In the Loop
Press Release : Oct 22, 2014

UF Saxophone Festival Celebrates the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of the Inventor of the Saxophone, Adolph Sax, November 6-8

UF Saxophone Festival Celebrates the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of the Inventor of the Saxophone, Adolph Sax, November 6-8

Musicians and students from around the world will gather at the University of Florida (UF) School of Music in Gainesville, Florida, Nov. 6-8, 2014 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax. The Adolphe Sax Bicentennial Festival will feature an array of activities, from master classes to performances, which are free and open to the public.

The festival kicks off Thursday night, November 6 with a UF Wind Symphony concert conducted by David Waybright. The concert will feature a concerto for saxophone and wind orchestra performed by Jonathan Helton, School of Music professor and festival coordinator. This work, composed by masterful orchestrator Ingolf Dahl, is a dramatic showpiece that displays the virtuosity and versatility of both the saxophone and the wind ensemble. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in University Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

On Friday, the program begins at 9 a.m. in the Music Building and continues until 6 p.m. that evening. The day will feature a concert of saxophone chamber music performed by university students from Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin. A number of lectures will also be given on topics ranging from Adolphe Sax’s inventive genius to saxophone teaching to saxophone repair. There will also be some entrepreneurship sessions exploring topics related to finding work as a musician in today’s economy. Friday’s activity will wrap up with a film devoted to Adolpe Sax and his life with the saxophone.

Saturday’s program will include many concerts presenting a variety of music spanning the life of the instrument. Early jazz and vaudeville playing styles will be represented by guest artists from New Orleans and New York. Concerts of newer music will be presented by professionals from the U.S., Canada and Australia. The day will also feature master classes presented by international guest artists.

“We are very excited to bring together such a rich variety of professional saxophone artists from around the world for this festival of all things saxophone,” said Helton. “This is the only celebration taking place outside of Dinant, Belgium (Adolphe Sax’s birthplace) that is scheduled on his birthday, November 6. Everyone loves the saxophone, and I hope that our community will attend this unique event to hear some of the world’s top saxophone artists in action.”

Special guests are:

  • Lori Ardovino, professor, University of Montevallo, Montevallo, Alabama
  • Michael Bovenzi, professor, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Michael Duke, professor, Sydney Conservatorium, Sydney, Australia
  • Jerry Embree, concert producer, owner, Jazzman Entertainment, New Orleans
  • Tom Linas, owner and musical instrument technician, Great Southern Music, Gainesville, Florida
  • Jessica Maxfield, professor, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois
  • Julia Nolan, professor, University of British Colombia, Vancouver, Canada
  • Chad Smith, Broadway and film soundtrack saxophonist, New York
  • Brian Utley, professor, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Special sessions of note are:

  • Thursday, November 6, 7:30 p.m., University Auditorium: Opening concert with the UF Wind Symphony featuring UF School of Music Professor Jonathan Helton, saxophone soloist
  • Friday, November 7, 11:00 a.m., Music Building, Room 101: Music entrepreneurship lectures
  • Friday, November 7, 5:00 p.m., Music Building, Room 101: Feature Film: “Sax Revolutions: Adolphe Sax’s Life”
  • Saturday, November 8, 11:00 a.m., Music Building, Room 101: Tribute to jazz legend Sydney Bechet
  • Saturday, November 8, 1:15 p.m., Music Building, Room 101: Multimedia spectacle: Rudy Weidoft and the Saxophone Craze of the 1920s
  • Friday-Saturday, various times, Music Building, Room 101: 11 concerts and master classes by artists from the U.S., Canada and Australia
  • Friday-Saturday, various times, Music Building, Rooms 101 and 120: Many lectures and workshops on saxophone-related topics

To learn more details on lecture topics and for specific concert times, visit Join the conversation online at #SaxFestUF.

About the School of Music

The School of Music is one of the University of Florida College of the Arts’ three fully-accredited schools. The School of Music plays an important role in the academic life of the University and the community. The school’s programs provide broad-based instruction in performance, composition, history and literature and music disciplines, through a strong curriculum as well as through professional experiences such as ensembles and internships. UF students also have the opportunity to join more than a dozen music ensembles, including jazz bands, the University Choir, the University Symphony Orchestra and the “Pride of the Sunshine” Fightin’ Gator Marching Band. To learn more, visit

About the College of the Arts

The College of the Arts, previously known as the College of Fine Arts, is one the 16 colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. The College of the Arts offers baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its three fully-accredited schools — the School of Art and Art History, School of Music and School of Theatre and Dance. The college is home to the Center for Arts in Medicine, Center for World Arts, Digital Worlds Institute, University Galleries and the New World School of the Arts in Miami. More than 100 faculty members and more than 1,220 students work together daily to engage, inspire and create. The college hosts more than 300 performances, exhibitions and events each year. Faculty and students also exhibit and perform at other local, national and international venues. To learn more, visit

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