GARY LOUIE, saxophonist
Internationally recognized as one of the leading saxophone virtuosi of our time, GARY LOUIE possesses a lively interpretive imagination coupled with a refreshingly understated artistry and a warm, supple tone, qualities that have earned him consistent praise from audiences and critics alike.
Gary Louie's career has long been distinguished by his successful efforts to break boundaries and integrate the saxophone and its repertoire into the mainstream of classical music life, both here and abroad. He has appeared as soloist with Hugh Wolff and the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, under the batons of Daniel Hege, David Lockington, Juanjo Mena and Yan Pascal Tortelier, in performances of Milhaud’s La création du monde, Debussy's Rhapsody for Saxophone and Orchestra and Glazunov's Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra.
In recital, Gary Louie has been presented by prestigious institutions from coast to coast: New York City's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' Alice Tully Hall and The Frick Collection; California's La Jolla Chamber Music Society; Boston's Jordan Hall; The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, The Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Cleveland Museum of Art; The Phillips Collection and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. International performances have been given in Paris at L'Opera Comique, in Rome at the Villa Medici, in Hong Kong, throughout Spain and with Vladimir Lande and the St. Petersburg Symphony and Germany’s Philharmonisches Orchester Augsburg, under the baton of Peter Leonard.
In 2009, Gary Louie released his first solo saxophone with orchestra CD. Featuring the St. Petersburg Symphony conducted by Vladimir Lande, the album includes Glazunov’s Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra, Frank Martin’s Ballade for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, Carmen Fantasy (arranged by Mr. Louie) and Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise. This season he records Michael Hersch’s of ages manifest.
An avid supporter and interpreter of contemporary music, Gary Louie is actively involved in the commissioning and performing of new scores for the saxophone. He has premiered new works by the distinguished American composers William Albright, John Harbison, MIchael Hersch, Lori Laitman, John Anthony Lennon and Jonathon Leshnoff. This season he premieres Michael Hersch’s of ages manifest for unaccompanied saxophone. In 2015, he is scheduled to premier a new concerto for saxophone and orchestra written for him by Lowell Liebermann.
Gary Louie’s career was launched in 1986, when he won the coveted Pro Musicis International Sponsorship Award. In 1988 he was selected as a “Young Artist to Watch” by Musical America. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including having been chosen by the United States Information Service for its "Arts America" program and a National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Grant. Mr. Louie has also served on the National Screening Committee for the Fulbright Awards.
Gary Louie began serious studies on the saxophone with George Etheridge in Washington, DC, and went on to study at the University of Michigan with the legendary saxophonist/teacher, Donald Sinta. Mr. Louie currently serves as Professor of Saxophone at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
KIRSTEN TAYLOR, pianist
Kirsten Taylor is quickly gaining recognition as a leader in the new generation of American women pianists. The New York Times has described her playing as “varied, colorful, and impressive”, while the Washington Post wrote, “She is a pianist of great power and delicacy who phrases a singing line exquisitely and shows a keen sense of larger structures.” Sought after as both soloist and chamber musician, Ms. Taylor is especially noted for her unique and riveting performances of the works of Johannes Brahms. Her first recording of the complete works of Brahms for piano is slated to be released in the fall of 2013.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ms. Taylor began her concert career at the age of 11 when she performed Mozart’s Concerto in d minor with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She has since appeared throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia to enthusiastic critical acclaim. Of her playing the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote, “Subtle and sensitive, she performs with clarity and expressiveness.” Ms. Taylor made her Washington, D.C. solo recital debut at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Recent and upcoming engagements include performances with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, The Music Academy of the West Symphony Orchestra, the Phillips Collection and the Amadeus Symphony Orchestra. Following a performance of Tobias Picker’s “Keys to the City” with the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette commented, “She had something to say in every measure.”
Engaged in the promotion of contemporary music, Ms. Taylor recently commissioned noted composer Lori Laitman to write “Daughters: A song Cycle for Mezzo-Soprano and Piano Trio”. This poignant work is set to poems by Anne Ranasinghe and Karen Gershon, both German Jewish poets who lost their entire families during the holocaust. Each movement in the work contains a heartfelt message to their own daughters. Ms. Taylor has also commissioned and premiered works by such eminent composers as William Albright, Ty Alan Emerson, Jonathan Leshnoff and John Anthony Lennon.
A gifted chamber musician, Kirsten Taylor has appeared in such venues as London’s Wigmore Hall, Jordan Hall in Boston, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the L’Opera Comique in Paris, and the Villa Medici in Rome. She has performed with soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julsen and cellist Janos Starker and has been guest artist with the American Chamber players. Ms. Taylor has also collaborated with Cynthia Phelps, principal violist of the New York Philharmonic, with whom she was heard at New York’s Carnegie/Weill Hall and on National Public Radio’s “St. Paul Sunday Morning.” She frequently concertizes with her husband, prominent classical saxophonist Gary Louie. Their recent engagements have included performances at the City Hall Theater in Hong Kong and at the La Jolla Chamber Music Society. Their recording, “Pastorale”, was released on the Newport Classics label.
Ms. Taylor earned her Bachelors and Masters degrees with Phi Beta Kappa distinction from the University of Michigan where she studied with Louis Nagel and Theodore Lettvin. Post-graduate work was undertaken at Canada’s Banff Centre for the Fine Arts and in London with Maria Curcio-Diamond; acclaimed pupil of Artur Schnabel. She has lectured for the Smithsonian “Resident Associate” program; and future plans include lecture-recitals on the works of Johannes Brahms. Ms. Taylor recently completed her Doctor of Musical Arts with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University.