Zach Manzi is the Co-Artistic Director and clarinetist of the ensemble Conduit, which he co-founded in 2017. Comprised of Zach and his longtime friend and musical counterpart percussionist Evan Saddler, Conduit explores themes of our time through the creation of new work and experiential performances. The ensemble serves as a vibrant experimental ground for connecting young people to the performing arts.
Before Conduit, Zach played three seasons as a Clarinet Fellow at the New World Symphony (NWS) in Miami, where he performed orchestral and chamber music programs and created innovative performance and educational experiences. His most recent project, transmuse, was a musical experience created in collaboration with transgender community in South Florida to celebrate the trans experience, sourcing stories from trans people and fusing them with music to create a space to bring the community together. In the 2016-17 season, he designed and produced a full-orchestra concert for NWS called DIMENSIONS, an interactive performance geared toward a young audience that had no previous experience with classical music. This program empowered audience members to explore many different ways of listening through the orchestra's favorite pieces of music through extramusical creative activity including writing, drawing, and crafting paper models in order to discover their own pathway into classical music. Zach co-created and produced the informal educational webisode series "NWS Offstage," in which Fellows give tips about being healthy and productive musicians to high school music students. This series has hundreds of views on the New World Symphony YouTube channel and is a staple of NWS Connect, an online educational resource for young musicians across the country. He is also a co-creator of the New World Symphony x Pratt Institute collaboration BLINK, BURN., which showed at Art Basel Miami 2017.
In creating musical experiences, Zach applies methods of design thinking, a creative approach to developing experiences rooted in empathy for audiences. As a result of this work, he is collaborating with NWS Creative Director Siggi Bachmann to reframe a design thinking toolkit for artist-entrepreneurs and performing arts organizations to innovate for their own audiences. This is being made possible with the support of a grant from AIGA, the professional association for design. The first version of this toolkit will be available by summer 2018, and in addition to using the method in his own work, Zach will be leading workshops at university music schools and conservatories starting in the 2018-19 academic year (sign up here to receive info when it's available). Zach has presented workshops on design thinking for live experiences at Venture Café Miami and the Maven Leadership Collective, and has been invited to speak at national and international conferences about creating a thriving future for classical music, including the Classical:NEXT conference in Rotterdam and TEDxCoconutGrove in Miami.
As an undergraduate, Zach was one of twenty students to be awarded a Morse Teaching Artist Fellowship, with which he taught music to third graders in a New York City public school during the 2014-15 academic year. The students in his classes explored classical music as a key to unlocking intuition through reflective activities and self-directed projects. He also served as a clarinet mentor in the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra.
Before moving to Miami, Zach performed regularly in New York as a freelancer. Most recently, he has performed in summer festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival, Colorado Music Festival, Lucerne Festival Academy, ChamberFest Dubuque, and Madison New Music Festival, and received his Bachelor of Music from The Juilliard School in 2015.