Thursday, August 11, 2005
Good vibrations

There's a neat piece in the Times about an instrument often pigeonholed into the realm of spooky sci-fi effects--the theremin. It's too bad that so many of the early theremin virtuosi or "wizards" took a completely new and unlimited sonic palette and simply made it do things that any other western instrument could do, like play "Flight of the Bumblebee" or something. Maybe if more cats--unlike humans, who are so grounded in western tonal music--played the theremin we might witness the instrument's full potential. Although one guy, who is definitely not a cat, doing some really original and innovative stuff with the theremin, is Boston-based improviser James Coleman. Tim plays with him sometimes and shared one of James' albums with me last time I was out there. If you're interested in finding out more about the theremin, here's a good book. And find some good web resources here, here, and here.

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