Nick Ortiz is a saxophonist, improviser, and educator from Lombard, Illinois. He recently graduated with a masters degree in saxophone performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. As an ensemble player he is a current or past member of the UWM Wind Ensemble, Elmhurst College Saxophone Choir, UIUC Wind Symphony, UIUC Wind Orchestra, and Illinois Modern Ensemble. He has given performances at Regional NASA Conferences as a member of the CHAOS Quartet and UIUC Saxophone Ensemble. Nick has also been a featured soloist with the UW-Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, UW-Milwaukee Saxophone Ensemble and American Heritage Orchestra.
In addition to his classical background, Nick also has extensive experience in the Jazz idiom. Nick served as lead alto saxophone for the UWM Jazz Ensemble and performed across the Champaign-Urbana area as the Tenor Saxophonist with 6th Street Brass Band, a New-Orleans style Brass Brand. During his time with 6th Street, the group won the Summer Camp on the Road Tour, securing a mainstage set at the 2019 Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois. Most recently, Nick performed with Darius Rucker on his 2022 tour at the Riverside theatre in Milwaukee.
Nick has performed in Masterclasses with Derek Brown, Harrison Clarke, Mark Colby, FUSE Quartet, J. Michael Weiss-Holmes, Kyle Hutchins, Nathan Nabb, Ogni Suono, Alexa Tarantino, and Tim McAllister. Nick's primary teachers include Dr. Nicki Roman, Debra Richtmeyer, and Roger Birkeland.
In the avenues of new music, Nick has commissioned and premeired works by Benjamin Damann, Elsie Bae Han, Emily McPHerson, and Jenny Watson. Nick is also an advocate for free-improvised music, performing acoustic and electro-acoustic improvisation in solo and multidisciplinary collaborations with fellow musicians, visual artists and dancers.
Nick currently maintains a private lesson studio while acting as clinician for saxophone, marching band, and improvisation at the middle and high school levels in addition to teaching general music and band in the Chicago suburbs.