Amherst Saxophone Quartet History
The Amherst Saxophone Quartet has performed in the United States from Maine to Hawaii, Japan, Bermuda, and the British Virgin Islands. Concert highlights include multiple appearances at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Chautauqua Institution, and broadcasts on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Performance Today, Public Radio International's St. Paul Sunday, Voice of America, NBC-TV's Tonight Show, and CBS Sunday Morning.
The ASQ actively encouraged and commissioned the composition of new music for saxophone quartet. Many have become part of the standard repertory, including quartets by (alphabetical order) Steven Bryant, Chan Ka Nin, Lukas Foss, Lejaren Hiller, Oliver Lake, Terry Riley, Andrew Stiller, and David Stock. Three octets for the combination of Saxophone Quartet and String Quartet were composed by Paul Chihara, Michael Sahl, and Nils Vigeland. Nicolas Flagello wrote his Concerto Sinfonia for Saxophone Quartet and Symphony Orchestra for the Amherst Saxophone Quartet at the request of conductor Semyon Bychkov. Awards include the First Prize for Adventuresome Programming from Chamber Music America/ASCAP, and commissioning prizes from the American Composers Forum, CMA, New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1989, the Amherst Saxophone Quartet’s Board of Directors sponsored an international composition competition and received over 120 new works from around the world.
The Amherst Saxophone Quartet began as the Modern Yadz Quartet in January of 1978. The name was a tip of the hat to the Quartet's mentor, Edward Yadzinski, the saxophone/clarinet/bass clarinetist of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Professor of Saxophone at the University at Buffalo.