Joel Vanderheyden

photo by Leslie Zeglin

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[Vanderheyden] charges out of the gate with the impetus of a lion on a hunt. He’s methodical, savvy and exhibits raw power when the situation demands it.
— Glenn Astarita -




Dr. Joel Vanderheyden is a versatile saxophonist, composer, and educator with tremendous passion for the unifying power of music. As a performer, he draws upon his study of jazz (M.M. with Chris Vadala) and classical saxophone (D.M.A. with Kenneth Tse), immersing himself in a variety of musical situations, ranging from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra to the cinematic electro-jazz group, Koplant No. He is also a regular member of both the Jazz St. Louis Big Band and the Missouri Saxophone Quartet, and has performed on stages in the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Scotland, Croatia, and across the United States, spanning large festivals, intimate jazz clubs, rock venues, live radio performances, and some of the world’s finest concert halls. Vanderheyden is the recipient of a grant from the Iowa Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, and his debut album of original compositions, Complete Life, was selected as one of the top albums of 2009 by KCCK Jazz 88.3FM. He has both performed with and written music for Strings of Arda, a chamber group from the St. Louis Symphony, and was named a quarterfinalist for the 2018 GRAMMY Music Educator Award. Currently, Dr. Vanderheyden serves as Professor of Music and Director of Jazz at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, MO, and is also a faculty member at Washington University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He maintains an active schedule working with high school and college students across the country, and is a performing artist/clinician for D’Addario Woodwinds and Selmer Paris Saxophones.

His inventive artistry offers a compelling palette of colors and harmonies that stand out well above the crowd.
— Andrea Canter -



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photo by Andrea Canter

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