Zagreb is an amazing place, so friendly. The Saxophone World Congress coincided with the Croatia v England match in the world cup. There were huge TV screens on the sides of tall buildings and seated areas everywhere for people to watch. Great atmosphere.
The Congress was as inspiring as ever: virtuoso playing, and we saw more performer-composer performances than at the last congress. My last blog mentioned the "Cyber Bird" Concerto, here it is:
Quirk performed Smudge, written by our tenor saxophone player Chris Jolly, and Pieces for Five Players, by Richard Ingham. Every performance is video recorded at the Congress, so our performance should be available to watch eventually; it takes a few months before the technicians get all the performances online.
Quirk met a jazz saxophone quartet from the USA called Four: Mark Watkins (soprano), Ray Smith (alto), Sandon Mayhew (tenor) and Jon Gudmundson (baritone). During their performance Ray Smith played a couple of jazz impro solos; the best jazz I've heard for years... wow. Here's Four in action:
The soprano saxophone player in Four (Dr Mark Watkins) has recently published a saxophone treatise: From the Inside Out. It's a fascinating explanation of the physiological aspects of saxophone playing, giving a definitive guide to everything from traditional techniques (how to play low notes), to flutter tonguing. Dr Watkins used internal video cameras backed up with scientific research to give definitive answers to questions we all ask releated to our performance practice. Here's the details: Watkins, M. (2018). From the Inside Out. U.S.A.: Outskirts Press. It's on Amazon!
Soon we'll be flying to Croatia to attend (and perform in) the World Saxophone Congress. I've checked out the agenda, a week of exciting performances and inspirational people.
For quite a while I've had an old CD in my car that I listen to now and again. It's a recording of Nobuya Sugawa performing Takashi Yoshimatsu's Saxophone Concerto "Cyber Bird" for Alto Saxophone, Piano and Orchestra, Op. 59 (1994). One of the most amazing compositions I have ever experienced, and an inspirational performance by Sugawa.
Sarah told me today that Nobuya Sugawa is going to the World Congress, and is going to perform "Cyber Bird" with orchestra and piano! Wow, a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear it live...
If you can't be there to hear it, here's a link to a recording on Spotify.
Talking of inspirational events, details of the Sixth Annual Saxophone Day at the University of Huddersfield are on Sarah's website.
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