Eastman Saxophonists Will Perform, Compete at National Conference

March 11, 2014

Eastman School of Music saxophonists will be performing both as invited guest artists and as competition participants at the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) Conference at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from Thursday, March 20, through Sunday, March 23.

The Eastman Saxophone Project, created in 2010 as a conductor-less saxophone ensemble, will be featured in the conference’s Saturday evening chamber music concert performing Rhymes with Silver by Assistant Professor of Music Theory Ted Goldman. The group will also appear in the Saxophone Ensemble Showcase on Sunday morning and will present the world premiere of Skylark Lullaby by Jennifer Bellor (PhD ’13). In addition, the award-winning saxophone quartet Project Fusion will perform in the conference’s Quartet Series on Sunday morning.

Students Myles Boothroyd, Katherine Weintraub, and Jonathan Wintringham have been named semi-finalists in this year’s NASA solo competition. The East End Quartet, composed of Boothroyd, Wintringham, Timothy Harris, and Sumner Truax, is in the semi-finals of the quartet competition, while Alexa Tarantino is a semi-finalist in the jazz competition.

In addition, Eastman School of Music Dean Jamal Rossi will be one of the judges for the classical saxophone competition finals, is participating in a panel titled “D.M.A or J.O.B: Pathways to Employment in the Academy and Beyond,” and will perform with Professor Steven Mauk of Ithaca College. Associate Professor of Saxophone Chien-Kwan Lin will be judging the final round of the collegiate solo competition and will be featured in the Selmer Artist Showcase Concert.

The Eastman Saxophone Project (ESP) consists of students from Lin’s studio. The ensemble is directed by Lin and performs entire programs from memory. ESP presents approximately 10 concerts a year, including two full recitals per season in Rochester. The ensemble has performed in Steinway Hall in New York and at the NASA Regional Conference in West Point. Ensemble members are Phil Pierick, Tim Harris, Chris Doser, Nick Exler, Keenan McKoy, Marta Tiesenga, Ainsley Kilgo, Dan Stenziano, Tyler Wiessner, Jiaqi Zhao, and Boothroyd, Truax, Weintraub, and Wintringham.

Project Fusion, composed of Dannel Espinoza, Matt Evans, Michael Sawzin, and Matt Amedio, won the Gold Medal in the Senior Wind Division of the 2013 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.  The group, which is coached by Lin, also received the Grand Prize in the 2013 Plowman Chamber Music Competition and first place in the 2013 Music Teachers National Association Chamber Music Wind Competition.

Performers for the Saturday night chamber music concert also include Eastman alumnus Douglas H. O’Connor (MM ’08 DMA ’12) and the University of Illinois Percussion Ensemble performing Gradient 2.0 by Baljinder Sekhon (MA ’08 PhD ’13).

The North American Saxophone Alliance is an organization made up of professional performers, university professors, public school teachers, students of all levels, and others who have an interest in the saxophone. Its biennial conference features jazz and chamber music concerts, master classes, lectures, and exhibits. This year’s event honors the 200th birthday of instrument designer and saxophone inventor Adolphe Sax and the 20th anniversary of the first NASA biennial conference.


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