Monday, June 9th, 2014

We’ve had a great year in the Saxophone studio at Duquesne University.  Above all, lots of great music making.  This was a year of many saxophone recitals, and included in these were performances of the seldom heard Paul Hindemith Trio op. 47  for piano, viola, and tenor Saxophone, and the even more seldom heard Sextour Mystique by Heitor Villa-Lobos for flute, oboe, alto Saxophone, guitar, celesta, and harp.  The instrumentation poses a real challenge in terms of assembling the needed troops but the results are worth it  …  what a magical piece it is, and it was composed in 1917!  At Duquesne all saxophone students perform in quartets as a key component of developing real musicianship.  Our graduate quartet, “The Green Light,” had a particularly good year with many performances in Pittsburgh, and an epic tour in Texas, with a side trip to perform at the University of Oklahoma.  You can sample their playing on YouTube if you’re interested.  We had some wonderful Saxophone guests this year with Dr. James Umble presenting a master class for the studio, and a visit from the h2 Saxophone Quartet.  h2 performed for us and also coached student groups  …  we had a great time!

As for myself, it was an exciting year.  I also toured in Texas, with master classes and recitals at Texas Christian University, the University of North Texas, the University of Texas – San Antonio, etc.  I played Russell Peck’s The Upward Stream with the Ludwig Symphony in Atlanta, but the big news is the new version with band which I performed for the first time with the University of Michigan Band.  I went directly from Ann Arbor to Lisbon, Portugal, which I played the new band version of the Peck two more times with the band of the Lisbon Conservatory of Music.

I’m now in the throes of preparing for the 24th James Houlik Saxophone Retreat in Little Switzerland, North Carolina.  This event has become an annual highlight for me and there’s no doubt that this will be another special time “on the Mountain.”

I’m not going to tie myself to a blogging schedule that I will inevitably fail to observe, but I do intend to check in frequently, and whenever something of interest comes up.