sealPurdue News

March 22, 2002

Innovative saxophone quartet to perform at Loeb

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The New Century Saxophone Quartet will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, April 5, in Loeb Playhouse.

Admission is $22 for general public, $15 for Purdue students and children K-12. Tickets can be purchased at Purdue box offices or charged by phone at (765) 494-3933 or (800) 914-SHOW. The concert is presented by Purdue Convocations.

The New Century Saxophone Quartet is composed of Michael Stephenson, Christopher Hemingway, Stephen Pollock and Brad Hubbard. The only ensemble of its kind to ever win first prize of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, the quartet is a pioneering and versatile group. Winning newfound enthusiasm for the saxophone quartet and its diverse repertory, the ensemble's program ranges from the Baroque to innovative contemporary works to imaginative transcriptions.

New Century has been heard in major concert venues in Los Angeles, New York and Amsterdam; on radio and television in the United States, Europe and Central America, including its own radio series in North Carolina; in recordings for the Channel Classics label; and in unusual concert settings, ranging from a command performance for President Clinton at the White House to a concerto performance with the United States Navy Band.

New Century premiered "New Century Suite," a concerto for saxophone quartet and orchestra by Peter Schickele with the North Carolina Symphony in September 2000. A November 2000 performance of the concerto with the Canton (Ohio) Symphony was featured twice on National Public radio's "Performance Today."

New Century's 1993 New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall earned the group praise for what the New York Post called their "virtuosic display of dexterity and keen ensemble work," in which the "players handled all the music with panache."

Upon becoming the first saxophone quartet presented at the Ambassador Auditorium in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times wrote of the West Coast debut: "Tackling brave new territory in the conservative-leaning realm of classical music takes a unique blend of conviction, refined talent and a bit of damn-the-torpedoes ambition. Those qualities are amply in evidence with the New Century Saxophone Quartet, not to mention a finely-honed musicality deserving wider acceptance."

The New Century Saxophone Quartet has appeared on television and radio across the United States in features on National Public Radio's "Performance Today," the Voice of America and North Carolina Public TV. New Century has been the resident ensemble of two radio stations in North Carolina, WUNC in Chapel Hill (1995) and WHQR in Wilmington (1996).

Outside the United States, Panamanian television aired a documentary and live performance. Dutch radio presented a live broadcast from the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In January 1998 the ensemble participated in a special performance for the Chinese New Year that was broadcast live to more than 100 million people on television around the world

Recording exclusively for the Channel Classics label, the quartet's 2000 release was "A New Century Christmas," featuring unusual arrangements by a wide range of American composers. The recording won critical acclaim and was featured on NPR's "Weekend Edition."

In May 2001 the quartet recorded its fifth disc, "Standard Repertoire," to be released this year, and later this year will record all of J.S. Bach's "Art of the Fugue."

Moving beyond the traditional repertory for four saxophones, New Century performs works covering composers from Mozart to Carol Florio, a turn-of-the-century American composer who was one of the first composers for saxophone quartet, and genres from Classical works to contemporary works with funk and jazz influences.

Over more than a decade New Century has been responsible for a significant broadening of the repertoire for saxophone quartet through its commissioning projects, premiering new works by Peter Schickele, Sherwood Shaffer, Arthur Frackenpohl, David Ott, Ben Johnston, Benjamin Boone, Lenny Pickett, Ken Valitsky and Thomas Massella, and will premier a new work by well-known jazz saxophonist and composer Bob Mintzer this season.

The quartet's program in Loeb Playhouse will include works by Jean Baptiste Singelée, J.S. Bach, Bob Mintzer and Leonard Bernstein.

CONTACT: Larry Sommers, Purdue Convocations, (765) 494-5045,

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: A publication-quality photograph of the New Century Saxophone Quartet is available at

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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