The Eastman Saxophone Project, a conductorless ensemble whose members garner top prizes in chamber music and saxophone competitions, will appear on the Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 23, as part of The Conservatory Project.
Composed of students from the Eastman School of Music under the direction of Associate Professor of Saxophone Chien-Kwan Lin, the ensemble has received recognition for its performance of repertoire ranging from Stravinsky’s La Sacre du Printemps to Philip Glass’s soundtrack from Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, presenting entire programs from memory.
For its Kennedy Center debut, the Eastman Saxophone Project will perform arrangements of J.S. Bach’s Chaconne from Partita in D minor; three movements from Ravel’s solo piano suite Le tombeau de Couperin; Michael Djupstrom’s string quartet “Long, long ago;” Steven Bryant’s “RedLine,” and Adam Gorb’s “Awayday.” The concert is free and open to the public.
As individual and as quartet performers, Eastman saxophone students have amassed honors at national and international competitions. Most recently, at the 2015 Music Teachers National Association competition, Eastman saxophonists took first prize in the solo woodwind category and, for the third year in a row, in the woodwind chamber category. Other wins include prizes at the Fischoff National Chamber Music, the Plowman Chamber Music, the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA), the Coleman Chamber Music, the International Saxophone Symposium, and the Jean-Marie Londeix International Saxophone Competitions.
The Eastman Saxophone Project performs repertoire from a wide spectrum of musical genres, including original works as well as transcriptions and arrangements by assistant director Jonathan Wintringham and current ensemble members. The ensemble is also committed to presenting new works and collaborating with both prominent and up-and-coming composers such as DownBeat award winner Jennifer Bellor, ASCAP award winners Ted Goldman and John Mackey, Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award recipient Marc Mellits, and others.
Founded in 2010, The Eastman Saxophone Project made its New York debut in 2011 as a featured guest artist at Steinway Hall and performed at the 2014 North American Saxophone Alliance Conference. The ensemble performs numerous outreach concerts and two full-length productions a year at the Eastman School of Music.
All of the Eastman Saxophone Project’s performances are archived and available through its YouTube Channel, EastmanSaxProject. The ensemble’s rendition of La Sacre du Printemps garnered more than 27,000 views in a three-day span when it was first posted.
Performing at The Kennedy Center on April 23 are: doctoral students Matt Evans, Katherine Weintraub, and Jonathan Wintringham; master’s degree students Matt Amedio, Myles Boothroyd, Timothy Harris, and Sumner Truax; seniors Ainsley Kilgo, Dan Stenziano, Tyler Wiessner, and Jiaqi (Kevin) Zhao; juniors Anne Kunkle, Arthur Liang, and Aiwen Zhang; sophomores Lauritz Eller, Khanh Nguyen, Annie Sawamura, Stephanie Venturino, and Drew Viavattine; and freshman Chaithu Natarajan. They will be joined by percussionist Sean Lowery, a senior.
The Conservatory Project is a series that showcases outstanding young musicians from around the country. The event presents talented artists in classical music, jazz, musical theater, and opera from the nation’s leading conservatories and music schools. The Eastman School of Music was one of eight founding participants of the Kennedy Center Conservatory Project when it was launched in 2004, and student musicians have represented the school in front of Washington, D.C., audiences every year since then.
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