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Celebrating 125 Years of Adolphe Sax

Adolphe Sax (1814-1894) was one of the most important figures in the evolution of the woodwind genre.  His patent of the saxophone in 1846 represents one of the most important musical landmarks of the nineteenth century.  Marking the quasquicentennial anniversary of Sax’s death, Chetham’s woodwind department was delighted to collaborate with Selmer Paris, in a celebration of the saxophone through a day of workshops, performances and masterclasses.

On Sunday 24 March, Chetham’s saxophone tutors Andrew Wilson, Carl Raven, Jim Muirhead and Dan White led our saxophone celebration.  Chetham’s fifteen saxophone students were joined by saxophonists of all ages from far and wide, in workshops and seminars ranging from improvisation and practice strategies, to ensemble skills and performance classes. We were thrilled to welcome back to Chetham’s our alumna and celebrity saxophonist Naomi Sullivan, who was joined by her students from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Highlights included a lunchtime concert given jointly by Chetham’s  and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s Saxophone Choirs. The saxophone choirs gave a mind-blowing joint performance of Ivor McGregor’s exciting new work Firm Noir. After lunch, Eric Claeys from Selmer Paris gave a saxophone presentation which was followed by a masterclass led by Selmer Paris Artist Naomi Sullivan. The event culminated in a massed performance of Holst’s Jupiter given by all participants and tutors, and arranged by Andrew Wilson.

We are very grateful for the generous support of Selmer Paris, Windstruments and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and look forward to future collaborations together.

“Chetham’s Saxophone day was a happy crossing of lots of paths: the generous and inspiring staff of Chetham’s Woodwind Department who provide young musicians with exceptional support and a thorough grounding.  It was a wonderful collaboration between students from Chetham’s and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.I really enjoyed working with many of the youngest generation of saxophonists who brought ideas, energy and fun to the day. Thank you for the opportunity to remember a truly brilliant inventor whose life was overshadowed by adversity but whose legacy clearly shines very brightly!” Naomi Sullivan- International Saxophonist and Selmer Paris Artist.

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