The Megalopolis Saxophone Orchestra (MSO) will give its inaugural concert at the Dana Hall School of Music in Wellesley on April 9 at 3pm.
MSO’s music director, Andrew Steinberg, is the saxophone instructor at Dana Hall and says the orchestra has formed over the past few months.
On top of exploring traditional repertoire for the saxophone orchestra, this concert will include the world premiere of a piece written expressly for the group by composer Alex Burtzos. In addition, the MSO will present the Boston premiere of British composer Edmund Jolliffe’s Breathe for ten saxophones and piano with pianist Chelsea Whitaker.
Asked about MSO’s aim “to reinvigorate the saxophone orchestra tradition,” as described on MSO’s Facebook page, Steinberg replied that: “In terms of the saxophone orchestra, there is quite the tradition, stretching back to the instrument’s invention and conception by Adolphe Sax. Adolphe Sax (1814-1894) created the saxophone as an instrumental family to be played in orchestral settings as well as in a choir of saxophones, much like brass instruments during his lifetime. In 1844, Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) created a special arrangement of his vocal work Chant Sacre for a consort of Sax’s instruments, including the saxophone, played by Sax himself. Since this inaugural performance of Sax’s choir, the saxophone orchestra has grown in reputation thanks to the work of musicians including Gustav Bumcke (1876-1963), Sigurd Rascher (1907-2001), and countless others since then, leading to the establishment of such groups in major universities across the globe, as well as in professional settings.”
The Megalopolis Saxophone Orchestra has received funding for this inaugural concert through a grant from New England Conservatory.