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World premiere of saxophone concerto to be performed at the ASU School of Music

Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

January 28, 2016

Saxophone music fans listen up: On Feb. 2, 2016, an unforgettable concert will take place in the ASU School of Music, featuring the world premiere of the “Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Band” by Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer William Bolcom. Appropriately titled “House Guests,” this concert will also highlight works by a pair of guest composers, as well as featured soloist Christopher Creviston, associate professor of saxophone in the ASU School of Music.

“Bolcom’s new concerto is a virtuosic showpiece that is incredibly well crafted, in a style that will definitely appeal to audiences,” says Creviston. “While still obviously a sophisticated classical composition, it has catchy melodies throughout and is clearly jazz influenced, even including a bit of space for some improvisation. If you like Bolcom – or George Gershwin or Leonard Bernstein for that matter — you will enjoy Bolcom’s new ‘Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Band’!”

The evening will showcase a range of other new musical selections as well, by both the ASU Wind Orchestra, led by Gary Hill, director of bands, and the ASU Wind Ensemble, conducted by Jason Caslor, associate director of bands and orchestras.

The Wind Orchestra’s program will include “Cathedrals” by Kathryn Salfelder and “Coast of Dreams” by Paul Dooley. Both Dooley and Salfelder will be in residence at ASU for a week prior to the concert, in order to assist with rehearsals and recording sessions of the concert repertoire by the Wind Orchestra. Salfelder and Dooley will also offer seminar classes to ASU composition students during their residency; Dooley will present his seminar on Monday, Feb. 1, and Salfelder’s will take place on Monday, Jan. 25. Both seminars will be from 3-3:50 p.m. in W130 and are free and open to the public.

The Wind Ensemble will perform two other pieces by Salfelder as well: “Crossing Parallels” and “Shadows Ablaze.” Also on the program is Percy Grainger’s classic, “Irish Tune from County Derry.”

This concert is particularly exciting because of the unveiling of Bolcom’s saxophone concerto, which was commissioned through a consortium headed by Creviston.

“Since commissioning a work from significant composers costs anywhere from $20,000–$100,000, very few institutions can do so themselves,” says Hill. “Creviston led this particular commission and generated interest among his saxophone colleagues from around the country, who subsequently received support from their wind band colleagues.”

Often, the person or organization that initiates, organizes and manages the commission consortium project has the privilege of giving the world premiere performance.

“Although that particular honor is not written into the contract of this specific commission, we were able to secure a performance date close to the work’s completion, so we therefore have the privilege of first performance,” says Hill. 
Creviston has been a part of hundreds of commissions, and intends to continue commissioning new works.

“I’m interested in being a part of new things, while still respecting and learning from what’s been done,” says Creviston.

As the featured soprano saxophone soloist on Bolcom’s brand-new piece, Creviston is looking forward to presenting this work to Arizona audiences, and to School of Music students in particular.

“I’m thrilled to be one of the focal points of a concert that brings such opportunity to our students,” says Creviston. “This concert is primarily made up of very new compositions for winds and percussion, and Bolcom’s soprano saxophone concerto has literally never been performed before. To bring these new pieces to life, in collaboration with their creators, is a fantastic experience for our students.”

This concert is free and will take place in ASU Gammage at 7:30 p.m. More information available here.

Media Contact:
Heather Beaman
School of Music Communications Liaison