Annie Booth
Managing Director

Annie Booth is a versatile and award-winning composer, arranger, and jazz pianist.She has received national recognition for her work as a composer/arranger with awards and grants from the likes of ASCAP (Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers’ Awards, Phoebe Jacobs Prize), Downbeat Magazine, the Jazz Education Network, the International Society for Jazz Arrangers and Composers, and Chamber Music America. She has composed commissioned works for institutions such as the University of Idaho and the University of Nevada, Reno, where she is proud to be the Commissioned Composer for the 2022 Reno Jazz Festival.

Annie’s writing spans from small group jazz to big band and chamber works. Her forthcoming 2022 studio album, Flowers Of Evil, is an original song cycle of the poetry of 19th century French poet Charles Baudelaire composed for 11-piece chamber-jazz group. Flowers Of Evil features renowned soprano Kathryn Radakovich. Additionally, Booth leads and writes for the Annie Booth Big Band, an 18-piece jazz orchestra made up of top players such as Greg Gisbert, Wil Swindler, and Paul McKee. Booth has released four albums as a bandleader and has appeared on more than a dozen as a side-musician.

Annie Booth is a respected jazz educator and has appeared as a guest artist-educator at institutions such as the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, The Reno Jazz Festival, The UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival, The University of Montana, Simpson College, Seattle JazzEd, and more. For many years, she has worked with students in the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts (CCJA) directing combos, teaching at summer camps, and leading the SheBop Young Women in Jazz Workshop, which she developed and about which she wrote her pedagogy-focused master’s thesis. She has recently served on the faculties of the University of Colorado and the University of Northern Colorado, teaching jazz composition and jazz piano. Booth holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Thompson Jazz Studies Program at the University of Colorado.

Kelsey Shiba
Operations Manager

Kelsey Shiba is an experienced administrator, project manager, musician and software engineer who is known for her expertise in personalization, organization, and optimization. Kelsey thrives supporting visionaries and curious minds. She enjoys helping create new and exciting products and programs for her clients and customers in a collaborative way.

As an administrator, she served as the Managing Producer of the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival for one year and the Associate Director of Jazz Studies for seven years at the University of Northern Colorado. During her tenure, the jazz program garnered multiple awards, hosted international guest artists, toured internationally with student groups, and maintained recognition as one of the best jazz programs in the nation.

As a musician, Kelsey has worked as a lead singer and pianist in both the jazz and pop industries. She has worked with many artists and companies across Colorado and prides herself in being able to fit into nearly any musical situation.

Kelsey is a lifetime learner and curious mind. In addition to her master’s degree, she has two certificates in Adobe software, two certificates in auto mechanics, and  a certificate in software engineering from Flat Iron School.

Zach Bornheimer

Jazz composer and saxophonist Zachary Bornheimer’s lyrical improvisations and melody-driven compositions have sparked international and national intrigue with performances in Florida, Chicago, Italy, France, England, and terrestrial radio. Bornheimer was a 2017 Fellow at RSMI’s Program for Jazz and a Y2K Fellow at the University of South Florida, where he earned his MM in Jazz Composition.

Bornheimer’s small and large ensemble works are noted with accolades: his composition “Haunted Lullaby of the Forgotten” is one of the winners of Ravinia’s Bridges competition, he is the first 2x winner of the Owen Prize in Jazz Composition for his composition “Elegy” (2017) arrangement of Donny McCaslin’s “Henry” (which was premiered by McCaslin), and his composition “Color Shift” was both a Finalist for The 2015 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards was selected for part of the the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers’ 2017 Symposium for the New Music Workshops.

Bornheimer was a Finalist for the 2017 VSA’s International Young Soloist Award and was selected by Billy Childs, Nathan Davis, and Rufus Reid for the RSMI 2017 All Star Quintet. Bornheimer has performed with Chick Corea, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, The Four Seasons (The Modern Gentleman), and saxophonist Jack Wilkins, along with various guest artists while at USF including: Maria Schneider, Rufus Reid, Steve Houghton, Ron Blake, Donny McCaslin, Gary Smulyan, and more. Bornheimer was recently appointed instructor of Saxophone at Eckerd College.

Bornheimer is following in the footsteps of many great composers who have come before him and is working as a copyist as well. He has copied for Tom Brantley, Tommy Goodman, Chuck Owen, Maria Schneider, and others.

Bornheimer has studied composition with Chuck Owen, Dean Eaves, and Maria Schneider, saxophone primarily with Jack Wilkins, Valerie Gillespie, and took a few lessons from Ralph Bowen and Rick Margitza along the way. Bornheimer also studied flute with Valerie Gillespie and Clarinet with Brian Moorhead.

Zachary Bornheimer is also a specialist in algorithms and data structures with experience in more than 10 computer programming languages. Using those skills, Bornheimer has developed software in several industries for general consumers and professionals including the insurance underwriting software BestPlanPro and the award winning software automation tool Software Maintenance. As a result of his development and unique overlap in business, programming, and background in creative expression, he serves as an executive at multiple corporations and consults for several small businesses. Bornheimer’s pattern-based approach to complex issues has shown effectiveness in the areas of theoretical corpus linguistics and natural language processing with his research into these areas culminating into his theory of Linguistic Fusion, a Discovery Procedure, Unification Theory, and Formation Theory for all Human Languages.


JC Sanford
Blog Curator

Trombonist/composer/conductor JC Sanford is a musician of rare breadth, deeply rooted in the traditions of Jazz and Classical music, yet constantly pushing at their boundaries. Equally at home in many roles, Sanford works regularly as a composer, trombonist, arranger, and conductor. JC’s original works often defy typical genre labels. While he originally built a reputation through big band writing, JC has forayed into many other areas – composing for solo piano, wind and brass formations, and various mixed chamber ensembles. A founding member of the composers’ federation Pulse (with Darcy James Argue & Joseph C. Phillips, Jr.), JC was a member of the BMI Jazz Composers’ Workshop led by Jim McNeely and Mike Abene for 5 years. His 2014 debut CD with the JC Sanford Orchestra entitled Views from the Inside yielded international acclaim and was awarded a 2014 Aaron Copland Fund Recording Grant alongside organizations and ensembles such as the Seattle Symphony, Nonesuch Records, and American Composers Forum.

JC is also the leader of two small groups, the jazz quartet JC4, and the chamber jazz trio Triocracy, both of which released new CDs in 2019. He has regularly been recognized as a “Rising Star” as a trombonist, arranger, and big band in DownBeat Magazine’s Critic’s Polls over the past several years. He has been a member of several diverse NYC-based ensembles including the Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble, the Asuka Kakitani Jazz Orchestra, Nathan Parker Smith’s prog-rock big band, Andrew Green’s film noir tribute Narrow Margin, singer-songwriter Joy Askew’s New York Brass, and Joseph C. Phillips, Jr.’s jazz/new music hybrid Numinous. He has performed as a trombonist with the likes of Danilo Pérez, Matt Wilson, Anthony Cox, and Bill Stewart.

JC is in high demand as a conductor of new original music. He conducts the thrice-Grammy-nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Joel Harrison’s Infinite Possibility, the Alan Ferber Nonet with Strings, the Frank Carlberg Large Ensemble, and the Alice Coltrane Orchestra featuring Ravi Coltrane, Jack DeJohnette, and Charlie Haden. He was the curator the “Size Matters” large ensemble series Brooklyn for 4 1/2 years.

JC is the recipient of a D.M.A. in Jazz Studies from New England Conservatory of Music. At NEC, he studied with Bob Brookmeyer, John Mosca, Danilo Pérez, and John McNeil, while also directing the NEC Little Big Band. A Minnesota native, Sanford’s undergraduate years were spent at the University of Northern Iowa where he was mentored by reputed jazz pedagogue Bob Washut.

Since returning to MN with his family in 2016, JC has performed as a trombonist in the Twin Cities area with JT and Chris Bates, Davu Seru, Anthony Cox, Zacc Harris, Dave Hagedorn, and Laura Caviani. In 2017 he co-founded the Twin Cities Jazz Composers’ Workshop alongside his wife Asuka Kakitani, trumpeter Adam Meckler, trombonist Dave Stamps, and saxophonists Aaron Hedenstrom and Kari Musil. He is currently adjunct professor of jazz at Gustavus Adolphus College and works for Lotus Lights. He recently received a 2018 McKnight Composer Fellowship and a 2019 MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant to record his quartet. As of May 1, 2019, he is the artistic/musical director of the JazzMN Orchestra.

Cassio Vianna
Hall of Fame Curator

Cassio Vianna is the Director of Jazz Studies at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Cassio’s work as a composer, arranger, and pianist reflects his broad range of musical and cultural influences. His compositional styles range from popular music and Brazilian jazz to classical chamber pieces and works for large jazz ensembles.

Over the past fifteen years, Cassio has been featured as a lecturer, adjudicator, and performer at festivals and conferences in the U.S., Brazil, Paraguay, and China; his compositions and arrangements for jazz ensemble have received national recognition, including awards from the National Band Association, Jazz Education Network, and the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC). Cassio Vianna holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Brazilian Popular Music from Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, a Master of Music degree in Contemporary Music from Western Oregon University, and a Doctor of Arts degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Northern Colorado.

His recent album Infância (Teal Creek Music, 2017), features his recent original compositions for jazz orchestra, including the three-movement Brazilian suite Infância.