Litchfield Jazz Festival & Jazz Camp

Teaching Artists

Nicole Zuraitis

Nicole Zuraitis

Photo By Brooke Duffy

Nicole Zuraitis

Live at the 2008 Litchfield Jazz Festival Photo By Antonio Monteiro

Nicole Zuraitis

Photo by Emma Lauren

Nicole Zuraitis

Vocalist

A voice that's hard to ignore... remarkable range... you can't help but stop and take notice." -- JAZZ INSIDE MAGAZINE

Brooklyn based vocalist and pianist Nicole Zuraitis is as diverse as the city that spawned her music. Using world travel experience as inspiration for her sound, genre-bending is her forte; cultivating her diverse musical background into a sound that can only be described as groove based innovation. A 2014 winner of the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers award, Nicole bridges the gap between genres while utilizing her unparalleled vocals. She was a semi finalist in the National American Traditions Vocal Competition in winter 2015, taking home both the People's Choice Award and the Johnny Mercer Award. Having recently returned from a tour sponsored by the American Embassy in Israel as well as Australia with her world music band EVA, she joined The Omar Hakim Experience as a vocalist at the Iridium Jazz Club in June 2015. She also has the great pleasure of singing with Bernard Purdie and Kung Fu, most recently at the New Orleans Jazz Festival 2015. 

Nicole joined forces with fellow Litchfield Jazz Camp faculy member Carmen Staaf on the mainstage of the 2014 Litchfield Jazz Festival, and continues consistently performing with the great Livingston Taylor, Tom Chapin, and Melanie. She has been a main stage act as both a leader and sideman at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, Stan Rogers Folk Fest in Canada, Port Ferry Festival in Australia, the Jacobs Ladder Festival in Israel, the Litchfield Jazz Festival, the New England Jazz and Blues Fest, the Chautaqua Music Festival and Bonnaroo in Nashville.

Nicole has also shared the stage with the extraordinary Jane Monheit for the performance of "Jane Monheit and the Ladies of Jazz", as well as collaborated with Rachel Z, Victor Gould, Antonio Sanchez, Jeremy Pelt, Don Braden, Dave Stryker, Charli Persip and Hagar Ben Ari, among others. Nicole holds residencies at numerous hot spots in NYC such as the 55 bar, Mastro's, Red Eye Grille,  Rockwood Music Hall, Toshi's Living Room and the famous Friars Club. She plays lead keyboards for The Kevin Osborne band.In 2013 she was recognized as a finalist in the Songdoor International Songwriting Contest, as well as a selected competitor for the 2013 New York City WNYC Battle of the Boroughs. Nicole has opened for jazz legend Dave Brubeck, the doo-woop group "the Platters" and collaborated with world renowned Indian carnatic guitarist and composer Prasanna while teaching and touring in India. She was featured in a video interview by Columbia News Tonight as "New Yorker of the week" for her work with music and shelter animals. 

Motivated by all genres, Nicole received her Bachelor of Music from New York University in classical vocal performance, and has been pursuing a successful and diverse career ever since. In July 2008 she released her first jazz album full of cherished classic love songs "Nicole Zuraitis; Spread the Word", featuring Luques and Zaccai Curtis as well as Winard Harper.. She completed her sophomore album entitled “Pariah Anthem” in 2013 which features 10 original compositions by Nicole. The album showcases the talents of Victor Gould, Billy Buss, Julian Shore, Ilan Bar Lavi, Dan Pugach, Scott Colberg, Jon Paul and carnatic vocalist Nandini Srikar. Nicole also plays the piano on four tracks. She is currently working on a 5 song EP with producer Tim Walsh of the StepKids due out in August 2015 and is in the final stages of recording of her 4th independently produced album.  

Nicole is dedicated to raising awareness for homeless shelter animals and donates $1 from every CD sold to rescue groups she works with here in NYC. 

Besides performing, Nicole is proud to be a freelance educator and private voice teacher. She joined the faculty of the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in Chennai, India in the Spring of 2012, along with Manu Koch, Panagiotis Andreau, Harvey Wirht and Sebastian Cruz. Nicole is proud of be a longstanding employee of LItchfield Performing Arts and is the vocal faculty for the Litchfield Jazz Camp. She is proud to be part of the Miami arts Charter School jazz intensive curated by fellow Litchfield colleague Albert Rivera. Her private vocal studio is based in Brooklyn, New York.