Outstanding Contemporary Saxophone Works and Recordings

Anthony Balester

 


One of the greatest challenges that saxophonists face is the search for quality music to perform. Aside from the "Top 40" or so pieces that all saxophonists play, it can sometimes be difficult to find music that will keep not only the performer challenged, but also the listener interested. Locating saxophone recordings that primarily feature new works can also be a challenging endeavor. The purpose of this document is to alert the reader of some of the finest new saxophone compositions and CDs. Annotated bibliographies with hyperlinks are included to help the reader evaluate the usefulness and appropriateness of these materials.

 

ELEMENTS OF RESEARCH
My saxophone teacher, Dr. Steven Mauk, is fond of giving all of the saxophone majors at Ithaca College a "Holiday Gift" at the end of every fall semester. The "Holiday Gift" is usually a saxophone piece that he is unfamiliar with. Unfortunately, these pieces sometimes require much effort to learn, yet yield few musical rewards. This can lead to a frustrating experience for both teacher and student. It was my goal to eliminate some of the guesswork from learning and programming new music.

I was also interested in learning about new pieces through listening to recordings. Many of us have heard or own recordings of standard pieces from the saxophone repertoire. However, I was aware of only a few recordings that focused on new music. Another goal of my project was to identify some of the best recordings of new saxophone music.

While there are other opportunities to become familiar with new music, most are quite expensive. A trip to a saxophone-related conference can cost several hundred dollars in hotel bills alone. Adding transportation and meal expenses to that amount makes for an expense that most college students just cannot afford. Simply ordering music without having a good deal of information about it is also not a viable option for most saxophonists. Most music stores will not allow any returns on sheet music, and few saxophonists can afford to have pieces in their personal library that they are not going to study or perform. For this reason, I felt that this project would be a worthwhile endeavor.

I applied for and received an Ithaca College Dana Grant to allow me to tackle this problem during the summer months (instead of holding down a typical summer job). I sought to identify as many new, exciting works for saxophone as possible through the inspection of sheet music and CDs.

Finding materials to review was a challenging endeavor. Unfortunately, the Dana Grant did not provide me with money to purchase CDs or sheet music. I chose to deal with this problem by starting with materials in Dr. Maukís personal library. Surprisingly, he had quite a bit that had been sent to him as a courtesy. Dr. Mauk was unfamiliar with many of these pieces and recordings due to his busy teaching and performing schedule. I continued my search at the Ithaca College Library. The I.C. Library also had some materials that proved useful for my study.

Next, at my request, Dr. Mauk made use of the North American Saxophone Alliance Listserv to alert other saxophonists of our search for new music. This call yielded an abundance of exciting material. Unfortunately, due to space constraints on the Ithaca College web site, I was unable to include all of the works and CDs that were submitted to us. However, Dr. Mauk and I would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of those who submitted materials for this study.

Since this is a "new music" project, some limits had to be placed on what could and what could not be included. For this reason, I chose to limit the project to works that were not included in Jean Marie Londeixís wonderful book 150 Years of Music for Saxophone. I decided to use Londeixís book because it lists virtually every piece that was written for saxophone prior to 1994. In addition, it is widely recognized and used among the scholarly saxophone community. I limited the recordings portion of this project to CDs that consist primarily of pieces not in Londeixís book. Finally, I made an effort to include works by composers at various levels throughout the professional community. I am proud to report that my study includes great pieces by student composers and department chairs at major universities alike.

 

NEW MUSIC?
Many saxophonists may ask, "Why I should I learn or teach new music?" While dealing with new music may be one of the most challenging aspects of saxophone study, it is essential work for all saxophonists. The most important reason that all saxophonists must perform new music is that our instrument lacks the years of tradition that other instruments possess. One might argue that the vocal tradition is as old as modern man. Pianists can trace their lineage back to the development of the keyed monochord in 1157. However, the saxophone has a limited history of only 160 years. While J.S. Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann, and Brahms wrote for many instruments, the saxophone is not among them. Thus, all saxophonists must do whatever they can to ensure that the finest composers of our era write music for the saxophone.

 

GUIDE TO SHEET MUSIC ANNOTATIONS

Each annotation includes twelve items. Each item provides specific information to help the reader evaluate the usefulness of each particular piece for teaching and performance purposes. The pieces are listed in alphabetical order by the composerís last name.

 

SHEET MUSIC ANNOTATIONS INDEX

  1. Composeróname as it appears on the music.
  2. Titleófull title as it appears on the music.
  3. Date of Composition
  4. Instrumentation
  5. Publisheróif applicable.
  6. Publication Dateóif applicable.
  7. Priceóif available.
  8. Durationóbased on commercially available recordings or recordings submitted with the piece by the composer.
  9. Rangeóbased on octave segment designation a (baritone), bb, b, then c1 up to f4 (altissimo F).
  10. Number of Movements & Titles/Tempo Markings
  11. RemarksóA general description of what makes the piece unique and worthwhile of study/performance is given.
  12. Gradingóbased on the grading system used by NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association). Levels 1-6 are used: 1-Very Easy, 2-Easy, 3-Moderately Easy, 4-Moderately Difficult, 5- Difficult, 6-Very Difficult. Since many works were written for virtuoso performers, a grade of 6+ is used to indicate pieces playable only by professionals or very advanced college players.

 

SHEET MUSIC ANNOTATIONS

 

Shawn Allison. Oracion (Prayer) (2002), alto saxophone, soprano (voice), piano, two percussionists, and chamber strings (solo violin, violin 1 and 2, viola, cello and double bass).

Duration 8'; range e1 to c#4; one movement. This lyrical piece features the saxophone prominently and uses text by the late poet Pablo Neruda. This ensemble work is an outstanding choice if you're looking for a work to perform with a new music ensemble. Grade 6+.

Steve Cohen. Sonata for Soprano Saxophone & Piano (2002), soprano saxophone and piano. Steve Cohen Music Services, 2002.

Duration 14í30"; range c1 to f3; three movements: "Allegro Assai", "Blues (In memory of Ralph Burns)", and "Allegro giocoso." This work uses the soprano saxophone as an expressive and energetic instrument of classical music in the outer movements. However, the subtone, glissandi, and "blue notes" that define the "Blues" make it as soulful a movement as you will hear outside of the Village Vanguard. Grade 5-6.

Mike DíAmbrosio. Sonata for Alto Sax and Piano (2001), alto saxophone and piano.

Duration 19í; range c1 to c#4; four movements: "Forty Notes", "Frenetic", "Fractures", and "Finale." Saxophonists who love William Albrightís Sonata will almost certainly be quite fond of this piece also. Like Albrightís work, DíAmbrosioís Sonata features ancient-sounding melodies, many musical challenges, and rhythmic interplay on unison pitches between the saxophone and piano part. Grade 6+.

Mark Engebretson. She Sings, She Screams (2000), alto saxophone and tape. Apoll-Edition, 2000.

Duration 11í; range c1 to f4; one movement. This dramatic new work uses the saxophone as a vehicle to explore the melodic usage of quarter tones. Although this work is technically only one movement, it consists of three musical sections of increasing intensity. The sections are followed by a short coda. Saxophonists looking for a very challenging work that explores both the full expressive and acoustical capabilities of the saxophone should give this piece a look. Grade 6+.

Don Freund. Sky Scrapings (Serenade for Alto Saxophone and Piano) (1997), alto saxophone and piano.

Duration 16í; range bb to d4; five movements: "Transient Fixations", "Hypertoccata", "Colliding Cantilenas", "Gathering", and "a little Adieu." Sky Scrapings is quite an exciting work for both performer and listener because mood shifts can happen quite suddenly and lead to unexpected places. For example, "Colliding Cantilenas" manages to mix cocktail piano music, early Renaissance-style, and pop ballad all into one movement that still makes musical sense. Grade 6+.

Lawrence Fritts. Orthogonality (1999), alto saxophone and tape.

Duration 6í30"; range c1 to g#3; one movement. Soloists searching for something unique should seek out this "hybrid" piece. In this work, the tape consists of digitally processed saxophone pitches and key clicks that manifest themselves in the form of a percussion ensemble. The actual composition process for the saxophone material is orthogonal pitch transformations of inversion and retrograde. Very rhythmically challenging and tough to put together, but quite an exciting work. Grade 6+.

Karel Husa. Postcard from Home (1997), alto saxophone and piano. Associated Publishers, Inc., distributed by Hal Leonard, 1999. $8.95

Duration 4í; range b to e3; one movement. Certainly all saxophonists are familiar with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Karel Husaís previous works for saxophone. This simple, yet lovely piece shows us a different side of this famed composer. This work was inspired by two Moravian folk melodies. Mr. Husa writes, "The first is treated as a short recitative, expressing joyful singing in the mountains, with echoes; the second, resembling an aria, is about a young man leaving his country with great expectations, yet wondering if he will be remembered when he returns." Grade 4-5.

John David Lamb. Follies (1994), baritone saxophone and piano. To the Fore Publishers, (1999. $15.00

Duration 11í30"; range c1 to e3; three movements: "Animato," "Adagietto," "Allegretto." This piece is not only a wonderful new work; itís also the finest original baritone saxophone piece I have ever encountered. Saxophonists may be familiar with Lamb from his Six Barefoot Dances, originally written for Sigurd Rascher. This work follows in the light-hearted, energetic tradition of that classic work and adds even greater beauty in the lovely "Adagietto". Grade 5.

Libby Larsen. Holy Roller (1997), alto saxophone and piano. Oxford University Press, 1998. $21.95

Duration 10í40"; range bb to eb4; one movement. Libby Larsen is a composer whose use of language in music is her trademark. In Holy Roller, the saxophone and piano capture the language of the longest running revival meeting in America. Reverend William Seymour held this important historical event on Azusa Street in Los Angeles from 1906 to 1909. The Pentecostal movement in the U.S. is alleged to have grown out of this revival. Larsen captures all of the excitement of this event with lots of altissimo and odd meter usage. Dr. John Boyd of Indiana State University later completed a wind orchestration of the piano part. Grade 6+.

Leonard Mark Lewis. As In Stained Light (2001), alto saxophone and piano, 2002.

Duration 9í45"; range b to f4; one movement. Saxophonists looking for a piece that is very challenging yet still quite tonal should check out this work. This piece is unique because it contrasts lyrical playing by the saxophone with a flurry of rhythmic activity in the piano. Even though this is the central idea of the piece, there is still some technical work and extremely difficult altissimo for the saxophonist. The title is derived from the coda which represents how previous melodic material might sound if projected through stained glass. Grade 6+.

David Maslanka. Song Book for Alto Saxophone and Marimba (1998), alto saxophone and marimba. Carl Fischer Rental Library.

Duration 27'; range c1 to b3; seven movements: "Song for Davy - The old year is past", "Lost", "Hymn Tune with Four Variations", "Serious Music - in memoriam Arthur Cohn", "Summer Song", "Song for Alison", and "Evening Song". Thanks to Steven Jordheim who commisioned this work, we saxophonists now have another piece by one of today's most important wind composers. Like most of Maslanka's recent compositions, "Songbook" draws extensively from the chorales of J.S. Bach. Though challenging, this work is not as difficult as the Maslanka Sonata. This piece should be first on your list if you're looking to perform a saxophone and marimba duet. Grade 6.

Michael Mauldin. Three Songs for Saxophone and Piano (1999), alto saxophone and piano. Dorn Publications, 2000. $17.95

Duration 9í; range c#1 to f3; three movements: "Call and Lament", "Lullaby", and "Reel aí Bouche." This work makes full use of the saxophoneís expressive capabilities and sprightly energy. Players fond of the Creston Sonata looking for a similar piece that is a little less challenging should look no further. An excellent choice for young college players because of the lack of altissimo and moderate technical demands. Grade 5.

Liduino Pitombeira. Pau-Brasil (1999), saxophone quartet (SATB).

Duration 9í10"; range low a (bari sax) to f3 (alto); three movements: "Allegro moderato", "Lento", and "Allegro." This terrific new work for saxophone quartet explores the connection between Mr. Pitombeiraís native Brazil and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This work achieves this goal by combining the musical genres found in each locale. Pau-Brasil uses jazz, samba, blues, and choro to achieve a musical style that is truly a breath of fresh air into the repertoire of the saxophone world. This piece has lots of meter changes and technical challenges, but is easily playable by a good college quartet. Grade 6.

Liduino Pitombeira. Seresta No. 2 (2001), solo alto saxophone.

Duration 5í15"; range bb to f#3; two movements: "Noel Rosa" and "Pixinguinha." This exciting piece derives its movement titles from two of Brazilís greatest composers in the Seresta genre. Seresta is the Brazilian version of the serenade. Its two primary components are lament-like song and elements of choro. "Noel Rosa" captures this songlike style perfectly and "Pixinguinha" contains all of the energy associated with the choro dance. Grade 6.

Liduino Pitombeira. Urban Birds (2000), alto saxophone, cello, and piano.

Duration 11í; saxophone range c#1 to f#3; three movements: "Traffic Circles", "Solitary Wings", and "Birds at Carnival." Mr. Liduino captures the energy and spirit of city birds in three movements through the use of jazz harmonies. The first movement is based on a rhythmic element that represents the agitated wings of the birds, the second movement depicts a peaceful bird at night, and the third movement represents birds at a carnival feast. Luckily for us, Mr. Pitombeira has also written many other fine chamber and solo works for saxophone. More information on these works can be found on his web site. Grade 6.

Rich Shemaria. Redial (2000), soprano saxophone and piano.

Duration 7í30"; range b to f#3; one movement. Rich Shemaria sums up the Internet frustrations that so many of us have experienced with this terrific new work. The pitches heard on Shemariaís modem during repeated attempts to access the Internet are the basis for this piece. They are further developed through the extensive influence of both jazz and minimalism. Saxophonists looking for a terrific programmatic piece should look no further. Grade 6.

Pete Stollery. Squirt (1994), alto saxophone and tape.

Duration 13í; range b to f3; one movement. This piece benefits from an unusual approach taken by the composer. The initial saxophone and tape statements are spontaneous ideas from the composer. These "squirts" are then "smeared" by the composer as paint is in a Jackson Pollock painting. This piece is full of extended techniques such as portamento, flutter tonguing, slap tonguing, and quarter tones. Grade 6+.

Dana Wilson. Come Sunday Mornin' (1995), saxophone quartet (SATB). Dorn Publications, 1999. $22.95

Duration 9'; range a (baritone) to g3 (soprano); two movements: "Callin' Out" and "Callin' Back". Since this quartet was originally written for a Southern saxophone quartet (the Tower Saxophone Quartet of Georgia), this work captures two of the most important Southern images there are: the preacher of the deep South and the gospel quartet. The first movement represents four preachers calling out to a congregation who reflect on their words. The second movement represents the response of the gospel choir. This unique piece combines elements of blues, gospel, and even a little calypso. Grade 6.

Dana Wilson. Howling at the Moon (2000), saxophone quartet (SATB).

Duration 12'30"; range bb (baritone) to f#3; three movements: "Wailing", "Singing", and "Conjuring". The title of this work is drawn from a collection of poetry by Japanese poet Hagiwara Sakutaro. Much like the works of Ryo Noda, the soprano saxophone part recalls the shakuhachi flute that is a part of the native culture of Japan. However, this piece also represents the music of other cultures. The first movement is intended to sounds like a wailing person or animal. The second movement is based on the intense singing of African-American gospel music. The third movement suggests primal rites. Grade 6.

Dana Wilson. We Sing to Each Other (1996), solo alto saxophone.

Duration 9'15"; range bb to d4; two movements: "Of beauty and sadnessÖ" and "Of darkness and joyÖ". This beautiful piece makes full use of the similarities between the saxophone and the human voice. This work is unique because it uses counterpoint as a metaphor for an intimate dialogue between two people. Much like the cello suites of J.S. Bach, it is a good example of how the illusion of two-voice writing can be accomplished through excellent one-voice writing. Grade 6+.

Gregory Woodward. amati (1999), soprano saxophone and chamber strings or piano.

Duration 10'30"; range c1 to g3; one movement. This lovely work is based on the composerís impressions of impromptu clarinet recitals he gave both for and with his mother as a youth. These included jazz duets, pieces with voice, but most importantly the music of Mozart. Mozartís clarinet concerto is the most important source of material used to paint this hazy, dream-like remembrance of these practice sessions. Grade 6.

 

GUIDE TO COMPACT DISC ANNOTATIONS

Each annotation includes seven items. Each item provides specific information to help the reader evaluate the usefulness of each particular CD. The recordings are listed in alphabetical order by the name of the performer(s).

 

COMPACT DISC ANNOTATIONS INDEX

  1. Performeróname as it appears on the CD.
  2. CD Titleófull title as it appears on the CD.
  3. Date of release
  4. Record Company
  5. Recording Number
  6. Title, Instrumentation, and Composer/Arranger (for each piece)ówhere applicable.
  7. RemarksóA general description of what makes the recording unique and interesting is given.

 

COMPACT DISC ANNOTATIONS

 

Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet. Box (1996). New World Records. Tri-monk (AATB, trumpet, and drums) ñ Jessica Lurie, Crna Machka (Black Cat) (ATTB and drums) ñ Jessica Lurie, Disgruntled Postal Worker (ATTB and drums) ñ Amy Denio, In Effect (AATB and drums) ñ Jessica Lurie, Boise (AATB and drums) ñ Amy Denio, Vorrei Dire Due Parole (SATB and drums) ñ Jessica Lurie, Soleil (ATTB, dumbek, djembe, percussion, and drums) ñ Jessica Lurie, All Manic (ATTB and drums) ñ Jimi Hendrix/Miles Davis/arr. BTMSQ, Cud (SATB and drums) ñ BTMSQ, Likka Law (SATB and drums) ñ Amy Denio, Le Goo Wop (ATTB and drums) ñ Geri Allen/arr. Lurie/Denio, Belle (AATB and drums) ñ Traditional Cajun/arr. Lurie, and For My Beautiful Wife on Her Birthday (SAAB and drums) ñ BTMSQ.

This terrific all-female ensemble is named for jazz saxophonist Billy Tipton, who pretended to be a man for more than 50 years in order to escape the sexism that plagued the jazz world. The works on this CD incorporate a myriad of influences including dance music, funk, jazz, klezmer, punk, and Cajun folk melodies. Thereís even a terrific arrangement that combines Jimi Hendrixís Manic Depression with the jazz standard All Blues. The arrangements on this CD are all for four saxophones, drums, and occasionally auxiliary percussion. Any quartet with some jazz skills that has access to a drummer should give this fine disc a look.

Claude Delangle. The Russian Saxophone (1996). Grammofon AB BIS, CD-765. Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano ñ Edison Denisov, Pas de Deux (soprano, chimes, and soprano/tenor saxophones) ñ Alexander Raskatov, Duo-Sonata for Two Baritone Saxophones - Sofia Gubaidulina, Casus in Terminus (alto saxophone, piano, and cello) ñ Vadim Karasikov, Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Cello - Edison Denisov, and Musique pour Líange (tenor saxophone, vibraphone, and cello) ñ Alexander Vustin.

As the title indicates, this CD is a treasure trove for saxophone works by Russian composers. Many saxophonists may be familiar with the Denisov Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano. Also included is a new sonata by Denisov, this time for alto saxophone and cello. Claude Delangle has done us all a great service by premiering this work, along with three other intriguing new works by Russian composers.

Susan Fancher. Ponder Nothing (2002). Innova Recordings, Innova 564. New York Counterpoint (soprano saxophone with pre-recorded soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones) ñ Steve Reich/tr. Susan Fancher, Tre Pezzi (solo soprano saxophone) ñ Giacinto Scelsi, She Sings, She Screams (alto saxophone and tape) ñ Mark Engebretson, Ponder Nothing (solo alto saxophone) ñ Ben Johnston/tr. Susan Fancher, Sonata (alto saxophone and piano) ñ Wolfram Wagner, and Saxoscope ñ (solo alto saxophone) ñ Alexander Wagendristel.

Ms. Fancher is to be applauded not only for her outstanding playing, but also for her involvement in transcribing or commissioning virtually all of the works on this recording. Thanks to her insight and Steve Reichís approval, saxophonists finally have a work by one of 20th centuryís most revolutionary composers. This CD also features some exciting new works by Viennese composers, which are welcome additions to the saxophone repertoire.

Maria Noel Luzardo. Chamber Music for Saxophone (1998). Producciones Argentinas e Internacionales, PAI3023. Fantasia para Saxofon Alto y Piano ñ Ronaldo Miranda, Niebla y Cemento (alto saxophone and piano) ñ Mario Herrerias, Chamber Music for Alto Saxophone and Woodwind Quintet ñ Walter Hartley, Pequena Czarda (alto saxophone and piano) ñ Pedro Iturralde, Sonata for Soprano Saxophone and Piano ñ Srul Irving Glick, and Sonata para Saxofon Alto y Piano ñ Fernando Lerman.

This terrific recording features Argentine saxophone virtuoso Maria Noel Luzardo and some fine new saxophone pieces from the other side of the equator. Brazilian composer Ronaldo Miranda contributes a new work for alto saxophone and piano. Tango lovers will appreciate a new piece from famed Argentine tango composer Mario Herrerias. Finally, fellow saxophone instructor at the National Conservatory of Buenos Aires, Fernando Lerman, contributed another fine saxophone piece to this recording.

Gerard McChrystal. Meeting Point (1996). Silva Classics, SILKD 6010. The Celtic (soprano saxophone and string orchestra) ñ D.C. Heath, I Sleep at Waking (solo alto saxophone) ñ Ian Wilson, Saxophone Concerto (soprano saxophone and orchestra) ñ Michael Torke, From Nowhere to Nowhere (solo alto saxophone) ñ Michael McGlynn, and Where the Bees Dance (soprano saxophone and chamber orchestra) ñ Michael Nyman.

Irish saxophonist Gerard McChrystal has produced a wonderful new recording with the London Musici orchestra. This recording is unique because it consists only of new saxophone concerti and new unaccompanied works. In addition, most of the works on this CD are by British and Irish composers. Many pieces have programmatic influences dealing with Ireland. These features make this recording something different for those of us who are most familiar with American and French saxophone music.

The Morosco Saxophone Quartet. Originations, The Saxophone Music of Victor Morosco (1999). Morsax Music, MS101CD. Fanfare, Italian Sketches, Baroque Blue, Christy, Paco Pazzo, and Song for R.C..

Saxophonists who enjoyed the Victor Morosco composition Blue Caprice will certainly be fond of this CD also. This recording features Victor Moroscoís compositions for saxophone quartet. Like Blue Caprice, these works bear the extensive influence of Moroscoís experience in both the classical and jazz idioms. Anyone looking for some terrific new quartet music with both jazz and classical influences should give this recording a look.

The New Century Saxophone Quartet. Home Grown, Commissions Vol. 1 (1999). Channel Classics Records, CCS 15498. Sinfonia for Saxophone Quartet ñ Sherwood Shaffer, Saxophone Quartet No. 2 ñ Lenny Pickett, Three Lyrics for Saxophone Quartet ñ Thomas Massella, Saxomaphone ñ Ken Valitsky, Three Moods ñ David Ott, and Alley Dance ñ Benjamin Boone.

The New Century Saxophone Quartet is certainly one of the saxophone worldís finest chamber ensembles. Their latest recording shows off six works that they have commissioned, including a new quartet by Tower of Power and Saturday Night Live alum Lenny Pickett. This CD is truly a valuable recording, since it is packed with six terrific commissions. All of these pieces are quite exciting and are much appreciated additions to the saxophone quartet repertoire.

The Osland Saxophone Quartet. In the Land of Ephesus (2001). Sea Breeze Records, SB-3059. Saxophone Quartet No. 2 (SATB and drums) - Bob Mintzer, In the Land of Ephesus (SATB and congas) - Joe Lovano arr. Steve Slagle, It Takes Four to Tango (SATB and percussion)- Daniel Dorff, Concertino - Marcel Poot, Play Song - Bill Mays, The Doo-Dah Suite (SATB and bass)- Stephen Foster arr. Bill Holcombe, and 1000 Bars of Blue - Walt Weiskopf.

Miles Osland and Company have produced another terrific CD. This recording is of special interest since it contains a great saxophone quartet from one of the most creative composers in the jazz world today: Bob Mintzer. This piece will certainly please those who are fond of his Latin big band tunes. Other highlights include the simple It Takes Four to Tango, in the tradition of the works of Astor Piazzola and 1000 Bars of Blue, a six movement quartet from New York tenor saxophonist Walt Weiskopf.

John Sampen. Visions in Metaphor (2001). Albany Records, TROY442. Postcard (from Fearful Symmetries) (soprano saxophone and piano) ñ John Adams, Accompanied Recitative (soprano saxophone and piano) ñ Milton Babbitt, Postcard from Home (alto saxophone and piano) ñ Karel Husa, Mirrorim (soprano saxophone and piano) ñ Pauline Oliveros, Postcard from Kansas: Welcome to Interstate-70 (alto saxophone and piano) ñ William Albright, Pensive Soliloquy (alto saxophone and piano) - Samuel Adler, Continuum (Postscript ë97) (alto saxophone and piano) ñ Marilyn Shrude, Memo 6 (solo alto saxophone) ñ Bernard Rands, Facades (soprano saxophone and piano) ñ Philip Glass, Wings (solo alto saxophone) ñ Joan Tower, and Elegie et Rondeau (alto saxophone and piano) ñ Karel Husa.

John Sampen has truly produced a landmark recording with pianist Marilyn Shrude. The first seven works on this CD make up Postcards from America, a commissioning project conceived in 1994 by this duo to celebrate the diversity of American compositions. The composers in this project read like a "Whoís Who in Music" with legends Babbitt, Husa, Adler, Albright, and John Adams. This is truly one of the most spectacular and important achievements in saxophone history. In addition, the CD contains some additional compositions, including a new arrangement of Glassís Facades for soprano saxophone and piano.


Airman 1st Class Anthony Balester is a saxophonist in the US Air Force Regional Band program. He is currently a member of the US Air Force Band of Liberty at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts. He is a Magna cum Laude graduate of the Ithaca College School of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree in Saxophone Performance and Music Education. As a student at Ithaca, he received a Dean's Scholarship, the Col. George S. Howard Music Scholarship, and the Frankino Foundation Scholarship. He was honored for his achievements through induction into the Oracle Honor Society and Pi Kappa Lambda. He was also inducted into the National Scholars Honor Society and named to the National Dean's List three times. He has performed with the IC Wind Ensemble, Tuesday/Thursday Jazz Workshop, Faculty Jazz Band, and Graduate Student Saxophone Quartet. Through his association with these groups, he performed at the 2002 College Band Directors National Association Convention, the Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem, the 2002 Ithaca College Commencement Eve Concert, and at Alice Tully Hall in celebration of famed composer Karel Husa's 80th birthday.

He has served the IC and Ithaca communities by performing at the Longview Personal Care Home and Women's Community Building, assisting with the Dean's Hosting Program, and by serving as a guest writer for The Ithacan. He has performed professionally with Souled Out, a northeastern Pennsylvania-based rock band. He has also served on the staff of the Performing Arts Institute as saxophone counselor. His professional experience includes studies with Nelson Hill, Gunnar Mossblad, and Steven Mauk. He is a member of Music Educators National Conference, the International Association for Jazz Education, the North American Saxophone Alliance, and the American Music Conference.