2022 Commissioned by The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.
Premiere performance: 25 November 2023, Timothy McAllister (saxophone), Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Robert Franz (conductor), and local saxophonists, TCU Place, Saskatoon (MB), Canada.

DURATION

30 minutes

INSTRUMENTATION

2222/4231/2perc+timp/pno/strings (with 6-10 spatialized saxophonists – placed in balconies/loges)

Whimsical Concerto of Fanciful Birds

I. Enchanted Migrations
II. Angels and Mockingbirds
III. Urban Birds

This concerto represents the culmination of my years of writing for saxophone, namely in the series “Whimsical Sketches of Fanciful Birds, Books 1-3” for alto saxophone and piano. This series are a collection of fifteen works that explore various bird-like or bird-inspired sounds that could be created on the saxophone instrument. After writing this collection (with the possibility of more to come), the inevitable next step was to adapt many of these musical ideas into a large-scale concerto. To fully capture the spirit of the avian world I envisioned, I decided to score it for solo alto saxophone, orchestra, AND spatialized saxophone ensemble – a collective of saxophonists placed in various areas of the concert hall surrounding the audience (eg. loges, balconies, aisles, etc) to serve as the “flock of birds” accompanying the soloist and orchestra while creating an immersive sonic experience.

This work was commissioned by The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra with support from The Alberta Foundation of the Arts and Calgary Arts Development, and was written for my close saxophone colleagues Dr. Timothy McAllister and Dr. Jeremy Brown. I thank the following people who contributed to my creative process with their invaluable input:
– Mark Turner
– Louise Bernice Halfe
– Dr. Christy Morrissey
– Walt DeBoni
– Trevor Herriott
– Bob McGuire
– Gerhard Westphalen
– The graduate students of University of Saskachewan’s Environmental Science and Biology Departments:
Jory Litt-Jukes
Shuqi Ren
Ana Maria Diaz
Kayla Caruso
Biyao Han
Sonia Cabezas