WSaxQ 41st Season 2017-18

The Washington Saxophone Quartet is looking forward to its 41st Season! We’ll be touring in Virginia and Florida as well as concerts in the greater Washington area.

Here is an overview. Details in the Concert Calendar tab on this website.

We begin in October with a master class and recital at Longwood University in Farmville, VA. (This is the first of two performances this season supported by the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Directory. The second program will be in April at Virginia Wesleyan University.)

November 14 will be a new venue for us at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts on the Manassas campus of George Mason University. Part of the Matinee Idylls series!

January: two concerts in Virginia … Lawrenceville and Abingdon… Later this month (Jan. 30) we perform at Episcopal High School collaborating with the National Chamber Players.

February: Florida tour with concerts in Ft. Myers and Sarasota (Feb. 22nd through 25th)

April: Virginia Wesleyan University … master class and concert on the 9th

June: Collaboration with the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic … Concerto by William Bolcom

All links and details in this website Concert Calendar. Stay in touch for any changes/additions.

Feel free to contact us: 703-973-1336 or wsaxq4@gmail.com

Any and all ideas are welcome.

Rich Kleinfeldt, member/manager

The New Season … 2016 and beyond!

The Washington Saxophone Quartet is excited to be looking ahead at our 4oth Season of making music together in 2016. It doesn’t seem like 40 years and we certainly don’t feel any older!

It’s the music. It always has been about presenting performances as good as we are able. And for our programs we have been fortunate to find a mix of repertoire that never seems to end. There is always something fresh and exciting about the music…whether it’s a work that we’ve played over the past 40 years or a newly commissioned piece composed just for us, the opportunities for programming are almost endless.

We look forward to performing throughout the coming season and hope to broaden our reach even more. This past year has been great in that regard, with more of our music broadcast nationally and an ever widening recognition of our work. We also have five CDs to date and are planning a new recording for the upcoming year. And we are looking forward to performing at least one new commission in the coming season.

We’re also planning our tours and look forward to new venues as well as returning to locations we’ve been to in the past.

All of it keeps us going and we look forward to more of it all.

Feel free to contact us: 703-973-1336 or wsaxq@aol.com

Any and all ideas are welcome.

Rich Kleinfeldt,member/manager

Upcoming Season: WSaxQ Dates 2014-15

We’re excited about the new season (2014-15) as we the near the 40th year of performing as the Washington Saxophone Quartet in 2016.  This year (2014) is the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone. His exact birthdate is November 6, which just happens to be the same date for John Philip Sousa. We just happen to have an arrangement of his greatest march, The Stars and Strips Forever. Always a good crowd pleaser!

We kicked off the season and Sax’s birthday in February at The Barns at Wolf Trap with a program celebrating the instrument and its versatility in various genres.

This fall, we’ll continue with that celebration featuring works old and new from Belgium, France and the United States … all important countries in the saxophone’s development. We’ll also bring back some favorites that the quartet has enjoyed in the past.

Also, our group will be featured on WETA on November 3rd at 9:00PM on the program “Front Row Washington.” As you might expect, we are celebrating the birth of Adolphe Sax.

Below is the schedule at this point. Hope to see you at our concerts!! We’ll be updating on our website http://www.wsaxq.com

October 12, 19, (Sundays) 2014 WMPA Flagello “Concerto Grosso”

(Oct 12) The George Washington Masonic National Memorial (VA) at 3 pm

(Oct 19) The Church of the Epiphany (DC) at 3 pm

Nov. 16 (Sunday) Falls Church Episcopal afternoon concert, 4:00PM 

115 E. Fairfax Street 

Falls Church, VA 22046

Feb 8, 2015 (Sunday) at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Falls Church (Odeon Series) 4:00PM

3241 Brush Dr, Falls Church, VA 22042

 

March 14, 2015 (Saturday) at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Alexandria 7:30PM

8009 Fort Hunt Rd, Alexandria, VA 22308

 

 

March 15, 2015 (Sunday) at the Lake Barcroft in Falls Church. “Rusticway Chamber Music” at 5:00PM

3424 Rusticway Lane, Falls Church, VA

http://www.lakebarcroft.org/events/performing-arts/rusticway-chamber-music-series

March 18,19, 2015 (Wednesday/Thursday) Virginia Beach, Sandler Center for the Perf Arts. 

School Program and Evening Concert 

Sandler Center for the Performing Arts is located at 201 Market Street (adjacent to the Westin Hotel) in Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462

>Looking Ahead…

>A work in progress…this is an old post, but still applies as the Washington Saxophone Quartet nears our 40th Season. As we look ahead, many ideas and plans will be discussed and assessed.

This is a time of planning, a time for discussions about what to perform and what kinds of programs will be best for certain venues and situations. Discussions always center around how the music will be perceived, with the underlying assumption that we (the quartet) already like the music in question.

I just read an interview with the members of the American Brass Quintet, and ensemble that recently celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary! A great accomplishment. They continue to do well and have carved out a combination of teaching/performing/recording that would make any group envious.
The sound of a brass quintet is better known than that of a saxophone quartet. In fact, the sound of a brass group doesn’t really get confused with any other group. Saxophones need to make a stronger presence, because the sound they make is not well known. Indeed, many people hearing a recording of a saxophone quartet for the first time, often think they are hearing some other combination of instruments. It is a sound that is regularly confused!

So, with all that in mind, the saxophone quartet has an added concern. If potential audiences and venue presenters have never heard a saxophone quartet before, what kind of music is best suited for that situation. It all seems very basic and simple, but the reality is that opinions and attitudes are not often based on logical premises. Many people make decisions without ample information, and in the case of a saxophone quartet, the process of whether to book a quartet is often mired in misconceptions.
What would you like to hear? Do you like familiar sounds or new sounds? Is contemporary music the most important thing in programming? Have you ever heard a saxophone quartet before?

>Better Late Than Never

>I know that there are many, many, people much better at this than I. I knew that when I started this BLOG! But it’s time to bring things together with the new year and set a schedule for writing…and get some needed feedback, if there is any, from those who are also concerned about the future of the Classical Saxophone.

I’ve been making a mental list of the things that need to be done for students and teachers:
1) High School and College Students, look ahead and make sure you want to be a classical saxophone player. If you do, then make plans for forming a saxophone quartet. Find out more about the music, listen to recordings and talk to groups that are out there. Also, start going to recitals by saxophone quartets and talk to people who attend about what they heard, and what they liked and perhaps didn’t like. After you’ve formed your group, GET OUT THERE AND PLAY FOR PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE CAMPUS ENVIRONMENT. Don’t just perform for other musicians and worse, other saxophone players! Yes it’s helpful to get feedback from your colleagues, but if we ever hope for classical saxophone to be a part of the serious music world, we need to get out there and create audiences.
2) Teachers – High School and College – please make the saxophone quartet something more than an addition to the curriculum. The quartet is the only way for most classical saxophone players to make their future. Sure, there will be exceptions, but most players will not be hired to perform in solo recitals and concerto performances. It hasn’t happened over the last fifty years, and it’s not likely to happen any time soon. The quartet is critical and what we need is Critical Mass!
Teachers, particularly at the college level, can make the biggest difference. Schools like Northwestern University, University of Michigan, Michigan State, University of Southern California, Eastman School of Music, and others have produced award winning, wonderfully, talented quartets. After they graduate, they perform for a while and then many of these groups fade away. WHY? As long the classical music business is fueled by groups that are represented by Artist Managers, the saxophone quartet will not be included in the mix! At this point, there is only one saxophone represented by a New York agency, and that’s the New Century Saxophone Quartet. Good for them. But for all the other talented young quartets, we need more than that. Think about it.
More later. Please chime in and respond.

>Musical/Radio Tastes

>WSaxQ recently sent CDs to some 30-40 stations. It is our new CD “Different Times, Different Places.” The music ranges from Bach transcriptions to original works for saxophone quartet. Initial response was good from a few of the stations, and e-mail exchanges were positive, but since the mailing, which was almost 2 months ago, I’m not sure the CD has been played. In fact, it’s not likely you’ll hear a saxophone quartet very often on the radio.

It is a curious thing? I do a lot of listening on-line, and for the most part, programming is not too adventurous or even bold. There are some bright spots, including the CBC, but for the most part, music like ours is not likely to be heard on classical radio stations.
Before you say to yourself, “sour-grapes,” my comments/thoughts are not only focused on our CD, but the thousands of CDs by groups and individual artists of all kinds in the classical music field.
It is an increasingly narrower spectrum of music that gets played. And I really can’t figure out why. There might be a sense that listeners will flee from recordings that are too different. Even so called accessible music doesn’t get aired.
There is no question that the core music that is being presented is wonderful. This music is, in every conceivable way, classic and deserves to be heard. It has stood the test of time.
But there is so much more that goes unheard. The only way this will change is if radio listeners and music lovers demand to hear more music and broader repertoire. This is something that needs to be done.
You thoughts…

>Two Concerts Worth Mentioning

>We performed in Arizona on Friday, Mar. 26, which included a couple of school clinics. Basically successful and fun, although a bit disappointing to hear that one of the schools, (a middle school), was closing at the end of this year. The band director seemed lucky enough to move to the high school for next year. And then that evening we performed for a fine audience with many people hearing the saxophone quartet for the first time. Always a treat! Sold out out CDs!! None to carry back on the plane!!!

Then on the way home I was taken down again after talking with a former student who now lives and teaches music in Arizona. He missed the concert but we were able to talk and get caught up things. We talked about his future and his wife’s, who also teaches music. They are expecting their first child this summer. Great news, however their jobs are in jeopardy if a budget bill does not pass. Things are not going well there in Arizona, and throughout the country for music and arts education in general. We need to stay tuned to this. Please read about it and find out as much as you can in your local school district and then perhaps you can do something to help keep it alive and well. These young people are the future!
Tuesday night, March 30, we performed at the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA. It was a delightful day…clinic in the afternoon with the students and a concert at night. Very good house and again, some new listeners to the saxophone quartet. Always great to initiate new ears to the sound. Knowing some in the audience, I can say that the age range was pre-teen to 92, and every age in between. Reception followed to meet people and talk about the music. In the music world, being able to communicate right away with the members of the audience is critical.
We musicians have to keep up the momentum for new performance ideas and always look for ways to build the numbers for those may be hearing something for the first time. They’re out there. We just need to find them and keep them.
You’re thoughts?

>Concert/Master Class at Longwood University

>This past Sunday afternoon, WSaxQ performed at Longwood University. It was our third visit in the last 12 years or so and we had a great audience, even though the Olympic Hockey final game with USA vs. Canada was at the same time. While that sort of thing shouldn’t make a difference, we still wondered.

We were hosted by Charles Kinzer, the Dept. Chair and saxophone professor. His wife, Lisa, who teaches piano and other classes was there as well. We particularly enjoyed their comments, which included the power of music to communicate. One of the sections of the program, which we have been presenting this season, features the pairing of Michael Nyman’s “Song for Tony-1” and the “Adagio” by Samuel Barber. These are both very emotional pieces, one intentional and the other has evolved after it’s composition. Nyman conveyed very directly and vividly, the anger he felt after the death of a close friend. It is a piece constructed in such an energetic way that after the nearly 4 minutes of performance, there is a sense of exhaustion for players and listeners alike. The Barber is very well known, but never seems to stop evoking deep feelings. Audience response has been very good and encouraging. Some are able to convey exactly the way they feel, while others just allow themselves to “get lost” in the sounds.
The language of music is something our group has been exploring with very young listeners as well and the range of thoughtful emotional response has been nothing short of remarkable. As scientists say…there is some evidence that we are “wired” for music very early in life.
Later Sunday night we conducted a master class and heard some very good playing from the saxophone students at Longwood. Lisa Kinzer played piano (at the last minute) and did a wonderful job of collaborating with the saxophonists. Again, in the process of hearing various pieces and talking about the music, the subject of communicating with the instrument came up, over and over. Music does that so well, it makes you wonder why music teaching budgets are in jeopardy all over the country. It is so vital to education in general. We heard very promising group of students, many of whom plan to teach. We hope that whatever happens in their careers, that they will keep music in their lives. They are off to a good start.
More later…Phoenix, AZ on March 26th

>Preparing to Celebrate our 35th

>The Washington Saxophone Quartet was formed in 1976 and is beginning to make plans for some kind of celebration to mark our 35th Anniversary. One thing that immediately comes to mind is to perform as much as possible! That sounds easy enough. And since performance seasons are often mutable or at least varied according to how one thinks of the “Year” vs. “Season”, we can begin the festivities in 2010-2011 season and continue right through 2011-2012. Why not stretch it out!

There are many other things related to our anniversary to celebrate, so we’ll keep thinking and look forward to ideas.
So to be bold, if anyone is reading this and would like to book our quartet for those aforementioned seasons, or anytime for that matter, we’re ready.
Please contact us: wsaxq@aol.com

Visit the website: www.wsaxq.com
Our repertoire is broad and deep, with new pieces added all the time, from the earliest music to the newest.
We look forward to hearing from you…

>Recent Concert

>Sunday, January 31…a very enthusiastic crowd braved the aftermath of a fairly substantial snow storm, to attend our afternoon concert at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church of Arlington.

It was program with many contrasts, including music by Michael Nyman, Samuel Barber, Gyorgy Ligeti…as well as original works for saxophone quartet by Jean Absil (mid 20th century Belgian) and Bob Mintzer (contemporary American).
We also collaborated with the church’s fine organist, Emily Koons, to perform a transcription by Telemann. The five of us filled the church with big sounds, and we hope to do it again soon.

The audience enjoyed the variety and had lots of questions following the program. Some were hearing a sax quartet for the first time and wanted to know why it was something they were not aware of already. That always starts a great exchange of ideas about music and the saxophone. Many were intrigued by the broad spectrum of sounds they heard and the range in repertoire. And we also gained more fans from the choral side of things when we told them about our various collaborations with Washington area choirs.
Some in the audience had heard our group on CD but not in-concert. They were pleased with the bigger sounds that can’t really be achieved on the recording. A live concert is always something to be savored.
We’re always looking for ways to bring “new ears” to our music and for that matter, any saxophone quartet’s music.
We’re always looking for the day when the surprise factor about the saxophone quartet itself, will not be such a surprise.
At the same time, it’s always wonderful to surprise someone!