Mitzi Zilka


Vocal Performance, Guitar and Piano Instructor.


Mitzi Zilka: Vocal Performance, Guitar and Piano Instructor.
Mitzi has been singing and playing instruments for more than 30 years. She has taught voice, piano and guitar for ten of those years.
She knew she wanted to be a singer at the age of four. At eleven she discovered Billie Holiday realizing instantly that jazz was her music. Mitzi studied classical voice with Lorenzo D’enga in Los Angeles for more than six years, jazz style with composer and pianist Howlett Smith in Los Angeles, Tom Blaylok of Portland Oregon, and Jazz performance at the Sydney Conservatory of Music.
She studied guitar with Bryan O’Brien and Portland’s own Dan Balmer. Her piano tutelage began in her youth and continued under Gordon Lee of Portland.
For the past ten years Mitzi has taught a Jazz Workshop with beginner to advanced students at Portland Community College. The workshop utilizes a 50-page workbook she authored on how to overcome stage fright, using a microphone, working with an accompanist, stage movement and much more.  She designed & recorded a vocal exercise CD for men and women which her students utilize.
Mitzi is said to transport the audience with her distinctive alto voice, three octave range and storytelling phrasing. She is a veteran of the Portland Jazz scene for more than twenty years. Her discography of covers original tunes and includes three releases: Two Sugars (2001), Something Good (2003) and Lazy Aspirations (2014).  Her music can be found on, itunes, Amazon and Rhapsody.
Mitzi performed widely in Australia and in 2006, she traveled to the Netherlands to perform with celebrated composer and pianist Amina Figarova. When she was a teenager, she recorded back-up vocals for the Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys in L.A.
Mitzi founded the prestigious Portland Jazz Singers’ Foundation dedicated to the performance and education of singers. The concert series has featured more than 200 singers and more than 500 shows since its inception in 2004. She performs regularly in Portland under the names Mitzi Zilka and the Green Dolphin Street Band, Mitzi Zilka & Mike Doolin Duo and French Twist (a French retro pop and jazz trio).
She has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from San Francisco State University, an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Minnesota and a Professional Music Certificate from Portland Community College.
Mitzi is a native Oregonian. When she isn’t performing or teaching music, Mitzi enjoys hiking, writing, and spending time with her two sons.

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