Berklee Summer Concert SeriesTuffus Zimbabwe
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Tuffus Zimbabwe is a pianist and composer from the Roxbury area of the city of Boston. He comes from a rich background of artists and musicians, most notably the jazz and classical musical genius Edmund Jenkins.
Zimbabwe, a versatile composer and master musician in his own right, started piano lessons at the early age of 5. His parents, armed with knowledge of their rich musical heritage, made it a point to provide him with substantial musical exposure. He began by studying classical piano, which he did for roughly two decades. At the age of 12 he explored gospel music with a local church choir.
In his early teens, Zimbabwe joined Berklee College of Music's City Music Program, where he began his formal training in jazz. Here is where his skills and talents as a musician matured. The program offered him a laboratory to develop his compositions and a forum to perform with his peers. At 18, he received the prestigious Walter Beasley Award, won the songwriting competition at Berklee's Five-Week Summer Program, and was subsequently awarded the full-tuition City Music Continuing Scholarship to study in Berklee's undergraduate program (class of '05). Here he dual-majored in music business and film scoring while engaging in extensive studies in composition and performance.
In 2007 Zimbabwe continued his education, earning his master of music degree in jazz studies from New York University ('09), where he studied with master musicians such as Stefon Harris and Gil Goldstein to name a few. Zimbabwe was also honored as a recipient of the prestigious Barney Josephson Award for Excellence in Jazz.
Zimbabwe has maintained an active practice as a music educator, teaching for two years at NYU as Jazz Studies adjunct faculty, as well as in numerous youth programs including the Berklee City Music Program, Hamilton-Garrett Music and Arts Academy, and presently the Piano Outreach of New York (PONY). Zimbabwe is also musical director for youth service at the Mount Zion Baptist Church of Newark.
Zimbabwe currently works as a keyboardist in the Saturday Night Live Band on NBC. He also works in a number of bands such as Ron Reid's Sunsteel and Jovol Bell's Reality. He has performed in several festivals and venues across the United States.