Vanessa Sielert is Professor of Saxophone at the Lionel Hampton School of Music (LHSOM) and Education Advisor for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho. Vanessa served as Director of the LHSOM from 2017-2023, and Associate Director for Recruitment from 2014-17. She has been at the University of Idaho since 2006. She has also served as professor of saxophone on the faculties of Pacific Lutheran University, Seattle Pacific University and the University of Southern Illinois. Vanessa received a Bachelor of Music in music education and saxophone performance from the University of Idaho, a Master of Music in saxophone performance from Baylor University and a Doctor of Musical Arts in saxophone performance from the University of Illinois. She has studied saxophone with Robert Miller, Michael Jacobson and Debra Richtmeyer.
Vanessa has performed with a wide range of performing groups including the Palouse Jazz Project, the Spokane Jazz Orchestra, the Bob Curnow Big Band, the Emerald City Jazz Orchestra, Symphony Tacoma, the Spokane Symphony, Orchestra Seattle and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. As a member of the Millennium Saxophone Quartet, she was a medal winner at the prestigious Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. She has performed as a soloist and quartet member at conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance and at meetings of the World Saxophone Congress in Minneapolis and Montreal.
In 2006, she founded the Free Range Saxophone Quartet. Their first CD, Fireflies, was released on Origin Classical Records in 2011. The Palouse Jazz Project, the faculty jazz sextet of the University of Idaho, released their first CD in late 2015. She can be heard on several other recent recordings, including Tricks of Light with the Jessika Smith Big Band, The Music of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, Vol. 2 with the Bob Curnow Big Band, Come Rain or Come Shine with the Emerald City Jazz Orchestra, In Progress with the Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra, From There to Here with the Vern Sielert Dektet, and America’s Tribute to Adolphe Sax, Vol XIII and XIV. As an advocate of new music, she has commissioned numerous compositions for saxophone. One of her most recent collaborations is duality, a saxophone/piano collaboration with pianist Catherine Anderson. The duo released their first commercial recording in 2020 and released two additional new works for saxophone and piano in 2023. Vanessa is a Selmer Performing Artist and Clinician.