The Ouachita Saxophone Quartet has been invited to perform at the 33rd International Saxophone Symposium at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Jan. 15-16.
The Symposium, hosted by the United States Navy Band, has become one of the most prestigious saxophone conferences in the world. It also boasts one of the largest audiences of any saxophone-only event in the country. Ouachita’s ensemble is among only 30 saxophone quartets—both graduate and undergraduate—from across the United States invited to perform. Other quartets invited include groups from the Peabody Institute of Music, Northwestern University, the University of Georgia and UCLA.
Alex Goff, a sophomore music theory and composition major from Nashville, Ark., has played the saxophone for nearly 10 years and plays soprano saxophone in the quartet. Goff said, “I think all of us, myself included, were shocked and honored when we heard the news that we had made it, but we were really excited at the opportunity!”
At the Symposium, the quartet will perform the following as a part of the College Quartet Series: “River Music” by Lawrence Moss, “Quartet for Saxophones” by Renee Silas Waters, “Fast Walk” by Daniel Dorff, “Shepherd’s Hey” by Percy Grainger, “Grant Quatour Concertant” by J. B. Singelee and “Songs for Tony” by Michael Nyman.
Throughout the years, the Symposium has hosted some of the biggest names, nationally and internationally, in the saxophone community such as Claude Delangle of the Paris Conservatory, Frederick Hemke of Northwestern University and Masahiro Maeda of the Osaka College of Music in Japan.
Not only will the quartet perform at the Symposium, but they will also have the opportunity to attend other events at the Symposium.
“This is a great opportunity to sit in on master classes held by world class saxophonists and to hear some of the best quartets in the world perform difficult literature,” Goff said.
The Ouachita Saxophone Quartet includes: John Ashburn, a junior music and instrumental education major from Monroe, La.; Alex Goff, a sophomore music theory and composition major from Nashville, Ark.; Alissa Hill, a junior music and instrumental education major from Bella Vista, Ark.; and Brian Matney, a junior music and instrumental education major from Gravette, Ark. The quartet is coached by Dr. Caroline Taylor, professor of music at Ouachita since 1998.
The Navy Band is currently under the direction of senior chief musician Timothy E. Roberts, who expanded the Symposium in 2003 to include the College Quartet Series, increasing interest in saxophone chamber music among college and university students throughout the country.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information about the symposium visit http://www.navyband.navy.mil/saxophonesymposium.shtml.
By Rebecca Stone