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Jonathan Saraga

Jonathan Saraga is a New York City-based trumpeter, composer, arranger, producer, educator and Doctor of Musical Arts. He won the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Solo Competition in 2007 and competed as a finalist in the 2009 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition. He has been selected for four intensive and/or residency programs including the 2011 School for Improvisational Music Summer Intensive Program, the 2015 Banff International Summer Intensive Program in Jazz and Creative Music, the 2019 Banff Early Fall Musicians in Residence program and the 2021 Chashama chaNorth Artist in Residence program. Additional residency related accolades include finalist status in the 2021 Haleakala National Park Artist in Residence program and waitlist status for the 2021 Millay Colony of the Art’s Core Residency program. Jonathan has also competed as a finalist in three jazz-trumpet vacancy auditions—the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra (2020), U.S. Navy Band Commodores (2021) and the Air Force Academy Band (2021). In 2022, he became a selected member of the Recording Academy’s New York Chapter.

Jonathan received the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award in 2016, was selected as a finalist in the 2019 Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grant competition, as a semi- finalist in the 2021 Unsigned Only Music Competition and received a total of five Semi-Finalist selections and one Honorable-Mention selection in the International Songwriting Competition between 2016 and 2017. In 2020, Saraga was chosen to present at the Association for Popular Music Education conference in Edinburgh Scotland, and at the International Society for Improvised Music conference in Melbourne, Australia. He has received Outstanding Performance and Outstanding Arrangement Downbeat Student Music Awards (2020 & 2021) and was selected to participate in the 2020 and 2021 BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. Jonathan has also received commissions and/or grants from the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers, United States Artists, the University of Colorado Boulder Music Advisory Board, the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, the Actors Fund/Local 802 Musicians Union, the Jazz Foundation of America, the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance, and the Recording Academy/MusiCares.

Dr. Saraga has played in internationally acclaimed ensembles such as the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, the Birdland Big Band, the Mingus Big Band, Orrin Evans' Captain Black Big Band, the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, the Jimmy Greene Big Band, Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly of Shadows Orchestra, the Terraza Big Band, the Valery Ponomarev Big Band, Manuel Valera’s New Cuban Express Big Band, the Samuel Torres Big Band, the Jihye Lee Jazz Orchestra, the Hyeseon Hong Jazz Orchestra, the Tracy Yang Jazz Orchestra, the Erica Seguine/Shannon Baker Jazz Orchestra, the Migiwa Miyajima Jazz Orchestra and Brass Against, as well as ensembles led by Tyshawn Sorey, Steve Coleman, and Henry Cole.


2022: Recording Academy Member Class, New York Chapter - Selected Member

2021: BMI Jazz Composers Workshop - Selected Participant

2021: U.S. Air Force Academy Band jazz/commercial trumpet vacancy auditions - Finalist (1 of 2 candidates)

2021: Unsigned Only Music Competition – Semi-Finalist

2021: U.S. Navy Band Commodores jazz trumpet vacancy (Washington DC, Washington) – Finalist (1 of 2)

2021: Millay Colony for the Arts Core Residency – Waitlist

2021: Haleakala National Park Artist in Residence program (Maui, Hawaii) – Finalist

2021: Downbeat Student Music Award, Graduate College Outstanding Arrangements, Small Ensemble – Winner/Recipient

2021: Chashama chaNorth Summer Residency Program

2020: United States Artists Grant

2020: International Society of Arrangers and Composers Grant

2020: University of Colorado Boulder, Music Advisory Board Grant

2020: Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation Grant

2020: The Actors Fund/Local 802 Musicians Union Grant

2020: The Jazz Foundation of America Grant

2020: The Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance Grant

2020: The Recording Academy/MusiCares Grant

2020: GRAMMY-winning Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra’s 4th trumpet chair auditions – Finalist (1 of 3)

2020: BMI Jazz Composers Workshop - Selected Participant

2020: Downbeat Student Music Award, Outstanding Performance, Latin Group, Undergraduate Category – Recipient

2020: Association for Popular Music Education conference (Edinburgh Napier University-Edinburgh, Scotland) – Selected Presenter

2020: International Society for Improvised Music conference (Melbourne Conservatorium of Music-Melbourne, Australia) – Selected Presenter

2019: Banff Early Fall Musicians in Residence program

2019: Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works grant competition – Finalist

2017: International Songwriting Competition – Winner/Honorable Mention/Finalist

2017: International Songwriting Competition – Semi-Finalist

2016: ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award – Winner/Recipient

2016: International Songwriting Competition – Semi-Finalist

2015: Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music

2011: School for Improvisational Music Summer Intensive Program

2009: Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition – Finalist (1 of 5)

2007: International Trumpet Guild Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition – Winner


Yamaha Zeno YTR435 37 Bb trumpet

Bach Stradivarius Elkhart 37 Bb trumpet

Blessing 100th Anniversary red brass bell flugelhorn

Piezo-Barrel mouthpiece pick-up w/ Boss Harmonist HR-2, MXR Blue-Box & Lunchbox Mini


Album Review
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"His chops, lust for musical life and don't-box-me-into-a-stylistic-corner mentality make him seem like the musical offspring of trumpeters Dave Douglas and Ambrose Akinmusire."
-Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz

“I have long been an admirer of Jonathan's musicianship, both as an excellent instrumentalist and a thoughtful, creative jazz improviser. Jonathan embodies what I feel is the best approach to modern jazz music: a thorough grounding in the rich tradition of the music coupled with a restless, searching spirit that seeks to express the music of now.”
-Jimmy Greene

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Primary Instrument



New York City

Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


I have taught multi-level in-person and virtual music playing/appreciation courses for 7 greater-New York-area based organizations: the Afro-Latin Jazz Academy, the Gramercy Brass Orchestra of New York, New York Ensemble Classes, the Lyceum Kennedy International School, Jubilee Enrichment Programs, Jazz Empowers and the New York Jazz Academy. I have also completed 6 semesters of service as a Graduate Part-Time Instructor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where I taught multiple playing ensembles as well as 3 semesters of a 100+ student History of Jazz lecture class for non-majors.

I specialize in the following broad areas of musical study: Trumpet, Flugelhorn, General Music, Music Appreciation, Composition/Songwriting, Arranging, Ear Training, Music History (includes classical, jazz, and world musics), Music Theory, Sight Singing and Sight Reading

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Joe Lovano
Loren Stillman
saxophone, alto
Sonny Rollins
Michael Brecker
saxophone, tenor
John Coltrane
Jimmy Greene
Peter Evans

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Looking Out

Self Produced


Journey to a New World

Fresh Sound New Talent


First Vision

Blue Truffle Music


The Reiki Practitioner

From: First Vision
By Jonathan Saraga


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