Cardenas, Allison Miller, Conrad Herwig, Jim McNeely, Eric Marienthal, Wayne Bergeron, Janet Planet, Tom Washatka and Frank Ticheli. In September of 2017, Zach opened the Riverfront Jazz Festival with Omnos Quintet for The New Light Quartet feat. Dave Liebman. Zach has also played in the Bull Falls Jazz Festival on multiple occasions, as well as the Eau Claire Jazz Festival.

As an educator, Zach has taught private lessons to students of all ages, and is actively involved in schools around the area, most notably his alma-mater, D.C. Everest, where his father remains the music director. Zach has worked on faculty at the D.C. Everest Summer Jazz Camp where he coached combos, and co-led big band rehearsals. Zach has also given a brass section masterclass to Stevens Point Area High School students grades 6 through 12, and enjoyed being a camp counselor at the Madison Music Clinic teaching junior high and high school age students. Teaching is one of Zach’s passions, and it is both motivating and inspiring to pass on the love and knowledge of music to the next generation.