Center for the Arts, 3066
7700 Osler Drive
Towson, MD 21204
21st Century Saxophone Spectrum
The saxophone has established itself as an exciting voice in new concert music, inspiring composers and audiences alike with its wide range of character: it is percussive and yet lyrical, voluptuous yet delicate, and it conveys all the intimacy, nuance, variety, and power of the human voice. In this program, saxophonist Doug O’Connor (Astral Artist, DMA 2012, Eastman School of Music) and pianist Liz Ames (DMA 2013, Arizona State University) present two new works by composers Gregory Wanamaker (Professor of Composition, Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam) and Baljinder Sekhon (PhD 2013, Eastman School of Music) for alto saxophone and piano, in addition to other contrasting 21st century repertoire. This program explores the variety of emotional connection offered by chamber music for saxophone and piano. The program title refers to a spectrum, “A band of colors, as seen in a rainbow, produced by separation of the components of light by their different degrees of refraction according to wavelength.”
Wanamaker’s new work, of Light and Shadows, is an example in itself of playing with light through sound. His modern take on bluesy-ness and saxophone virtuosity is contrasted against Sekhon’s calculated, architecturally rhythmic and percussive approach to the instrument. These works are supported by the popular Press Release, by David Lang, as well as the Soprano Saxophone Concerto, by John Mackey, an evocative work in five movements inspired by popular dance rhythms and jazz.
Doug O’Connor and Liz Ames met as a result of the commissions which created the first premiere, Light and Shadows, by Greg Wanamaker. O’Connor has long been a proponent of presenting new music in concert, and pianist Liz Ames has been the leader of various consortia to commission new works for saxophone and piano. In fact, both performers are responsible for organizing the consortia which funded the respective new works on the program. Their enthusiasm and broad experience for the genre is infectious, and it translates to audiences through innovative and exciting performances. Praised for his “seamless technique” and “sumptuous lyricism” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), O’Connor’s performances have thrilled audiences across the USA, Europe, and Asia, including appearances at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Merkin Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. He has appeared at World Saxophone Congress XV in Bangkok, where he gave the world-première performance of Christian Lauba’s 15th etude, Worksong; in addition, he was recently featured with the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra performing the world-première of Baljinder Sekhon’s saxophone concerto, The Offering. His mastery of extended techniques and diverse musical background have given his playing a unique and personal voice, a voice which these and other composers have responded to by writing him new and ambitious works for the saxophone. The repertoire on 21st Century Saxophone Spectrum is rounded out with standard and accessible works, which introduce a new perspective and interesting program for this duo combination.
$15 Regular / $10 Seniors / $5 Student & Faculty