Lecturer, of Jazz Studies, Voice
Nicole Zuraitis is a Grammy-nominated jazz singer-songwriter, pianist and arranger, New York-based bandleader and winner of the prestigious 2021 American Traditions Vocal Competition Gold Medal.
In addition to leading her quartet, Nicole is the premier vocalist for the Birdland Big Band and frequently headlines iconic NYC jazz clubs like Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center, Birdland, the Blue Note, the Carlyle, 54 Below and the late, great 55 Bar. She has appeared as a featured soloist with the Savannah Philharmonic, Asheville Symphony and Macon Pops and has supported iconic singers like Melanie, Morgan James, Darren Criss and Livingston Taylor on piano and vocals.
As a recording artist, Nicole has released five albums as leader, and her sixth album How Love Begins, co-produced with eight-time GRAMMY-winner Christian McBride, released July 7th, 2023, featuring all original music. She is a member of the modern jazz super group Ryan Keberle and Catharsis, the Dan Pugach Nonet as well as SONICA with Thana Alexa and Julia Adamy.
Nicole’s arrangement of Dolly Parton’s Jolene, co-written with renowned drummer and bandleader Dan Pugach, was nominated for a 2019 GRAMMY®, spring boarding her career and making her a household name in the modern-day jazz landscape. In 2020, she was named in the top 40 under 40 for 2020 in Connecticut Magazine, and her weekly live stream during the Covid-19 crisis, Virtual Piano Lounge, was featured in Forbes magazine.
Nicole has collaborated with an extensive list of luminaries, including Christian McBride, David Cook, Gilad Hekselman, Veronica Swift, Benny Benack, Stephen Feifke, Cyrille Aimee, Antonio Sanchez, Dave Stryker, Omar Hakim, Rachel Z, Helen Sung, and Bernard Purdie.
She is a proud educator and currently vocal faculty at NYU, SUNY Purchase and the Litchfield Jazz Camp. An ardent activist with a decade-long track record of giving back, her album release coincided with a self-produced music festival and day of activism for Save the Sound.