Roy Zajac


Principal Clarinet Roy Zajac has played the clarinet since he was 10 years old, when he started on an instrument purchased from a neighbor. The music of his family and their friends, who played guitar and sang, permeated his young life in rural Mexico.

Though neither he nor his brother took to the guitar, they both found the instruments they loved. Zajac auditioned and won the spot of Principal Clarinet for the Santa Rosa Symphony in 1998, while he was still in the Air Force Band of the Golden West. He also began playing for other orchestras as a substitute. He says that’s the most difficult position, especially with often getting late notice to perform. For this reason, he says he makes a point to be extra nice and welcoming to guest musicians performing with the Symphony.

Zajac, who likes to share his passion with young musicians, teaches and mentors and has had the honor of seeing his students achieve positions in California Allstate (first chair), San Francisco Youth Orchestra and the SRS Youth Orchestra. Many have won scholarships based on their musical ability.

For three years, before the Green Music Center was built, he played for donor recitals to help raise funds for its construction. “Throughout that time, I played for many lovely people. Most memorable was Ray Manzarek of The Doors.”

In addition to his winning audition for the Air Force Band of the Golden West, Zajac says he’s also very proud of winning positions with the Naval Academy in Annapolis, the Filharmonica Del Bajio in Guanajuato, Mexico, and the Grand Teton’s Music Seminar.

Zajac is particularly drawn to the harmonies, folk sounds, instrumentation and rhythms of Russian composers, such as Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky and Shostakovich. One of his career highlights was performing as the guest artist for the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Symphony in 2013.


Private Teaching Contact Information:

Instrument: Clarinet
All ages


Portrait of Roy Zajac and his instrument