While saxophone activities have been taking place at Eastman for more than 60 years – since the founding of the Eastman Wind Ensemble in the 1950’s, through Sigurd Rascher’s summer workshops in the 1960’s – the study of the instrument at Eastman effectively began in 1972, with the appointment of Ramon Ricker as the school’s first professor of saxophone. In 2004, Chien-Kwan Lin was appointed as the school’s second professor of saxophone, presiding over the studio’s expansion and continued legacy of excellence. Additionally, Eastman jazz saxophone students have been mentored by alumni, including Walt Weiskopf (2002-10), José Encarnación (2010-11), and Charles Pillow (2011 – present).
For over four decades, Eastman saxophone graduates have been prominent educators, award-winning performers, and important contributors to the American cultural life. Click here for a partial list.
The saxophone studio averages 30 students during the academic year, including saxophone majors within the Winds, Brass and Percussion department, as well as jazz saxophone majors under the Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media department. As a unique curricula feature, both groups of students meet weekly during studio classes, led by both our classical and jazz faculty members. Click here for more detailed information about Jazz Studies.
Through ongoing exchanges with internationally renowned artists, Eastman students are constantly exposed to a wide range of teaching and performing styles. Recent artists who have taught at Eastman include Claude Delangle (recurring), Lars Mlekusch, Alfonso Padilla, Kuninobu Bando, Susan Fancher, Joshua Hyde, Griffin Campbell, and the Ancia Quartet.
Besides individual lessons and solo recitals, saxophone students participate through various selection processes in the following ensembles:
- Eastman Jazz Ensemble
- Eastman Jazz Lab Band
- Eastman New Jazz Ensemble
- Eastman Saxophone Project
- Eastman Studio Orchestra
- Eastman Wind Ensemble
- Eastman Wind Orchestra
- Jazz Performance Workshops
- Musica Nova
- Saxophone Quartets
Summer Saxophone Studies
During summer sessions, saxophone students from around the world come to Eastman to attend the Eastman Summer Saxophone Institute (for high school and young college students), as well as the American Saxophone Academy to study with a premier roster of saxophone artists (for advanced college students).