Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 33
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Dripping Springs TX
    Posts
    50
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    I've long had an interest in the classical large saxophone ensemble (AKA saxophone choir) format. It's hard to get a sense of how many of these ensembles are active (I've tried via search engines and via NASA emailings).

    If you currently play (or recently played) in such an ensemble, please describe the group. Whether it's a university program, a high school ensemble, a church group, a community group, ... I'd be interested in hearing about it. In particular, who the group is affliated with, the size of the ensemble (number of players), the types of music you typically play, the highest and lowest voices you use, and any thing else about your ensemble you'd like to share.

    Thanks in advance,
    Eddie Jennings

  2. #2
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Bass Sax Boss saxtek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    1,659
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    There are a few of us here in South Florida who have envisioned such a large sax ensemble. The big problem here is, most of the best players are always busy. We need sax players who can blend and play in tune. While there are lots of capable jazz players, good section players are harder to find.

    Sometimes being in an area where there is not much work for professional payers can be an advantage. The best players will want to play, and they will be available for rehearsals and performances.

    Start collecting music (Dorn Publications is a good start), but use your ingenuity. In the internet age, good charts can be downloaded for free at 3 AM if you know what you're doing.
    Check Youtube for my videos of bass sax, contrabass sax, tubax, and soprillo:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/saxtek

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    323
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    At my university, we have a saxophone choir. Generally, depending upon enrollment, we'll have 1-2 sopranos, 3-6 altos, 2-4 tenors, 2 baris, and 1 bass. We often play orchestral transcriptions, jazz arrangements, and even some sax choir compositions. There was a pretty popular saxophone ensemble way back when, I'm thinking
    Browns or something (too lazy to google), you might want to look into. Instrumentation usually calls for a sopranino part, 1 or 2 soprano parts, 2 to 4 alto parts, 1 or 2 tenor, 1 or 2 bari, and bass. Most of the less common parts include optional parts that can be played on a different instrument (sopranino can be played by soprano, soprano 2 can be played by alto, bass can played by bari 2). The instrumentation is generally somewhat flexible like that. Hope that covers your questions.

  4. #4
    Achristocrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Seoul, South Korea
    Posts
    118
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    The Univ. of S. Miss. has had a steady going sax orchestra headed by professor Lawrence Gwozdz for quite sometime now. The group rehearses twice a week during the entire school year and is a great learning experience for chamber music playing. I had the good fortune to be a part of this during my undergrad at USM. During my time there, we made a CD, performed at Lincoln Center and the Minneapolis Sax Congress, and did a holiday tour in Atlanta, among many other things. Dr. Gwozdz continues to build the rep. by asking composers for new works for the group.

    For the most part we had a standardized ensemble of 2 sops, 4 altos, 2, tenors, 2 baris, 1 bass. Occasionally we had to add or subtract members for the needs of the piece, but we tried to get composers to write for this specific setting.

    A few of my favorite original works were:
    Stephen Dankner, Symphony #3
    Walter Hartley, Octet
    Mark Allen Taggart, Lament and Credo,
    Taggart, Only Rhythm And...

    I firmly believe in the legitimacy and potential of this type of ensemble. It would be great to see someone else form something like it, play these or similar pieces, and help build the repertoire.
    Chris Condon

    8th Army Band

  5. #5
    E-mail problem
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Buffalo, NY/Hattiesburg, MS
    Posts
    529
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    I play in the Southern Miss group now for Dr. Gwozdz. Our instrumentation this semester is 2 sopranos, 4 altos, 2 tenors, 2 baris and a bass (this seems the most standard instrumentation). Sometimes Dr. Gwozdz "encourages" one of the soprano players to play the sopranino. At workshops and conventions I've attended, sometimes a contrabass is pulled out. I also played in the sax ensemble at Fredonia when I went to school there. Dr. Zumwalt runs a hell of a group, often using two basses!! There's plenty of great original music for the medium - two of my favorites that Chris didn't mention are the Taggart "Meditation" and the vonKoch "Moderato and Allegro."

  6. #6
    Angel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Posts
    2,095
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    I play in a saxo ensemble sometimes at the week-long James Houlik Saxophone Retreat at Wildacres. This past summer, we got eight all-star saxo participants together to perform the Finale from the Mendelssohn Octet for strings (2 of each SATB). Arrangement available from Jose Riojas, if anyone is interested.

    Hot!!

    Angel
    Concert Saxophonist ~ Artisan Barman
    YSS875EXHGLAS • SG2RS • S27 • M/O • 4
    YAS875EXS • AV1AG • A28 • M/O • 3

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    366
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    I, like DWoz5000, have played in the Fredonia and Southern Miss groups. It is a wonderful experience playing in such an ensemble. The blending of tone colors is fantastic, and the music is often of very high quality. Walter Hartley has written numerous works for this kind of ensemble, as well as composers like Mark Alan Taggart, Stephen Dankner, Erland von Koch, Maurice Karkoff, Miklos Maros, Michael Denhoff, etc. Playing transcriptions in this group is very beneficial, not only for chamber music playing, but to become acquainted with some of the great repertoire not written for the saxophone. The standard instrumentation usually consists of 2 sopranos, 4 altos, 2 tenors, 2 baritones, and 1 bass, though this is sometimes augmented by the sopranino, an additional bass, or even the contrabass. If anyone is interested, check out the recordings made by the Sax-Chamber Orchestra at Southern Miss, Parabolically Bach and America Remembers.
    Brian Kauth

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    chennai, india
    Posts
    24
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    http://www.myspace.com/dodecasax

    a french saxophone ensemble.

  9. #9
    SaxerEd829's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Salisbury, NC
    Posts
    198
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    Well, see...here's what happened.

    I wanted to start a sax quartet/quintet as part of the community band that I play with near Charlotte/Concord, NC. It has since (because I can't say no to anyone) ballooned into a nearly full saxophone choir consisting of 1 soprano/alto, 3-4 altos, 3 tenors and 2 baris. It's nowhere what I wanted it to be in the beginning, but we use it as a way for all of us to play different music outside of the community band. Our director has a really poor taste in music to play, and since the level of the band is typically less than what we'd like to play, we take the opportunity to play some more challenging pieces. The only problem is that because a couple of people in the group aren't as talented as the rest, they hold us back from doing really cool stuff, like the West Side Story Suite (Arr. Boatman) and my arrangements of a couple other tunes (Adagio for Strings / Nocturne - Billy Joel / Eleanor Rigby). Typically, we play quartet music and have more than one person per part. The arrangements that I do usually have a seperate soprano part than the first alto.

    Hope that this helps you out in some way, if you have any other questions, please PM me and I'll try to get ya what you need.
    "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." ~ Aldous Huxley
    "Don't play the saxophone. Let it play you." ~ Charlie Parker
    "The saxophone is an imperfect instrument, especially the tenor and soprano, as far as intonation goes. The challenge is to sing on an imperfect instrument that is outside of your body." ~ Stan Getz


    www.myspace.com/edharper



  10. #10
    Distinguished Member
    Forum Contributor 2013-2016
    J.Max's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Richmond,VA
    Posts
    6,956
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    I've played in a few. I played at one at IU, with Shirley Diamond conducting, that had some pretty ridiculous players in it. (Kenneth Tse and Karl Hartman among them. Karl REALLY wanted to play sopranino, but alas, bari was his destiny...) I remember playing "Pictures at an Exhibition" and the Fanfare from "La Peri". The ensemble changed according to the instrumentation required - I played alto in this one.

    At the U of A, I played soprano in one that was conducted by Michael Hester. This one was pretty ridiculous too - I'm not sure how I got to play soprano, but there I was. The funny thing about that one was that it was where I met my wife...
    Current setups:
    Yamaha YSS-875EX, Rousseau RC3 (refaced by Joe Giardullo), BG Tradition lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YAS-875EXS, Rousseau RC4 (refaced by Brian Powell), Rousseau lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YTS-875EX, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5
    Unison Black Nickel Bari, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5

  11. #11
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Bass Sax Boss saxtek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    1,659
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    Quote Originally Posted by maarten visser View Post
    http://www.myspace.com/dodecasax

    a french saxophone ensemble.

    Nice ensemble. Thanks for the link. i'm listening right now.
    Check Youtube for my videos of bass sax, contrabass sax, tubax, and soprillo:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/saxtek

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Dripping Springs TX
    Posts
    50
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    In correspondence with Otis Murphy, he has referenced a saxophone ensemble at Indiana University. Does anyone know if such an ensemble exists regularly or is it put together periodically on an as-needed basis?

    Thanks,
    Last edited by ejennings; 01-20-2009 at 01:40 AM.
    Eddie Jennings

  13. #13
    Henshaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    137
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    I got to play in a couple for Universities (one of these groups has now disbanded though) and music festivals. The 1st uni one (disbanded one) lasted about 3 years playing 4 gigs a year doing transcriptions. The 2nd one was the main one I was involved with having played bari thru to sop. Again we mostly played arrangements of classical, baroque, romantic works (all Mark Walton arrangements) and even the Glazunov and Ibert (sopranino and bass parts arr. for bari, sop). But we did do some originals (Devil's Rag). The line up for these were 2 sops, 3 altos (but usual 2 players on each part), 2-3tenors, 2-3bari (again more than one on each part so has some flexibility). The music festivals ones came about from the 2nd uni group. We got more into original works written for us by Mark Walton (who was also the conductor at the time) and we did the Ibert with Kenneth Tse when he was out here. I've now been asked to play with that group this year. They've changed a bit, new conductor (Michael Duke) and they are acquiring a bass and sopranino. All in all it is a fun experience but it can get frustrating as the sound of the group is hard to blend (including intonation, tone, articulation). Also dynamics get stuck in the loud spectrum often.

  14. #14
    jbarrera's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    107
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    CSU, Long Beach (now the Cole Conservatory) has had a large Saxophone Ensemble for the past 25+ years. It was started by Leo Potts in the early 80's and is currently conducted by Jay Mason. It is Bass through Soprano and has anywhere from 12 to 20 or more saxophonists.

    JB
    James Barrera - Lecturer - Cole Conservatory of Music, CSULB
    http://jamesbarrera.com
    http://soundofsax.blogspot.com

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    London U.K.
    Posts
    346
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    Most of the U.K. music colleges have large saxophone ensembles. I know the Royal College of Music Ensemble quite well as they often perform my pieces. Their repertoire is fascinating, as they play works for many different combinations of saxophones and sometimes add percussionists and other instruments if the work demands it. Kyle Horch, the conductor, has also done a lot to expand the repertoire for large saxophone ensemble by persuading composers to write for it, including some student composers.
    The only difference in the U.K., I think, is that bass and sopranino saxophones are rare. As is my current favourite, the mezzo-soprano.

    If the ensemble is flexible in size and choice of saxophones the repertoire is fascinating.

    I must also mention the Bob Cole Conservatory Ensemble, mentioned in the previous post, as they played one of my works last summer in a concert - a great honour.

  16. #16
    porbem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Posts
    1,806
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    You can find a very interesting site at: http://jmpirollet.free.fr/

    It’s Home of the OS51A Saxophone quintet.

    Their repertoire is around the following:

    "quote"
    Musique originale
    Tel un « carnet de route », OS5IA Saxophones vous propose un répertoire original, composé d’images sonores de leurs différents voyages et dans lequel transparaissent les diverses influences de chacune des personnalités du groupe.

    Duke Ellington-Billy Strayhorn
    L’univers de Duke Ellington et Billy Strayhorn revisité par 2 arrangeurs….Philippe Roche et Patrice Foudon. Du quartet de jazz traditionnel, au quintette de saxophones seul, à la moyenne formation – OS5IA avec une rythmique de jazz, un concert à géométrie variable pour le plaisir d’entendre les plus belles pièces de ces 2 compositeurs. :

    Standards
    Charles Trenet, Serge Gainsbourg, Claude Nougaro, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, George Benson …Autant de noms qui résonnent en nous et nous rappellent de grands interprètes de standards de la chanson française et de grands « crooners ».OS5IA leur rend hommage à travers ce répertoire .
    "unquote"

    Note:
    You may also download some of their partitions (in some cases score and parts are both available).
    ... Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better! (Samuel Beckett, "Worstward Ho", 1983)

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Dripping Springs TX
    Posts
    50
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    I've posted some of my saxophone choir transcriptions (along with quartets, trios, ...) at:
    http://www.classicalsax.com/Classica...eEnsembles.htm

    Enjoy,
    Eddie Jennings

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    93
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    The Syracuse University Saxophone ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Ronald Caravan, is a very fine ensemble. We utilize from Bass through soprano saxophones, with the use of the sopranino saxophone on occasion. The literature we perform ranges from baroque transcriptions to some of the best original saxophone literature out there, some written by Dr. Caravan himself and also works by Walter Hartley, Erwin Chandler, and John Worley, to name a few. Check Ethos Publications' website (www.ethosmusiconline.com) for plenty of great ensemble literature. Also, Dr. Cohen's site To The Fore Publishers (www.totheforepublishers.com) has some excellent ensemble literature available as well. Dr. Cohen's saxophone ensembles get the rare treat of utilizing his contrabass saxophone, which adds quite an incredible depth to the bass section.

  19. #19

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Huddersfield UK
    Posts
    28
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    I've played in the National Sax Choir of Great Britain almost since it began. This group is not affiliated to any college or Uni. I was also a founder member of the Yorkshire Sax Choir, which was, I am informed, the first large sax group to form in the UK outside of colleges/Universities. Both of these groups play transcriptions but also encourage and sometimes commission original works. The Yorkshire Choir is fixed at 12 players, usually comprising sopranino/sop, 2 sops, 3 altos, 3 tenors, 2 baris & bass/bari. There is flexibility within this lineup to include a soprillo, and vary the numbers of the other saxes according to the demands of the score. I think they've just recorded their first cd.

    The NSC standard lineup is soprillo, sopranino, 3 sops, 3 altos, 3 tenors, 3 baris, bass & contrabass. (Originally we had a Tubax, but recently have obtained the services of a guy who owns his own Epplesheim Eb Contrabass). The outer 4 saxes are one to a part, but the others may have 2 players per part. They have also recently launched a Sax Family Octet, consisting of one each of all the saxes. NSC have recorded 2 cds, which I think you can get from www.saxtetpublications.com
    Some of their repertoire is available from the same publisher.

    Last month I was lucky enough to be in the Netherlands at a music festival that hosted a whole day of saxophone stuff. The sax ensemble from the Amsterdam Conservatoire performed in the morning and were amazing. Loads of solo recitals & quartets during the rest of the day, but the highlight for me was the incredible Vento do Norte ensemble who played their whole hour-long set from memory! This was an 11-strong group that included sopranino down to bass, with some players covering S/A or A/T.

    I think all the major music colleges in the UK run some kind of sax choir/large ensemble, and many of the Universities do too.

    I'll keep an eye on this thread for suggestions on where to obtain repertoire for this kind of group, so please post if you have any!

  20. #20

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    London U.K.
    Posts
    346
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Large saxophone ensemble (sax choir)

    Quote Originally Posted by gingerjen View Post

    I'll keep an eye on this thread for suggestions on where to obtain repertoire for this kind of group, so please post if you have any!

    I have written three works for large saxophone ensemble :

    Serenade on Themes from Mozart's Zaide - ssaattbb

    Purple Gong Orange Tam-tam - 12 alto saxophones

    Calming -ssaattb, piano, timpani and double-bass


    As I have said before, the range of sound a saxophone ensemble can produce is wonderful.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
VigLink badge