Classical Saxophone Takes Center Stage on Faculty Select Series Friday
When considering the wide range of classical repertoire, music for saxophone doesn’t immediately spring to mind. The instrument wasn’t invented, after all, until 1840. By, you guessed it, a man named Sax. Adolphe Sax.
For Scotty Stepp’s Spring 2018 Faculty Select recital, virtuosic classical collaborations of many kinds will be performed with musical friends and fellow saxophonists Paul Bro and Tyler Schaefers ’18, pianist May Phang, and percussionist Ming-Hui Kuo, who have planned a rich program of works penned by Eliza Brown, Jennifer Higdon, Akira Yuyama and Benjamin Taylor for the Friday, Feb. 9 concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Green Center’s Thompson Recital Hall.
Stepp, who directs an active sax studio at DePauw School of Music, and guest saxophonist Bro will open the program with Apart Together for two alto saxophones by faculty composer Eliza Brown (pictured). “Paul Bro and I are proud to present Brown’s music for the first time at DePauw,” said Stepp of the composer, who joined the University's music faculty in 2016.
“Virtuosic saxophone playing can give the sense that the instrument is an organic extension of the player’s body, completely integrated into his or her respiratory and motor control systems,” Brown writes. “Apart Together gradually deconstructs that connection. This deconstruction in turn destabilizes the integrity of other elements of the piece: its musical material — both in terms of pitch and time — and the connection between the two parts, which begin in close canon but quickly abandon that orderly relationship.”
Another piece, Sonata for Saxophone and Piano, by multi-Grammy Award-winning American composer Jennifer Higdon, will offer audience members a sneak peek into what’s to come next week during the School's annual Music of the 21st Century Festival, which is dedicated this year to Higdon. “[The sonata] was written as a conventional work in that its harmonies come out of the tonal tradition,” underscores the composer, who will travel to Greencastle on Sunday for the start of her five-day guest residency Feb. 12-16. The saxophone piece was influenced, coincidentally, by music she had performed as a flutist, including the Prokofiev Flute Sonata and Copland’s free-flowing duo for flute and piano.
General admission for the Faculty Select series is $10. Tickets for seniors, children and all students are free. For more information or to make online purchases, visit music.depauw.edu. The Green Center box office is also open M-W-F from noon to 4 p.m. and 90 minutes prior to each ticketed performance.