Title: Award-winning Assembly Saxophone Quartet to play at Espresso

May 3, 2018
Spartanburg Philharmonic closes our 2017-2018 season with award-winning Assembly Saxophone Quartet. The Philharmonic’s “Espresso” chamber concert series concludes on Friday, May 18 with Saxoccino. Tickets are $26 each and can be purchased by telephone — (864) 542-2787 — or in person at Chapman’s box office MondayFriday afternoons. Tickets are also available anytime online at SpartanburgPhilharmonic.org/Espresso. Price of ticket covers all food and beverages before the concert during a one-hour happy hour from 5:30-6:30pmfollowed by the concert at 6:30-7:30pm.
Espresso is a unique concert series where groups of instruments are showcased in smaller ensembles. This year alone Espresso has welcomed a mixed ensemble accompanying Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid,” a Wind Octet, String Quintet, and now, a Saxophone quartet. “Over the course of 3 seasons, the Spartanburg Philharmonic has highlighted every section of the orchestra from strings to percussion, brass to winds, and we are excited to showcase the Saxophone as a Classical instrument,” says Peter B. Kay, General Manager and Composer in Residence at the Spartanburg Philharmonic.
The Assembly Quartet is an award-winning chamber ensemble that originated at the University of South Carolina in 2003. The membership has grown and changed over the years, and now includes saxophonists who hold teaching positions at universities all across the eastern U.S. “Our focus as a group is first on bringing chamber music to as diverse a population of audiences as we can – we often work with students in the public schools during our concert tours, as well as performing in non-traditional venues when we can,” says Ian Jeffries who plays alto saxophone for the group.
Many people think of the saxophone as a jazz instrument, but the program promises to bring a blend of old and new Saxophone music including works such as Antonin Dvorak’s “American” Quartet, Guillermo Lago’s “Addis Ababa,” Michael Torke’s “July” and Ben Taylor’s “Digital Goldfish.” Jeffries says that the program is designed intentionally to help convey feelings of being in a certain place or occupying a specific moment in time. He adds, “We are really excited about this program! We’re also excited to share the stage with Spartanburg’s Tom Wright, who will be featured on one of his own compositions, and to celebrate the Debussy centenary with a performance of the first movement of his String Quartet in G.”
Wright, a math professor at Wofford shares the sentiment. “I’m very excited to premier this piece with such an accomplished saxophone quartet. The piece I wrote is called “Cloud Forest Guardian,” which was written about my adventures in the Costa Rican cloud forest in 2012. It’s somewhere between a jazz piece and a classical one, which seemed ideal for a jazz saxophonist playing with a classical saxophone quartet.”
Executive Director Kathryn Boucher reflects on the season with a sense of accomplishment and is looking forward to Stefan Sanders’ leadership next season. “Espresso has always been our way of engaging the Spartanburg community in an outside-of-the-box way. Not everyone enjoys the formality of a large concert hall. By showcasing ensembles, we hope to reach a broader audience and some specific niches. We are thrilled to have the Assembly Quartet close our season and personally, I am looking forward to hearing them open the program with Mellits’s “Ex Machina!””
“As a group, we’ve had a chance to work with a number of orchestras and bands over the years, and it’s really exciting to see an orchestra so involved with the overall musical and cultural life of its community as Spartanburg Philharmonic is through its Espresso series.” Says Jeffries.
The Spartanburg Philharmonic had a soft release of its program for the 2018-2019 season back in March at The Reveal where Stefan Sanders was announced as the new Maestro. “Next season’s Espresso will continue in the tradition of presenting four engaging musical experiences presented in a fun and informal atmosphere at the beautiful Chapman Cultural Center. Whether it is music to the iconic film Nosferatu in October, our Holiday Brass Bonanza in December, the Lomazov/Rackers Piano Duo in January, or our program of Women Composers in March, each of these hour-long performances are a great way to experience remarkable music in a fun way.” Season subscriptions are available for purchase at an early-bird price until the end of May by phone (864.278.9671) or in-person at the Philharmonic’s office located in the Chapman Cultural Center.
About Spartanburg Philharmonic
The Spartanburg Philharmonic’s mission is to enrich, inspire and educate through live performances of high quality music.  Founded in 1948, the Spartanburg Philharmonic is comprised of professional musicians from diverse backgrounds who form an ensemble capable of performing a variety of musical styles and repertoire.