For Steven Banks, Ithaca College assistant professor of performance studies, his winning performance in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions wasn’t only a personal triumph; it was a win for his instrument.  

Steven is the first saxophonist to win the esteemed award that has launched the careers of many world-renowned musicians in its 58-year history. 

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunities that this opens up for me as well as for the classical saxophone community.  It’s surreal and certainly something that I’ll always look back on as a life-changing moment.”

Steven received one of four first prizes after the final round of auditions in New York City. Winners receive a three-year comprehensive management contract as Young Concert Artists roster members and are presented in concert engagements across North America and abroad, including debut recitals in New York City and Washington, DC.

Steven is also the first IC professor to win the Young Concert Artists Auditions. Michael Galván, professor of clarinet at IC, says the award showcases the exceptional levels of talent and drive that make up the Ithaca College music program. 

“When aspiring saxophone students are looking at schools and they see that Steven Banks is performing at the Kennedy Center, how can that not tip them off that there’s someone special here to work with?” Michael says. “It shows a level of attainment and a level of music-making that goes on here.”