E: [email protected]
2015 - 2016
WSaxQ is the most widely heard saxophone quartet in the United States. Since 1997, recordings by the Washington Saxophone Quartet have aired daily throughout the United States on National Public Radio’s broadcasts of “All Things Considered.” Concert audiences enjoy their connection to WSaxQ when they discover they’ve been listening to the quartet’s music during afternoon “drive time”. And it often comes as a surprise that they’ve been hearing four saxophones! The instruments evoke the refined sounds of a string quartet, the rich harmonies of an organ prelude, and the excitement of a jazz sax section. For nearly 35 years WSaxQ has performed recitals, informal concerts, and master classes in the United States, the Caribbean, and China. They have performed on radio and television worldwide. The ensemble taps into a rich repertoire, from early music to newly commissioned works, and it draws on a wealth of experience to reach listeners of every age and background.
WSaxQ’s To China and Bach CD highlights music from their 1995 and 1997 China tours. The group’s second recording is Daydream. Their third CD, Different Times, Different Places, is a collection of performances over the past decade. WSaxQ records on the Americus label.
Visit the WSaxQ website for more information, calendar, repertoire, past programs, video, and audio.
The individual members of the WSAXQ have toured in Europe and the United States as soloists with orchestras and military bands, as recitalists in concert halls, and as performers with leading jazz and show business personalities. WSAXQ records with Americus Records. WSAXQ members, all with graduate degrees in music, are Reginald Jackson, Soprano; James Steele, Alto; Rich Kleinfeldt, Tenor; and Rick Parrell, Baritone.
Reginald Jackson, former professor of saxophone at the University of Maryland and Howard University, has appeared as soloist with orchestras, wind ensembles and military bands throughout the United States and Europe. He was awarded First Prize in both solo and chamber music competitions at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels. Mr. Jackson performed throughout the United States as a member of the Ambassadors of Jazz of the U.S. Army Field Band, and he has performed with Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Mstislav Rostropovich.
James Steele attended University of Minnesota. He played in The U.S. Army Band in Washington before joining the quartet. Providing music in church is one of his long-term satisfactions and he is always on the look out for appropriate arrangements, solo and quartet. He “moonlights” designing residential projects with a firm he runs called Strategic Performance, LLC. He and his wife have seven children. Mr. Steele holds an MM and an MBA.
Rich Kleinfeldt is a broadcaster, professional musician, teacher and lecturer. He is currently host of two nationally syndicated radio programs: Indianapolis-on-the-Air, featuring the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Center Stage from Wolf Trap. Mr. Kleinfeldt is a former classical music broadcaster with the Voice of America. A graduate of Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois and Catholic University in Washington, D.C., Mr. Kleinfeldt performed until 1983 with The United States Army Band as saxophone soloist and master of ceremonies.
Rick Parrell is an active performer in jazz and classical music, as well as a teacher. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and his Master of Music from North Texas State University in Denton. Currently he is saxophone soloist with The United States Army Band and professor of music at George Mason University. In addition to his performances with The Army Band and other area ensembles, Mr. Parrell has appeared with such notable jazz artists as Lee Konitz, Gary Foster and Louis Bellson.
“The members of the Washington Saxophone Quartet…serve notice to composers wishing to explore fresh chamber settings, they need look no further…the playing was expert!”
The Washington Post
“The friendly music of the Quartet was not only enjoyed by thousands in the five city tour (of China), but made a valuable contribution to cultural exchange between our two countries…”
Mike Yuh-Hung Ma, VP of Asian Affairs
World Space Corporation
“We were very lucky to discover these talented musicians.”
U. S. – China Horizons, Inc
“The Washington Saxophone Quartet added a delightful and most enjoyable dimension to the program… thank you again for your wonderful performance… Your program was very well selected for the occasion and showed the astonishing range of sounds and moods of which the saxophone is capable.”
Andre Adam, The Belgian Ambassador
“…each of you gave a flawless performance.”
Music on the Hill
The Washington Saxophone Quartet (WSaxQ) has been playing for audiences of all ages for nearly 35 years, and these concerts have been heard on radio and television world-wide. On the quartet’s 1997 tour of China, members of the quartet were honored by a concert given by a large student saxophone ensemble in Beijing. This ensemble, the first student saxophone ensemble in China, was formed after the students heard a WSaxQ concert from a previous concert tour in 1995. WSaxQ relates to audiences of all ages because of an incredible wealth of experience in both the professional and educational fields. Members of the quartet have literally played around the world in various settings of jazz and classical music. In addition, members of WSaxQ have all taught in educational settings from elementary through university. The quartet has performed master classes and concerts for young people in the Caribbean, China, and the United States. As past or present members of the elite “special” military bands in Washington, D.C., the four saxophonists in WSaxQ have performed literally thousands of concerts for schools throughout the United States. This experience gives the quartet a rare insight into concerts and clinics for young people.
(Things to Discuss Ahead of Visit)
Prior to any program, the quartet will provide this Program Guide with ideas to discuss, as well as a list of the pieces to be performed with composer information.
Elements of Music/Language of Music is a fun, interactive program that teaches students about three of the essentials of music: melody, rhythm, and harmony as well as the language of music, which researchers say may have preceded the spoken word. For the Elements: students participate throughout the program by singing and tapping, and a small group of students will perform with the quartet on one selection. By the end of the program, the students will not only know the meaning of these music elements, they will also be able to better understand the music in their lives. A multi-cultural approach is used with music from Ireland, Brazil, China, and the United States. The students will also be introduced to Scott Joplin, an African-American who became one of America’s most popular composers. They also get exposed to and learn about other composers in American and European traditions. This study guide (tailored as needed to meet the age group) is sent to the school several weeks in advance to enhance student participation during the program. The section-by section outline for The Elements includes music performed and program content.
1. Introduction – WSaxQ starts with a performance of J.S. Bach’s “Little Fugue in G minor,” which perfectly introduces each of the saxophones. Members of the quartet will be introduced and the program content will be explained. Then we perform Fascinatin’ Rhythm, by George Gershwin. Gershwin is an important name in American music and can be discussed ahead of time. Having the students learn some of his most famous pieces, such as “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Porgy and Bess” is very helpful.
2. Melody – The term “melody” will be learned through the use of a short dramatization with a humorous twist, some dialogue with the students, and audience participation. Londonderry Air (Danny Boy) will be performed to demonstrate. This is an Irish melody and the Quartet will talk about the piece and its melody in that context.
3. Rhythm – Students will learn and clap the rhythm of a samba. A small group of volunteers will be asked to play rhythm instruments while the quartet plays a movement from the South American Suite, by Lino Florenzo. It is a very impressive piece of music. Even those students not immediately participating will be moving/dancing near their seats. Recommended: teaching your students the definition of a samba and a little about various dance rhythms, ahead of time.
4. Harmony – Students will listen to examples of harmony performed by the quartet. The Chinese folk song Jasmine will be used to demonstrate, both with and without the harmony. We use this piece of music because it has such a simple and beautiful melody, and the harmony is very easy to hear with all four instruments performing.
Because we have the soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones, we can demonstrate excellent examples of high and low notes. We also talk about China and our tours there. We introduce the music in Chinese.
5. Conclusion – We use Something Doin’, a Rag by Scott Joplin, to play and discuss all three of these musical elements and how they fit together. We talk about Scott Joplin, a very important African-American who helped create the significant musical form, ragtime. Recommended: discussion ahead of time with students is very helpful to reinforce Joplin's importance.
For the Language of Music, the students are guided through a process of listening and responding to a number of musical selections, each with individual feelings/emotions. We have found that students at various ages are able to hear that the music is very evocative and clearly expresses a particular emotional feeling. They are also able to articulate their descriptions of the various selections with great clarity.
Recommended: you don’t necessarily have to tell your students the specifics ahead of time, but do tell them that music has the power to communicate. It is always a pleasure to see their expressions in reaction the music. Examples: Laughing Saxophones; Adagio by Samuel Barber; Angry, Edgy, Music; Golliwog’s Cakewalk from Children’s Corner Suite by Claude Debussy; Little Shepherd by Claude Debussy.
The Language of Music is tailored for any age group.
Washington Saxophone Quartet
c/o Richard Kleinfeldt
4316 19th Street, North
Arlington, VA 22207
E: [email protected]
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