Dominick Farinacci

2022 Mid-Career, Music

Jazz trumpeter, producer, and composer Dominick Farinacci didn't hear much jazz as a child. By sixth grade, however, he had already demonstrated notable prowess on the trumpet. Then he listened to a Louis Armstrong recording given to him by Solon High School band director John Stein, and his musical world went through a seismic shift.


"Not knowing anything about jazz at the time, I think what initially piqued my interest
was that he played the same instrument I play, and I wanted to try to play like him," he
recalls. "That challenge made me quickly realize that it would take a lot of work to get

When Farinacci was 16 and a Tri-C JazzFest Saturday music program student, trumpet
superstar Wynton Marsalis and his band came to Cleveland to perform at Playhouse
Square. Members of Marsalis' band gave a clinic at Tri-C that day and heard Dominick
play. They told Marsalis about what they heard, and Marsalis asked Dominick to come
backstage to play for him before the show. A few months later, Marsalis invited him to
New York City to be a featured guest with his band on PBS's "Live from Lincoln

Although he was planning on attending Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship,
Dominick learned of plans to establish a new jazz studies program at The Juilliard School
in New York City. He auditioned and was one of 18 musicians selected worldwide to join
the inaugural class.

While still in school, Dominick signed a multi-album recording contract with a Japanese
record label, launching his international career. Along the way, he won the International
New Star Award, an honor previously given to Diana Krall, was profiled in Vanity Fair,
and The New York Times hailed him as "...a trumpeter of abundant poise." Music icon
Quincy Jones said of Dominick's performance, recording, education, and advocacy
accomplishments, "This kid is 360 degrees!"
In 2015, Dominick gave a TED Talk at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in
Washington, D.C. 

"Over the years of playing this music throughout the U.S. and in many countries, I have
started to realize the deep impact music can have on individuals and communities,"
Farinacci says. "It can connect people of different walks of life and can have a
tremendous effect on the physical and mental wellbeing of individuals, and that was the
topic of my TED Talk," Farinacci says.

During this time, he served as Ambassador to Jazz at Lincoln Center and moved to Qatar
for three years to develop their new international expansion initiative. "It was a
wonderful experience leading this, bringing together artists from all over the world
through the inclusive spirit of jazz music," Dominick says. "I learned how to create an

infrastructure from the ground up and how to advocate and fundraise for it. It was an
invaluable experience on every level."

In 2017, Dominick assembled a team to create Modern Warrior LIVE, an immersive
musical and narrative touring production detailing a Cleveland veteran's story of combat
in Afghanistan. The production highlights the mental trauma of war and the potential
growth that can come through experiencing trauma. They workshopped the program at
Tri-C and Playhouse Square.

One of 26 organizations nationwide to receive the National Endowment for the Arts
Creative Forces Community Engagement Grant, Modern Warrior LIVE, a registered
501(c)(3), has been presented more than 125 times across the country, has reached 10,000
veterans and 30,000 civilians, and has connected more than 4,000 veterans to veteran and
mental health service providers. Additionally, Modern Warrior LIVE has been
recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, General James Mattis (26th U.S.
Secretary of Defense), showcased at Amazon Headquarters and the Library of Congress
and opened for Brené Brown.

"The world knows about his talent as a trumpeter, but what makes him unique is his
dedication to communities," comments Loren Schoenberg, Founder and Senior Scholar
of The National Jazz Museum in Harlem. "He has a unique ability to get to the heart of
the matter and envision, create and successfully implement programs that serve
communities far beyond just the insular world of jazz."

As a passionate educator, here in Cleveland, Dominick serves as the director of the Tri-C
JazzFest Academy, a pre-college program of Cuyahoga Community College.

"I have always been committed to rooting all of my artistic work in my hometown,"
Dominick says. “It all started at Tri-C, and I am committed to providing the next
generation the same guidance and nurturing I had growing up here in Cleveland."