Monday, January 17, 2005
Up in the air

I flew from Detroit to Miami today for a week of rehearsals and a Saturday concert with the New World Symphony. H.K. Gruber is conducting a program that includes his own work Aerial, which is the piece I play on. I'll be sure to post my impressions as the week goes on.

The time before my flight is always a whirlwind. As usual there were too many loose ends to tie up, too many things to do, and too many items to remember to pack. And true to form, I waited until the last minute to do everything. I managed to finish it all though, including boxing my bike up for flight in the parking lot of a drug store just two hours prior to takeoff. (By the way, I'm an avid cyclist and the thought of taking a week off was too much to bear, especially with the prospect of warm weather--the bike had to come.)

Once the mad dash to the gate was complete and I boarded the plane, I was calm. I'm always like that on flights--relaxed, my head clear, and very productive. Sometimes I read, sometimes I listen to music, sometimes I make lists and prioritize what I need to accomplish and what's coming up next--emails, give so-and-so a call, remember the deadline for this or that grant, brainstorm to try and assemble some interesting recital programs for next season. On this occasion I used the time to study the score to Charles Wuorinen's Divertimento (1982) for alto saxophone and piano, a work I'm playing next month on my New York Debut Recital at Columbia University's Miller Theater. It's an exciting work full of intricate counterpoint and plenty of visceral energy.

I often wonder why thoughts and ideas seem to flow so freely when I'm on a plane. Maybe because there's nothing else to do but sit and think to myself. Back on the ground it's very easy to get pulled in so many directions at once while when you're flying, you're moving gracefully toward one single point. Since I know that I have a tendency to be brimming with ideas in flight, I always make sure to bring a pad of paper and something to write with. Otherwise all of those great ideas might get lost somewhere up in the air. If I hadn't brought my pen this time, you probably wouldn't have read this post.
Praised by The New York Times as "an inventive musician . . . fresh and surprising," saxophonist Brian Sacawa has firmly established himself as an important contemporary voice for his instrument. He is active as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician throughout the United States and is the co-founder of the new music duo Non-Zero with percussionist Timothy Feeney.

He has given premieres of over thirty works by both established and emerging composers, including Michael Gordon, Bright Sheng, Andrew Mead, Oliver Schneller, Ken Ueno, Beata Moon, Hillary Zipper, and Scott McAllister, among many others. Named the Baltimore CITYPAPER’s Critic’s Choice for Classical Music in 2002, he is the recipient of awards for solo performance from both national and international competitions.

Sacawa's versatile career has led to appearances with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, Harvard Group for New Music, New Music Brandeis, Bargemusic, and at meetings of the ISU Contemporary Music Festival, World Saxophone Congress, North American Saxophone Alliance, and New England Saxophone Symposium.

Brian holds degrees from the University of Michigan, the Peabody Conservatory, and the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, where he studied with Donald Sinta, Gary Louie, and Lynn Klock. He has recorded for the Equililbrium, Naxos, and BiBimBop recording labels.

See Brian's other blog
Sounds Like Now