Program Book 1986 page 15
The Amherst Saxophone Society, Inc. History

The Amherst Saxophone Society, Inc. was formed to stimulate public interest in, and gain wider acceptance of, saxophone quartet music as an American art form through concerts, recitals, workshops, and through the commissioning of new works for saxophone quartet.

The Amherst Saxophone Quartet (ASQ) is the performance arm of The Society (just as the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is related to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Society, Inc.). It began rehearsing in January of 1978, and held its first public performances in March of that year. Now in its ninth season with the same personnel, the ASQ has performed across the United States, including three concerts at Carnegie Hall and five appearances at the Kool Jazz Festival, has been broadcast on National Public Radio on numerous occasions, and is frequently heard throughout the world on Voice of America. In May of 1985 the Quartet made its national television debut on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. The program was selected as a "Best of Carson" and re-broadcast on August 14, 1986. The fall of 1983 marked the first time that the group produced its own four-concert series of recitals. Both a critical and box office success, the series is now an annual event.

The ASQ records for Musical Heritage Society and Mark Records and is active in recording new American works for saxophone quartet. The ensemble's first record documented their relationship with Ragtime great Eubie Blake. Over the five years since its release, the album has become one of MHS's most popular recordings. The group's second album is of contemporary American composers Alec Wilder, Paul Creston, Robert Mols and Stephen Parisi. This fall the ASQ will record major saxophone quartets by Lejaren Hiller and Andrew Stiller.

The Amherst Quartet has been a performing member of Young Audiences of Western New York since 1979. During that time, the group has performed to over 100,000 school children in Buffalo, Rochester (and two YA concerts in San Francisco). The ASQ has also worked with the Western New York Institute for the Arts in Education. As the quartet travels, it has performed many short term residencies and frequently gives workshops through the college level.

By January of 1979 The Amherst Saxophone Society was formed to serve as the administrative arm of the Quartet, was accorded not-for-profit status by the State of New York, and subsequently became incorporated in May of 1981. The Society has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, Erie County, the City of Buffalo, the C. Michael Paul Foundation, Chamber Music America, Meet the Composer, local Corporations and Foundations, and private donors.

The Society's long-term goals include maintaining a permanent repertory quartet of the highest professional caliber and the commissioning and development of a new collection of works by today's greatest composers.

" ... if one plays good music people don't listen, and if one plays bad music people don't talk."

"Music makes one feel so romantic — at least it always got on one's nerves — which is the same thing nowadays."

"Musical people are so absurdly unreasonable. They always want one to be perfectly dumb at the very moment when one is longing to be absolutely deaf."

"l like Wagner's music better than anybody's. It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without people hearing what one says."  — Oscar Wilde

Amherst Saxophone Quartet Program Book History