Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sax World

In addition to meeting some cool people this month, and having the orchestra performances, I had the pleasure of hosting the Erie Saxophone Quartet at Carnegie-Mellon. The group from SUNY Fredonia played two concerts, a select performance for music majors, and then an evening concert for the public. Both concerts went swimmingly well! The earlier performance included a premiere of one of my pieces which I wrote specifically for that concert: a saxophone octet! (We're all pictured here on stage.) We also had a composer visit from Norway, the delightful and attractive Peter Edwards, who also wrote a piece for Erie Sax Quartet. It was his first time in the States, and I'm amazed that he found his way to Pittsburgh from Manhattan, on a bus, and was waiting patiently for the quartet in the lounge of the music building!

I've decided that saxophones are my jam: I think the sax and I have a lot in common. We both felt a little left out in our skewed interests about classical music (we're both newbies to the classical world, all things considered) and we both like lots of different things. I like dance music and chocolate-covered pretzels, and the sax likes Miles Davis and Milhaud. We both hate Kenny G. He says potahto and I say mash 'em up with butter...okay, maybe we don't really have that much in common, but I love the sound of the saxophone and I want to keep writing for it! Its sound can be smoky or bright, sexy or stoic, crazy funky or mysterious. And how great is the contrabass sax, or the tubax, which I will probably never see in my life. Though for some reason our high school band had a bass saxophone, which I hear is not all that common either.

Photo courtesy of Peter Edwards, who managed to get all of us without red eyes. Though the magic of stage perspective makes me look less tall here.

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