Hailey Niswanger's accomplishments reach far beyond the borders of her home in Portland, Oregon and well beyond her years. The alto saxophonist has shared the stage with jazz greats Dee Dee Bridgewater, George Duke, George Garzone, Red Holloway, Terell Stafford, Phil Woods, James Moody, Steve Nelson, Christian McBride, McCoy Tyner, Maceo Parker, Wynton Marsalis, and Mark Whitfield, among others. Her own quartet has performed at the Portland Jazz Festival, Jimmy Mak's Jazz Club, Mt. Hood Jazz Festival, and other jazz venues around Portland. In September 2009 she was selected as the new alto saxophonist for the internationally acclaimed big band the Either/Orchestra, occupying the chair previously held by Miguel Zenon and Jaleel Shaw, among others.
Niswanger's June 2009 recording debut as a leader—the self-produced and self-released CD Confeddie—established her throughout North America. The album was reviewed in such leading jazz magazines as Jazz Times and Jazziz and inspired veteran jazz critic Nat Hentoff to profile her in the Wall Street Journal. Confeddie appeared on the Jazz Week Top 50 chart 3 times and was among the top 100 jazz CDs in the country for two months. It features a rhythm section composed of fellow Berklee students Michael Palma on piano, Greg Chaplin on bass, and Mark Whitfield Jr. on drums.
Niswanger was a featured artist at the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where she won the festival's saxophone competition in 2008.