In the Loop
Faculty News : Apr 27, 2016

Rave reviews for SOM professors' CD release

Since its release last year, the Helton-Thomas duo’s CD recording of music for saxophone and cello has garnered an impressive array of positive reviews.’s editorial review characterizes this CD as

. . . [this] recording from the Helton-Thomas duo is a smorgasbord of contemporary compositions that range from the ruminative to the boisterous, the melodious to the dissonant, in short a perfect reflection of the modern zeitgeist.

More recently, American Record Guide, America’s oldest and preeminent classical music review magazine, introduced the CD’s music and performances as “thoughtful… moving,” contrasted the “dissonant and dramatic” moments with moments of “jazzy stars” and “bangs and bops and occasional yells” and told readers that “Edison Denisov[‘s Sonata]… contain[s] demanding upper register work for both instruments, handled with passion and perfection by the Helton-Thomas duo.”

The review concluded with “Each of these works has a depth of feeling and expression that makes this an effective program recorded with clarity and played with pizazz.”

Living composers whose works appear on the CD have chimed in with:

I am speechless and forever in your debt!  I love your playing and recording!  MARVELOUS!  What a sensitive, colorful, vivid musicality you have - it shines right out of the speakers!  I love the different characters/moods/meanings that you sculpt - making the journey through the piece ever interesting - one never knows what will come next -it unfolds like braids gentle weaving in and out of themselves. (Augusta Read Thomas)


ASH from the CD forthcoming from Jonathan Helton and Steven Thomas on Centaur.  Simply stunning performance!  (Jonathan Elliott)

From the duo who commissioned three of the works on the recording:

. . . fantastic CD!  It’s great fun to hear someone else play these pieces that we have lived with so long, especially at such an incredibly high level.  You bring so much life and character to the pieces - I am using them as inspiration and references…

Music for saxophone and cello is issued by Centaur records and is available through, Archiv Musik, or by contacting Dr. Jonathan Helton directly at

Dr. Helton is professor of saxophone and Dr. Steven Thomas is associate professor of cello at the University of Florida’s School of Music.