Program Book 1997-1998 page 15
Amherst Saxophone Quartet History

The Amherst Saxophone Quartet is a full time professional ensemble that splits its time between touring and its residency at the University at Buffalo, and in Buffalo & Erie County.

The ASQ was formed in January of 1978, and is now celebrating its twentieth full season of concert performances. The ensemble has performed in the United States from Maine to Hawaii, Japan, Bermuda, and the British Virgin Islands. Concert highlights include appearances in Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Chautauqua Institution, and broadcasts on National Public Radio, St. Paul Sunday, Voice of America, and NBC-TV's Tonight Show. The fall of 1983 marked the first time that the group produced its own concert series of recitals. Both a critical and box office success, the series is in its 15th year and has grown to 14 concerts in 4 different locations.

The ASQ was awarded Chamber Music America Residency Grants for the 1985-86 through 1987-88 seasons. The ensemble received the 1993 First Prize for Adventuresome Programming from CMAI ASCAP. The ASQ received the Annual Arts Award from the Arts Council in Buffalo & Erie County and the Greater Buffalo Partnership in 1995. The Ensemble has been awarded commissioning prizes from CMA, NYSCA, and the NEA. The Board of the Quartet sponsored an international composition competition and received over 120 new works from around the world.

The ASQ has recorded five albums for MCA Records, Musical Heritage Society, and Mark Records. These include two recordings of new American music, an all Bach album, an all Eubie Blake disc, and a collaboration with Lukas Foss. The ensemble has just released a video tape introducing children to chamber music, called ASQKids. It is believed to be the first video of its kind. The Amherst Quartet has been a performing member of Young Audiences of WNY since 1979. The group also worked with young persons' programs at the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), Lincoln Center (New York, NY), Aesthetic Education Institute (Rochester, NY), and Arts in Education (Buffalo, NY). As the Quartet travels, it performs many short term residencies and donated 17 concerts to the Buffalo City Schools in 1994. This season, the Quartet will work extensively with the communities based around the Olmsted School, Iroquois Central Schools, and the University at Buffalo. The members of the ASQ are clinicians for the Selmer Company and Vandoren Reed Products.

The ASQ has received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, County of Erie, City of Buffalo, the Cultural Leadership Group's Cultural Incentive Funding Program, foundations, corporations, and individual donors.

The ASQ's long term goals include maintaining a permanent repertory ensemble of the highest international caliber and encouraging composers to write for saxophone quartet to create a 20th and 21 st century repertory that compares to that of the contemporary string quartet.

Amherst Saxophone Quartet Program Book History