Victor William Zajec is a native of Chicago. He first learned music by playing the cornet at Taylor Elementary School. In high school, Zajec played clarinet and saxophone, and took lessons with Richard Brittain at the VanderCook School of Music. He also studied with members of the Chicago Symphony and played in Harold Bachman's University of Chicago Symphonic Band.
Following graduation, Zajec worked briefly for Montgomery Ward before entering the U.S. Army Air COrps in 1942. He trained in Boca Raton, Florida, where he led to base dance band and went on to overseas duty as a radio bombadier in the Pacific.
After the War, Zajec entered the VanderCook School of Music (B.M.E., 1950) and began teaching in Charleston, Mississippi, in 1948. In addition to teaching the concert band and marching band, Zajec also worked as a church music director and taught private violin to a number of students. Six years later, He accepted a position as band director in Philadelphia, Mississippi. There he remained until 1963. During this time, Zajec was selected to lead the Mississippi Lions' All-State Band at their International Conventions and also directed the Hamasa Temple Shrine Band in Meridian, MS.
In 1963 H.E. Nutt, President of VanderCook College, invited Zajec to join the faculty of his Alma Mater. He finished his master's degree there the following year, and spent the next twenty-five years teaching a wide variety of music classes, ensembles, and lessons. Zajec also became the Dean of the Graduate School and retired in 1988.
Following his retirement from VanderCook, Zajec continued an active schedule of guest conducting and adjudicating throughout the country and remained active in a number of professional organizations. He was named to Midwest Clinic [official website] Board of Directors in 1983 and elected to the American Bandmasters Assocation that same year. Zajec has written books about the history of each of these organizations. These include The First Fifty Years, a history of the Midwest Clinic (1946-1996), and Past Presidents of the American Bandmasters Assocation (1998).
Mr. Zajec passed away in 2005.
(taken from the University of Maryland Library)