Sheldon Zandboer

…is one of Calgary’s best kept secrets!

A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and began studying classical piano at the age of 4 for 16 years with Gloria Saarinen, Charles Foreman, and Marilyn Engles. Born into a musical family Sheldon’s father, Hank Zandboer, was an active professional musician and at an early age passed integral information that accelerated Sheldon’s professional musical knowledge well beyond young musicians his own age. He was awarded 1st Prize, 3 years in a row in the all ages ‘Open Jazz’ category at the Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival. As a teenager Sheldon established his musical reputation as an ‘up and coming’ musical talent in Calgary by working on live to air TV shows with CBC and CFCN, and also performing in his jazz trio.

Sheldon moved to Toronto to study and start a career in the heart of the Canadian music scene. All kinds of performing opportunities were exploited. Playing in studios, casinos, circus, jazz clubs and festivals, theatre, dance clubs, cruise-ships, the National Ballet, and freelancing as a professional. Performing in: Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Atlantic City, London (UK), Paris, Athens, Amsterdam, Brussels, and many other lesser known venues throughout Europe.

Performed for:

  • Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Family in London, UK and Canada
  • 3 prime ministers since Brian Mulroney
  • Ex-mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani
  • Past 3 governor generals of Canada
  • NATO delegates in Brussels
  • Canadian Embassies and Consulates in the EU
  • Alan Greenspan
  • Dick Cheney
  • G8 Summit in Calgary, 2002

When “name” acts come through Calgary Sheldon is consistently called upon to perform with them. He has played with jazz artists such as: Sam Noto, Guido Basso, PJ Perry, Campbell Ryga, Kirk McDonald, Del Dako, Bobby Shew, Lee Konitz, Ian McDougall, Hugh Fraser, Ralph Bowen, Adi Braun, Holly Cole, John Riley, Paul Wertico, Jodi Proznick, Kevin Breit, Mark Kelso, Ralph Bowen, Paul Christopher, Vern Dorge, George Koller, Madeleine Eastman, and Phil Nimmons. As well as pop artists: the late Michael Burgess (Le Miserables, Phantom of the Opera), and the Canadian Tenors.

Professional Musicals of note:

  • Bye Bye Birdie
  • Putnam County Spelling Bee
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie
  • Rough Crossing
  • Fame
  • Mama Mia
  • Falsetto’s
  • Leader of the Pack
  • Tarzan
  • Seussical
  • Wicked
  • Hairspray
  • Victor Victoria
  • Little Shop Of Horrors
  • Full Monty
  • Nightmare before Christmas
  • Dream Girls
  • Into The Woods
  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • The Little Mermaid
  • High School Musical
  • Video Games Live
  • Oliver
  • Tommy

1979, Rehearsal Pianist/Keyboardist for the Calgary Stampede “Young Canadians” Grandstand Show [Calgary] 

1979, Studied at Banff School of Fine Arts Summer School on full scholarship

1979-81, Performance/Composition Music Major at University of Calgary

1981, Keyboardist on CBC TV Special “Live at the HotSprings” [Columbia Valley]

1981-83, Student at Humber College for the Applied Arts Jazz Program [Toronto]

1982, Keyboardist at Canada’s Wonderland MainStage. [Toronto]

1984, Keyboardist for Paul Christopher at Bally’s Casino [Atlantic City]

1984/5, Keyboardist for the Garden Brothers Circus. [Toronto]

1987, Keyboardist/Assistant Director on the Greek cruise ships. MV Jupiter and MV Oceanos. [Mediterranean, Caribbean]

1988, Music Director for the first Decidedly Jazz Production of “Dancers & Other Musical Instruments”. [Calgary]

1989-94, Music Director/Arranger/Keyboardist/Singer of “the Soul Providers” that performed as the house band at the renowned Cannery Row. [Calgary]

1989-97, Arranger/Keyboardist/Singer with Department of National Defense. [Calgary/Winnipeg]

1995, Percussionist at the International Tattoo in Earls Court Stadium [London England]

1996, Keyboardist on the Mirvish Production of the Who’s “Tommy” Canadian Tour. [Toronto]

1998, Creator/Music Director of funkband- “YoMoZo”. The band provided the music for the “Eddies” award show less than 3 months after it was formed. [Calgary]

Co-composer with Dewi Wood for the music for the movie “Bellyboat Hustle”. The movie debuted at the Toronto Film Festival and it is a frequently aired film on BRAVO Channel. The movie was then forwarded over to the “Dance on Camera Festival 1998” at the Lincoln Center, NY. The movie was such a hit that it became the flagship Dance/Art movie for the festival. The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in Manhattan has been showing the movie as an art exhibit film in their permanent collection ever since. [Calgary/Toronto/New York City]

1999-2015,  Jazz Piano/Arranging/Ensemble Instructor on the Faculty of Jazz at Mount Royal University. [Calgary]

2002-2003, Audio designer and Music Programmer/Composer at web design company Critical Mass for clients such as: Mercedes Benz, Dell, Disney Resorts, NASA, Kaiser Permanente, Albertsons, Las Vegas tourist bureau. [Calgary]

2004-2007, Tim Tamashiro (CBC‘s ex-host of “Tonic”) combine forces to form “PianoVox” – a music/improv/comedy act that performed across Canada, from Vancouver Island to Toronto and are still active performing together. 

2005/2006, Music Director/Arranger for the only two years “One Yellow Rabbit” theatre co. had a live orchestra to host the Big Rock Eddies. [Calgary]

2010, Keyboardist at the Vancouver/Whistler Winter Olympic Villages entertaining the athletes.

Arranger/Composer Nominated for an Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association award for best live soundtrack for “Spring Swing Fling” written and directed by Sandra Sawatski. It’s a dance film which features performances by many of Calgary’s best jazz musicians and has been selected to show at the 38th Dance on Camera Festival at the Lincoln Centre in New York. Dewi Wood produced, mixed and worked on sound design. [Calgary]

2011-Now, Pianist for the Decidedly Jazz Dance Studio’s Parkinson Program. An ongoing research program that studies the effects and benefits of music for Parkinsons patients. [Calgary]

2014, Published jazz pedagogy book the Tao of Jazz Improvisation

2015/16, Resident Electronica Musician performing live electronic dance music at RUSH night club with Kymara and Johanna Sillanpaa. [Calgary]

2017, Opened with Tommy Banks for David Foster. [Calgary]

2017, Recorded first solo album Tipping Velvet containing all original compositions. [Calgary]

2018, Released Tipping Velvet on Chronograph Records label. Streaming on Spotify and Apple Music. [Calgary]

2016-19, Vocal Coach/Music Director at Central Memorial High School of Arts. [Calgary]

At this time Sheldon is a Professional Freelance Musician as well as the senior Jazz Piano Instructor at the Mount Royal University Conservatory. His instructional jazz book the Tao of Jazz Improvisation continues to sell hundreds of copies a month on The City of Calgary has recognized and listed Sheldon Zandboer as one of Calgary’s preeminent artists on their official tourism website as well as one of the top 10 music studios in the city.