Ryan Zawel

Trombone, Elective Instructor

Picture of a man holding a tuba and a trombone

Born in the Bronx in 1975, raised by a cabaret pianist, and educated by trombone masters, Ryan Zawel’s low brass playing is rooted in funk, klezmer, Broadway, marching band, new music, jazz, and the symphonic repertoire. He has been an instructor at Ithaca College Summer Music Academy since its inception.

After graduating from Northwestern University School of Music in 1999, Ryan began his professional career with the Tommy Dorsey Band as lead trombonist, and then subbed in the pit for Miss Saigon, fronted the eccentric Cover Me Badd with his vocalizing trombone, and married the love of his life, band director Nicki Schantz Zawel.

They moved to Ithaca in 2003, where Ryan earned his Masters at Ithaca College School of Music. While a student, he began directing the Cornell University Klezmer Ensemble, joined the venerable dance band, The Destination, cut an album with Joel Rubin’s Jewish Music Ensemble, and performed as a soloist at the 2004 International Trombone Festival.

He has remained engaged in many of these and other projects ever since, including co-founding El Rumbon salsa band, and teaching and mentoring at Ithaca College. Since 2009, Ryan has been making music with his three children - and hundred of others - as Music Director of the Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School of Ithaca.