March 20, 2008
Saxophone conference to draw hundreds of elite musicians to university
The University of South Carolina will be home to the North American Saxophone Alliance’s Biennial Conference April 16 – 19.
Many of the conference events are restricted to registered participants, but concerts by the USC Symphony Orchestra (April 16), USC Symphony Bands (April 17) and the Walt Weiskopf Quartet (April 19) will be open to the public. All public offerings will be held at the Koger Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m.
The conference will draw approximately 400 participants from across the United States and from Canada, Panama and France. The School of Music’s saxophone department, under the direction of Dr. Clifford Leaman, professor of saxophone, will play host to the events.
“The North American Saxophone Alliance’s Biennial Conference is the largest gathering of professional and amateur saxophonists on the continent at this time,” said Leaman. “The 2008 conference will be the largest in the history of the organization, with over 100 hours of performances, competitions, lectures and master classes. We are thrilled to have an event of such magnitude at the School of Music.”
The conference will include workshops, masterclasses, performances and competitions for both students and professionals. The master classes will be taught by renowned American saxophonists Frederick Hemke, Debra Richtmeyer, Tim Roberts and Steven Mauk. French saxophonist Jean Michel Goury also will be a featured guest.
Tickets for Weiskopf Quartet and the USC Symphony Orchestra are available at the Carolina Coliseum box office. Weiskopf tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students. Symphony tickets are $25 for the general public; $20 for seniors, USC faculty and staff; and $8 for students. To charge tickets, call 803-251-2222.
Because of the relative newness of the saxophone as a musical instrument, having been invented in the mid-19th century, saxophonists tend to specialize in contemporary music; and there will be at least 50 world and American premieres as featured performances at the various concerts,” said Leaman.
Both guest artists will perform works premiered within the last two years when they perform with the symphony orchestra, under the direction of Donald Portnoy. Saxophone soloist Joseph Lulloff, professor at Michigan Sate University, will perform “Sunscapes” by Don Freund of Indiana University; this new concerto was written in 2006. Soloist Timothy McAllister, professor at the University of Arizona, will perform Jennifer Higdon’s “Soprano Saxophone Concerto,” which he premiered in August 2007. Higdon is one of the most prolific and frequently performed present-day saxophone composers. University students Matthew Younglove and Jonathan Valentine will perform solos in the more classical piece, “Bolero,” by Maurice Ravel.
The symphony bands will perform under the direction of James Copenhaver and Rebecca Phillips. The band concert will feature saxophone performances by James Umble, professor at Youngstown State University, and Steven Stusek, professor at UNC-Greensboro. The band concert is free and open to the public.
Saturday night will feature the world-class quartet of Walt Weiskopf. An Augusta, Ga., native, Weiskopf began playing the saxophone as a child. He has recorded 12 CDs and toured with numerous bands and quartets, including Steely Dan and Jazz Legacy. He also is a part-time professor of saxophone at the Eastman School of Music.
For more information on the North American Saxophone Alliance visit www.music.sc.edu/fs/leaman/NASAHome.html, or call Leaman at 803-576-5893.