Saxophone Consortium

Composition   •   October 1, 2018

When I was in college the first time, as a jazz studies major at the University of Texas at Arlington, I remember transcribing a fair amount of saxophone solos. Okay, a lot of saxophone solos! In fact, my professor, Tim Ishii, told me I wasn’t allowed to transcribe any more saxophone solos for my class assignments, since I am in fact a trumpet player. But my enthusiasm for the saxophone has never really waned. In fact, one of my favorite projects I did was for one of the best musicians I know, tenor saxophonist and EWI extraordinaire, Quamon Fowler. He had me transcribe a solo from his Live and Uncut Vol. 1 album, from the Blues @ Bohemian track.

Quamon Fowler Solo Transcription Available Now

Years later, after I went back to school for the second time to study Classical Composition, my very first commission came from a close friend of mine, Mark Smith who in addition to teaching saxophone lessons, also directs young chamber groups. Mark sent me a short list of requests for a new work along with my first ever commission check, and I wrote a piece I call Three, for his middle school Saxophone Trio. Mark took his group down to the 2015 Houston Underground Saxophone Competition, where the group placed 1st in their division! To this day, Three is my most popular chamber work, and it brings me much joy to say that it’s been sold and played all over the world, by University, High School and a few very adventuresome Middle School ensembles alike.

And since it’s been over three years since I’ve written a work for saxophone, I have an itch to do a couple of new projects! One of which came as a suggestion from another friend of mine, who asked if I might rework my composition Transition for oboe and piano, for Saxophone and Piano. This work has a soft place in my heart, as I wrote it during a hard time in my life, when I was struggling to re-enter the workforce, as most of us do, particularly in the field of the arts. The oboe version of this work has been played a few times, and has a few upcoming performances as well, by oboist Teil Buck, as well as the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Assistant Professor of Oboe, Elizabeth Sullivan. I am excited to create the Soprano Saxophone and Piano version of this work, and feel it’s aimed at Saxophone Artist, Instructors as well as Graduate Students who may need new works for their concert recitals that has a story audiences can follow. I also love the idea of offering two pieces for my Saxophone Consortium, and this might work well for Instructors who are joining to be a part of commissioning the Saxophone Quartet for their chamber groups, but might also like to play a new work themselves. Here is a clip from Transition.

The other work I’ll be creating for the Saxophone Consortium I am going to call Chasing Light. Its inspiration comes from my husband and I’s recent trip to Sydney, Australia. I figured I would find inspiration for a new work on the trip, especially since we were going out on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as into the Blue Mountains and other Australian activities.

I was surprised, however, by where the idea for the piece came from. Jonathan and I traveled to Australia from Texas on a direct flight, which constituted a sixteen-hour plane ride that began at 10pm at night. (My longest previous air travel from Houston to London was no preparation for this marathon event in the sky!) Because we left at 10pm at night and traveled westward, and due to the fact that the earth spins eastward, our plane stayed out of the path of the sunlight until we final arrived in Sydney at 6am. Ever since, I have found my mind drawn to the idea of how this circumstance is physically achieved. Since typically we all experience the daylight and nighttime as the earth makes its daily rotation around the sun, my fascination centers around a plane’s ability to move fast enough to not be taken with the atmosphere, but instead, in essence – to chase light.

As of now, I am so thankful to already have three groups on board! A HUGE thank-you to:

  • Uproar Duo: Andrew Harrison, Saxophone and Clare Longendyke, Piano

  • Quantum Quartet: Mark Smith, Director

  • The University of Texas Tyler Saxophone Quartet: Sarah Roberts, Director

I am capping the consortium at ten ensembles, and will create a closed Facebook page where I will add progress reports and generally ask for advice as well as score study suggestions from time to time. I need to get started on the creative process right after Thanksgiving, and am hoping to have everyone involved from the beginning of the process! You can find all the logistical information including delivery, difficulty level, performance exclusivity, etc. as well as a payment link at my 2019 Saxophone Consortium Page

My composing career would absolutely not be possible without support. If you’ve read this far, please considering participating, and thanks for your interest in the project!