Welcome to my new-look website! [Ed - referring back to the last site!] I wanted to have a page that I can regularly update with details of new Saxophonic events, and thoughts about what's been going on in my musical life, so here is the first one!
It's been a busy summer this year, with a fabulous 8 day tour in Ravenna, Italy with Opera North in mid-July playing Kurt Weill's "One Touch of Venus" - a great show, which is coming to Sadler's Wells in London in November - check it out if you can!
My International Summer School, at Woldingham School, sponsored by Jonathan Myall Woodwind was a great success, with over 70% of the participants taking part for the first time. A week of classes and concerts including a solo Masterclass, jazz and improvisation sessions, a massed saxophone group and smaller ensembles, and two days with a "live" rhythm section playing though Andy Scott's Sax Assault charts - Andy joined me for the last four days of the course -made for an action filled week. One of the highlights for me was the jazz concert that Andy and I gave with the rhythm section on the penultimate night -a real chance for everyone to let their hair down!
Following a brief 2 date visit to Spain with the Michael Nyman Band - including a fabulous outdoor gig for live TV in a mountain top Mediaeval castle at 11.30pm in front of 3000 people, under the stars! - I met up with the Apollo Saxophone Quartet for a visit to Poitiers in France, to perform a concert as special guests on the fantastic Habanera Quartet "Saxophone Evenement", a 10 day summer school and Festival of all things Saxophonic. We worked with three excellent student quartets on some ASQ commissioned repertoire in a public Masterclass in the afternoon, and then gave a concert (including some of our music with silent film) in the evening. As well as getting to know the players of the Habanera Quartet (a really first class group who are leaders in the French Quartet scene) we also met Vincent David, France's new classical Saxophone superstar. Hopefully we can return the favour and invite this superb quartet to the UK next year to perform with the ASQ. Watch this space!
We also got to spend 2 days rehearsing in Tim Redpath's (ASQ Soprano player) new house in France. What a beautiful place to live! We had a very relaxed 2 days of rehearsing (and drinking lots of wine) to prepare us for the show in Poitiers. Tim is converting part of his house into a studio - if you need somewhere quiet and relaxing to record, check out the horizon studios link on the links page.
Andy Scott and I have been extremely busy planning the 5th RNCM Saxophone Day on 6th November, now the UK's biggest and most successful annual Saxophone event, sponsored this year by Selmer/VBI. The programme is as action packed and varied as ever, with concerts, classes and workshops for saxophonists from all backgrounds: professionals, teachers, students, jazz players, classical players, soloists and ensembles alike will all find something to excite and stimulate.
Our special guest this year is US Saxophone legend Bob Mintzer (making an eagerly anticipated return visit to the RNCM Saxophone Day). On Sat 5th Nov at 7.30pm, he will be performing with the RNCM Big Band in a concert of his own compositions, and will give a Masterclass at 11.30 on the Sax Day itself, as well as being featured performer in the final triple-bill concert at 7pm: the first set features the internationally renowned Apollo Saxophone Quartet, who will present a special set featuring a new "Quintet" especially commissioned for this event from Bob Mintzer, who will join the ASQ for the world premiere performance of this piece. The ASQ will also present a short set of black & white films, set to original music by the members of the group, featuring some hilarious films from the early 1900's. The second set will feature Bob Mintzer with a top UK rhythm section, playing original compositions and jazz standards, and the third set will feature a return visit to the Sax Day from Andy Scott's 12 piece saxophone supergroup Sax Assault, featuring some of the UK's top players, again joined by Bob Mintzer as guest soloist, for a seriously funky and fiery finale to the day's events.
For the first time, the Saxophone Day is presented in conjunction with the RNCM International Wind Festival, (check out the other events on the RNCM website - we have a day of education related events, and a day of concerts and classes for all wind instruments) and we are delighted to be able to incorporate several fantastic concerts from their schedule into the Sax Day line up. International Saxophone Soloist John Harle will be performing the world premiere of two concertos - David Ketchley's Concerto with the Guildhall Wind Orchestra, and Andy Scott's new Concerto for Two Saxophones with the Chetham's Wind Orchestra, with myself taking the other solo part. (There's plenty of time in the schedule to get to all of these events!). RNCM Tutor of Jazz Saxophone Mike Hall also presents a concert with his new duo with Pianist Dan Wheildon, completing the sparkling array of Saxophone concerts scheduled throughout the day.
There's the usual wide range of classes to attend, including a performance Masterclass with myself, writing and arranging for Saxophones with Andy Scott, Improvisation with Mike Hall, Big Band Section work with Jim Muirhead - Director of Chetham's Big Band, Ensembles and Quartet Coaching with ASQ members Tim Redpath & David Roach and RNCM Junior School Sax Tutor Ruth Darby, & the hugely popular "Fingerobics" technique workshop with Chetham's Saxophone Tutor Andy Wilson. And of course we have a comprehensive trade village, with instruments, accessories and music from all of the UK's major manufacturers and publishers available throughout the weekend. Further details and booking info can be found at: boxoffice [at] rncm [dot] ac [dot] uk or call: 0161 907 5555
That's about it for now - I'm off to practice Andy's new Double Concerto - which by the looks of things is how I'll be spending most of the next 8 weeks!!!