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 is excited to launch its next round of commissioning. Like the previous projects, this year will feature the creation of two new works for the intermediate level saxophonist. A new and exciting feature for this year is that both solos will be adaptable to any of the saxophone voices. The current plan is for the solo part to remain the same no matter which saxophone you perform on, but for the score to include two piano parts, one to support Eb voices and one for Bb voices.
I am very excited for this year’s composers, Dr. Yuanyuan (Kay) He and Mr. Jeff Scott. Both have vast compositional libraries and experience writing for the saxophone, and are experienced and current performers as well! I previously worked with Dr. He on a commission that resulted in a wonderful work for alto saxophone and electronics titled “Solitary Tango.” Mr. Scott is likely to be best known for his 20 year membership in the world renowned Imani Winds, though I was first introduced to him through his saxophone quartet and piccolo work, “The Gift of Life.” Please see below for more information on them and visit their websites to fully appreciate the variety of activity that both engage in.
The buy-in rate for this year will be $75, which is entitle you to a digital copy of both scores and a one year exclusive performance period. Delivery of both works should be around May 01, 2022.
Dr. Yuanyuan (Kay) He is a composer and video artist with roots in China. Her works often explore and intertwine various forms of media to create unique audiovisual experiences that engage the audience. Many of her works involve collaborations with choreographers, dancers, video artists, audio technicians, and stage lighting and design artists. As a multimedia composer, she is very active in the music community. Kay serves as the Creative Director for Electronic Music Midwest (EMM), which is an annual music festival dedicated to programming a wide variety of electroacoustic music and providing high quality electronic media performances. She is also the founder and Director of the Turn Up Multimedia Festival, which works to promote Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Culture-Connecting, and Equality. She is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona, where she teaches composition, electro-acoustic music, and orchestration.
You can learn more about Dr. He at: http://www.kayhecomposer.com
Jeff Scott is a French Hornist, Composer, and Educator. As a composer, he creates works that he calls “Urban Classical Music,” which is rooted in European traditions and is informed by his African American culture. As French hornist, he served in of the Oberlin-founded ensemble Imani Winds for more than 20 years, a position that took him to Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Kennedy Center, and countless other prominent stages—as well as the stage of Finney Chapel for an Artist Recital Series performance in 2014. With Imani Winds, he led master classes with hundreds of students every year.
Scott has been a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Dance Theater of Harlem since 1995, and he has performed numerous times with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra under the direction of Wynton Marsalis. He was an orchestra member for The Lion King’s Broadway run from 1997 to 2005, as well as the 1994 revival of Show Boat.
In the studio, Scott has performed on movie soundtracks by Terence Blanchard and Tan Dun, and has collaborated with the likes of Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, Chris Brubeck, Jimmy Heath, and others. He has toured with the backing ensembles of Barbra Streisand and Luther Vandross.
Insatiable in his appetite for all aspects of the creative process, Scott has served as composer or arranger for a multitude of projects, including an Off Broadway production of Becoming Something: The Story of Canada Lee and the staged production of Josephine Baker: A Life of le Jazz Hot!, in addition to many original works for solo winds and ensembles of all kinds.
You can learn more about Mr. Scott at: https://www.musicbyjeffreyscott.com
To join please fill out the google form and follow instructions for payment.
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.