Born and raised in The Hague – The Netherlands 1987, Tom was brought up in a musical family with his dad being an alto saxophone player. He has won several prestigious awards such as the Princes Christina Concours, Melkweg Jazz Award and most recent the Sena Jazz Award. In the last semester of his masters, Tom went to New York to study with greats like Aaron Goldberg and Greg Hutchinson. Over the years Tom shared stages with names like: Greg  Hutchinson, Peter Erskine, Peter Bernstein, Joe Farnsworth, Reuben Rogers, Slide Hampton, James Carter, Philip Harper, Peter Beets, Rob van Bavel, Vincent Herring, John Ruocco to name a few and recorded as a sideman on the debut album of Floriaan Wempe featuring Willie Jones III.

Van der Zaal played in leading international venues like: Smalls (New York), Alexandrinsky Theatre (Saint Petersburg), Esse Jazzclub (Moscow), The Hat Bar (Berlin), A Trane (Berlin), Casa del Jazz (Rome), Warsaw Summer Jazz Fest (Warsaw), The  North Sea Jazz Festival, The Hague Jazz Festival, The Bimhuis, Concertgebouw Amsterdam among others.