The Art of Playing Classical Saxophone

by Michael Brock
Faculty advisor: Jerry Bertrand

My presentation will be focused on probably the most underappreciated classical instrument in music: the saxophone.  To begin with, I will present a brief overview of the origins and birth of the saxophone by highlighting the inventive work of Adolphe Sax in France, as he sought to merge the sound of a brass instrument and a woodwind in order to solve tonal disparities that existed within the orchestral sound.  After this initial historical background, I will provide information about how the classical saxophonist creates music through the methods of Marcel Mule and Sigurd Rascher, who were the most prominent and influential saxophonists and saxophone teachers of the twentieth century.  This discussion will include information about proper saxophone technique, tone, and vibrato.  To conclude my presentation, I will perform two contrasting works in the saxophone repertoire: an arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No. 1 (originally composed for cello) for baritone saxophone and Ryo Noda’s Improvisation 1 for alto saxophone.