Serenade-Music for Sax & Pno[CD]
~ Brian Horner
'...intense songs of the heart capturing the very essence of music's humanity and striving passion...pure joy for the ears...' Saxophone Journal '...something that will be grandly enjoyed by listeners looking for some music with depth that isn't impenetrable.' Midwest Record '...igniting the romantic potential of the saxophone-piano combination...' Music & Vision Daily "The wide-range, yet warm and vibrant tone of Horner demonstrates what a fine sound the saxophone can produce in classical chamber music." Audiophile Audition 'Horner's newest album is honest, heartfelt, sincere and touching. Simple and beautiful.' Donald Sinta Earl V. Moore Professor of Saxophone The University of Michigan The product of a nearly ten-year collaboration between composer M. Zachary Johnson and saxophonist Brian Horner, Serenade - Music for Saxophone & Piano presents an important body of new repertoire for the classical saxophone. The compositions-sometimes flowing, sometimes agitated, lushly romantic, fiery, with long, sensual melodic lines-are unique in style and feeling, and have a special audience appeal. Their musical category is neither traditional, nor jazz, nor contemporary avant garde, but something entirely fresh which has been described as 'Twenty-first Century Romanticism.' Pianist Elizabeth Avery, who joined the collaboration several years ago, brings an artistic sensitivity and masterful virtuosity to the formidable demands of the music. Horner's smoothly elegant, expressive and energetic saxophone playing dovetails with the magic of her performance-a combination that suits the music exquisitely. ------ Bios: Brian Horner has enjoyed a rewarding partnership with composer M. Zachary Johnson that has resulted in the premieres of more than ten new works for saxophone. Their concerts have been presented at such venues as Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, Steinway Hall, and New York City's Mannes College of Music, as well as at the Glimmerglass Opera's Young Artist recital series. Joined by pianist Elizabeth Avery, they released Saxophone Music of M. Zachary Johnson-Live at Steinway Hall in August 2006. Saxophone Journal praised Mr. Horner's "warm, vibrant sound" and hailed the music as "a very valuable addition to the saxophone's repertoire." A versatile player, Horner has performed with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, appeared with the Nashville Saxophone Quartet on NPR affiliate WPLN's "Live in Studio C," and shared the stage with noted Armenian folk-rocker Gor Mkhitarian. He can be heard on singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters' Halcyon album, which features his soprano saxophone performance in "The Aviator's Song." As a member of The Arbor Quartet, Horner was a prizewinner in the 1998 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and a finalist in the 1999 Coleman Chamber Music Competition. Horner graduated from the University of Michigan School of Music, where he studied with Donald Sinta. He currently serves on the faculty at Austin Peay State University (Tennessee). He is also deeply involved in the business side of music as the owner of Sound Artist Support, a company that provides custom marketing, booking, and support to independent artists and musicians. Brian Horner is a Conn-Selmer Artist and a D'Addario/RICO Performing Artist and endorses Selmer (Paris) saxophones and RICO Grand Concert Select reeds. -------------- Elizabeth Avery has performed as a soloist, vocal accompanist, and chamber musician throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. An avid promoter of new music, Ms. Avery frequently performs music of living composers. She appeared in 2006 and 2007 with saxophonist Brian Horner to premier works for saxophone and piano by M. Zachary Johnson in Steinway Hall and also in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. Recent reviews have described her playing as "full of color and vibrant rhythm" and have praised her for "delicate precision, sensitivity and strength." She has been heard on Nashville Public Radio's "Live in Studio C" and has appeared with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra as pianist and harpsichordist. Ms. Avery has served as rehearsal pianist with the Nashville Opera and the Nashville Symphony Chorus. A dedicated pedagogue, Ms. Avery has enjoyed two decades of private teaching and has been a member of the music faculties of the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, Castleton State College, and Austin Peay State University. She has taught piano, diction, and accompanying, and has served as vocal coach and staff accompanist. She frequently is called upon to adjudicate music festivals and competitions. Ms. Avery's teachers have included Jean Barr, Martin Katz and Frank Iogha. She holds degrees from the University of Michigan and the Crane School of Music and currently is working toward the Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music at the Eastman School of Music. -------------- M. Zachary Johnson's music has been described as "the first serious Romantic music to be produced by a composer who is part, not of the 19th-century past, but of the 21st-century future." According to About.com classical guide Aaron Green, "If this is the direction classical music is heading, well, I'd say the future will be full of wonderful music." Johnson has written extensively for both small and large ensembles. He served as Composer in Residence of the 2007 Austin Peay State University Governor's Honor Band Festival, which included the world premieres of his Scherzo-Concerto for Alto Saxophone & Wind Ensemble, and his Two Military Pieces for Symphonic Band. He is the founder of The MZJ Ensemble, a symphonic group based in New York City which performs his larger compositions. Johnson earned undergraduate degrees in music theory and composition from the University of Michigan and a Masters degree in music theory from the Mannes College of Music in New York, where he was awarded the Felix Salzer Prize for Excellence in Music Theory. He received additional training at the University of Salzburg in Austria and at the Schola Cantorum in Paris. The recipient of ASCAPlus Awards in 2007 and 2008, he currently teaches in the Preparatory Division of Mannes College the New School for Music.
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