In historical terms, the concert saxophone is a relative newcomer to classical and contemporary music. Though the instrument has been around for over 150 years, it struggled for composers’ attention though the early years of its life. As a result, the core of the saxophone repertoire did not start being produced until the 1930’s. The last 40 years has seen a rise in the quantity and quality of compositions introduced into the canon, though the vast majority of these works are aimed at advanced students and performers. This has resulted in a void of quality, original music for the emerging saxophonist who is still learning to navigate both musical and technical obstacles. For this level of student, teachers most often look to transcriptions (which often lay unnaturally on the instrument) and a small number of original works that fall within this standard. Unfortunately, the lack of variety does not sufficiently fit the needs of the modern saxophone student or teacher.
Also of considerable concern is that most of the original repertoire for saxophone that includes piano requires a collaborator with a very high skill level and ample rehearsal time. Regrettably, this is unavailable at many smaller universities, colleges, and high schools.
Smart Repertoire aims to start remedying this problem by commissioning high quality composers to write new, original works for all the voices of the saxophone that will adhere to the following guidelines:
- Works for saxophone and piano that are 5-10 minutes in length
- Use no altissimo
- Very little or no extended techniques
- Create extremely playable piano parts
- Composer(s) will be paired with a professional saxophonist to answer technical questions and ensure the music fits the requirements
Additionally, each work will be audio and video recorded by a professional saxophonists that will be available for reference after each commission has been funded and premiered.
Smart Repertoire is currently using a consortium type model to raise funds. The goal of the project is to keep buy-in costs low so saxophonists in all stages of their career can afford to participate. However, to make this model successful, we need a larger number of participants than a typical consortium. Please consider helping to spread the word to any individuals or groups that might be interested.
All contributors will be listed as a consortium member, will receive a digital copy of the work, and will have the right to give a world premier within a designated amount of time (see specific projects for details).
Smart Repertoire has successfully complete two rounds of commissioning, resulting in four new works.
Sonatina for alto saxophone and piano by Denis Bédard
Brazilian Landscapes #21 for tenor saxophone and piano by Liduino Pitombeira
from other futures for alto saxophone and piano by John Anthony Lennon
Dangerous Coats for baritone saxophone and piano by Jessica Rudman
Do you have a suggestion for a composer you would like to see used in this project? Email [email protected] with suggestions.