Program Book 1987-1988 page 17
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 tenth season with the same personnel, the ASQ has performed in twenty-five of the fifty United States, including concerts at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center. It has been broadcast on National Public Radio, American Public Radio, and 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 rebroadcast in August of 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 in its fifth year.

The ASQ was awarded Chamber Music America Residency Grants for the 1985-86 through 1987-88 seasons. Chamber Music America's aim in making grants is to provide seed money for a permanent residency. The co-hosts during that first year were the City of Buffalo and the State University of New York at Buffalo. This is the ASQ's third year of ongoing residence in the City of Buffalo, and the ensemble begins what is expected to be a long-term home base at Buffalo State College this season.

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 six 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.

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.

Amherst Saxophone Quartet Program Book History