Saxophonist Zach Shemon enjoys a versatile career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and pedagogue. Highlights of his 2020 performance calendar include concerto appearances with the Arizona State University Wind Orchestra as a featured soloist at the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference and with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra premiering a new work by James Aikman with the PRISM Quartet. In Kansas City, Shemon regularly performs with the Kansas City Symphony and with the contemporary chamber music ensemble, newEar.
Shemon serves as alto saxophonist and co-artistic director of the PRISM Quartet. Since joining the ensemble, PRISM has released numerous recordings on the Albany, innova, Naxos, New Dynamic, New Focus, and XAS labels and performed on many of the world’s leading festivals for contemporary music including the Bang on a Can Marathon, Beijing Modern Music Festival, and SONiC Festival. Shemon has performed with the quartet as a soloist with the Arizona State Symphony Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Cornell Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, and UMKC Conservatory Wind Symphony, among others. PRISM is also committed to educational outreach and has held residencies at top music institutions around the world including the Beijing Central Conservatory, Curtis Institute, Eastman School of Music, Hartt School, University of Michigan, Princeton University, Rice University, Tianjin Conservatory, UMKC Conservatory, and Yale University, among others.
As a soloist, Shemon was awarded 1st prize at the inaugural International Saxophone Symposium and Competition in Columbus, GA. He has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Indiana University Philharmonic, the UMKC Conservatory Wind Ensemble and Conservatory Wind Symphony, and the bands at the University of Michigan, as well as with the Michigan Philharmonic, and the Sioux City Symphony, among others. Active in the saxophone community, he regularly performs at national and regional conferences held by the North American Saxophone Alliance.
In his position as Associate Professor of Saxophone at the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory, he maintains a thriving studio of graduate and undergraduate saxophone majors. Current and former students have been finalists in national and international competitions, as well as in auditions for US Military Bands. His former students hold teaching positions at colleges, high schools, and middle schools throughout the country. He spends his summers on the faculties of the Interlochen Arts Camp, Interlochen Saxophone Summer Institute, and directing the Kansas City Saxophone Workshop. Shemon holds degrees in performance from Indiana University and the University of Michigan. He has also studied at the Université Européenne de Saxophone in Gap, France and the Aspen Music Festival and School. His primary teachers are Donald Sinta and Otis Murphy.
Shemon is a Conn-Selmer artist and performs on Selmer (Paris) saxophones. As a D’Addario Woodwinds artist, he performs on Reserve reeds, aids in product research and design, and is an active clinician throughout the world.
Jan Berry Baker
Saxophonist Jan Berry Baker is a native of Alberta, Canada. In demand as a soloist and chamber musician, she has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, France, Germany, Scotland, England, Ukraine, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic. She has been featured as a concerto soloist with orchestras in Canada, Ukraine, USA, and most recently with the Sinfonica de Oaxaca in Mexico.
An advocate of contemporary music, Baker is Co-Artistic Director and saxophonist with Atlanta-based new music ensemble Bent Frequency. Founded in 2003, Bent Frequency brings the avant-garde to life through adventurous and socially conscious programming, cross-disciplinary collaborations and community engagement. Committed to exploding marginalized programming in classical music, one of BF’s primary goals is championing the work of historically underrepresented composers—music by women, composers of color and LGBTQIA+. In the last few years, she and Co-Artistic Director and percussionist Stuart Gerber have formed the Bent Frequency Duo Project. Together, they have commissioned over 30 new works for saxophone and percussion and have given countless performances of these works across the USA, Mexico, and Europe including their Carnegie Hall debut in 2016. Their work to fund the creation, performance and recording of new music has been supported by numerous national and international grants, such as the Copland Foundation, French American Cultural Exchange (FACE), Barlow Foundation, Amphion Foundation, Ditson Foundation, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (National Endowment for the Arts/Andrew Mellon Foundation), and Culture Ireland to name a few.
As an orchestral saxophonist, Baker regularly performs with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic, Atlanta Opera and Atlanta Ballet and has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Chicago Chamber Players, and American Ballet Theater. She can be heard on American Orchestral Works with Grant Park Orchestra (Cedille), The Golden Ticket with the Atlanta Opera (Albany), The BF Duo Project recording Diamorpha (Centaur), Citizens of Nowhere featuring works for clarinet and saxophone (Albany), and is a featured performer on John Liberatore’s Line Drawings (Albany) and Robert Scott Thompson’s Folio, Vol.1, Vol. 2 and Solace (Aucourant).
As an artist and educator, Baker has held residencies at Nürnberg Tage Aktueller Musik, Sam Houston State New Music Festival, Charlotte New Music Festival, University of Georgia, New Music on the Point (Vermont) and Dakota Chamber Music Festival. She is highly sought after as a masterclass teacher and speaker, and has given presentations on contemporary music, entrepreneurship, non-profits and grant writing, women in music, community engagement, socially conscious programming, career development and mentoring at major schools of music across the country.
Dr. Baker is currently Associate Professor of Saxophone and Woodwind Area Head at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA. Prior academic appointments include Georgia State University, Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, Northwestern University and University of Alberta. She studied with Frederick Hemke, William H. Street and Barbara Lorenz and earned a Doctor of Music degree in saxophone performance from Northwestern University. She is a founding member of the Committee on the Status of Women in NASA and is the leader of the CSW Women’s+ Mentoring Program. Jan Berry Baker is a Selmer Paris and Vandoren performing artist.
Soprano chair of the renowned PRISM Quartet and internationally-acclaimed soloist, TIMOTHY McALLISTER has been hailed as a “virtuoso…one of the foremost saxophonists of his generation” (The New York Times), an “exemplary soloist” (Gramophone Magazine), and “a titan of contemporary music and the instrument, in general” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer). Since his solo debut at age sixteen with the Houston Civic Symphony, his career has taken him throughout the United States, Australia, Russia, Canada, Japan, China, Mexico, France, Slovenia, Switzerland, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Austria, garnering prizes at many prestigious national and international competitions, with solo performances in such venues as Prince Royal Albert Hall in London, the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium, Zankel Hall and Weill Recital Hall, Boston’s Jordan Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall, Sumida Triphony Hall in Tokyo, Dallas’ Meyerson Symphony Center, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
McAllister’s critically acclaimed, internationally released recordings can be heard on the Nonesuch, Stradivarius, Summit, OMM, Einstein, NAXOS, AUR, New Dynamic, Albany, Equilibrium, New Focus, Centaur, G.I.A. Publications, Parma, and Innova labels. Mark Stryker of the Detroit Free Press recognized his albums as among the top classical saxophone recordings in the industry.
McAllister has premiered over 200 new works by today’s most eminent and emerging composers ranging from solo compositions by Gunther Schuller, Caleb Burhans, Jennifer Higdon, Benjamin Broening, Kati Agocs, Mischa Zupko, Gregory Wanamaker, Roshanne Etezady, Kristin Kuster to saxophone quartets and chamber works by William Bolcom, Martin Bresnick, Steven Mackey, Lee Hyla, Libby Larsen, Lei Liang, John Harbison, David Rakowski, Zhou Long, Chen Yi, Joel Puckett, Brian Fennelly, Evan Chambers, Ken Ueno, Donnacha Dennehy, David T. Little among many others. In October 2009, he appeared as saxophonist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Maestro Gustavo Dudamel’s Inaugural Gala concert performing the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize and multiple Grammy winning composer John Adams’ major new work, City Noir (released on DVD by Deutsche Grammophon), and performed the work with the orchestra throughout its May 2010 U.S. Tour, with appearances in San Francisco, Chicago, Phoenix, Philadelphia, and New York City’s Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. In March 2015, he reprised his City Noir role with the LAPhil and Dudamel for an acclaimed Asian Tour, including concerts in Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo. He reunited with Dudamel in June 2017 to perform the work with the famed Berlin Philharmonic, which appears on the Digital Concert Hall and was recorded for the Berlin Philharmonic’s “John Adams Edition” anthology.
In August 2013, he gave the World Premiere of John Adams’ Saxophone Concerto - described by The Sydney Morning Herald as “an astonishing performance” - with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the composer in the Sydney Opera House. Subsequent United States premieres and international performances throughout 2013 and 2014 occurred with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore and Sao Paulo State (Brazil) symphonies, along with a recording of the Concerto and City Noir for Nonesuch Records with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony, which won the 2015 GRAMMY Award for Best Orchestral Performance. Other engagements with the Concerto have included the BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Croatian Radiotelevision Symphony, and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. As part of the 70th Birthday celebrations worldwide honoring Adams in 2017, he performed the Concerto with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Indianapolis Symphony, along with other performances of Adams’s music with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, and the Berlin Philharmonic.
Other recent performances as soloist and recording artist include the London Symphony Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Elgin Symphony, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Reno Philharmonic, the Hot Springs Festival Orchestra, Texas Festival Orchestra at Round Top, Dallas Wind Symphony, United States Navy Band, Hong Kong Wind Philharmonia, Tokyo Wind Symphony, Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble. An in-demand orchestral musician, he has been invited to perform in the wind sections of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic, National Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Houston Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, New World Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He was the featured soloist for the University of Michigan Symphony Band Centennial Anniversary Tour in 1997 and soprano chair of the Ninth Circle Saxophone Quartet, which was awarded the 2001 Grand Prize at the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition.
With the PRISM Quartet, he has appeared with The Crossing, Pacific Symphony, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Opera Colorado, Columbus Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Ocean City Pops (NJ), Augusta Symphony, Cantori New York, Talujon Percussion Quartet, SO Percussion, Partch Ensemble, and the Nashville Symphony, in addition to numerous chamber music engagements and festivals nationwide, including the SONIC Festival, Bang On A Can Marathon and the Big Ears Festival. He has been a featured soloist at the national/international conferences of SEAMUS, the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial meetings, the New England Saxophone Symposium, and the U.S Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium. Additionally, he has appeared as a concerto soloist at World Saxophone Congresses in Minneapolis, Strasbourg, and Zagreb.
McAllister has performed with notable big bands, and in many regional music theater and studio orchestra touring productions, having appeared with numerous entertainers including Broadway icon Patti LuPone. He has also performed behind such jazz greats as saxophonists Jimmy Heath, Rick Margitza, Dave Liebman and trumpeteer Ed Sarath. Since joining PRISM, he has premiered several jazz compositions by composer/performers Greg Osby, Tim Ries, Matt Levy, Tim Berne, and has collaborated with guitarist/composer Ben Monder and drummer Anthony Pinciotti. Recent seasons involved crossover projects between PRISM and jazz saxophonists/composers Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Greg Osby, Steve Lehman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Miguel Zenon and Tim Ries.
A dedicated teacher, McAllister is Professor of Saxophone at The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, following the legacies of Larry Teal and Donald Sinta. This followed the same post at Northwestern University, succeeding the legendary Frederick Hemke, and serving as Co-Director of the inaugural Institute for New Music from 2012-2015. Other faculty positions have included Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute School of Music, The University of Arizona School of Music, and SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. He spends his summers as a distinguished Valade Fellow/Instructor of Saxophone for the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He has given clinics and recitals at many of the nation’s elite universities and conservatories, and in 2003, he was invited by French virtuoso Claude Delangle to serve as a Guest Professor at the famed Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris. In 2013, he was a co-founding faculty member of the annual American Saxophone Academy first convened at the Eastman School of Music, and he is the first American saxophonist to serve as an instructor at the European University for Saxophone in Gap, France in 2015. He holds regular summer workshops at the Arosa (Switzerland) and Orford (Quebec, Canada) Music Academies and for the University of Michigan MPulse Program. In 2018, he was appointed to the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester UK, as International Visiting Tutor in Saxophone.
He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts and other degrees in music education, conducting and performance from The University of Michigan where he studied saxophone with Donald Sinta and conducting with H. Robert Reynolds. He is the only saxophonist to ever receive the School of Music’s most distinguished performance award—the Albert A. Stanley Medal. Alongside composer Derek Bermel, acclaimed countertenor David Daniels, tenor Nicholas Phan and New York Metropolitan Opera coach Howard Watkins, McAllister has been honored with the Paul C. Boylan Award from the Michigan School of Music Alumni Society for his significant contributions to the field of music. Alongside his PRISM colleagues, he received the inaugural Christopher Kendall Alumni Award, bestowed upon chamber groups or individuals who have demonstrated great achievement in performance, outreach, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Timothy McAllister is a Conn-Selmer artist, and plays Selmer (Paris) saxophones exclusively. He is also a DANSR/Vandoren Woodwind Artist, assisting with research and design, and endorses the Vandoren saxophone reeds, mouthpieces and ligatures.
Fanfare Magazine writes, “Immediately upon hearing Murphy, one is struck by the extraordinarily golden tone he produces on his instrument. Murphy’s ease, fluidity and perfect blending of registers on his instrument is extraordinary, as is his phrasing.” Chicago Tribune states, “Murphy’s playing is bright, alert . . . always with a polish and sensitivity that make the most of the music.” Indianapolis Star declares, “Murphy played with the sweetest tone imaginable.” International French saxophonist Jean-Yves Fourmeau voices, “Otis Murphy is an exceptional artist, possessing an extraordinary musical sense combined with a stunning technique.” Saxophone Journal writes, “Otis Murphy’s tone is superb, warm, supple, and intense.”
Dr. Murphy holds the position of Professor of Saxophone in the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, joining the faculty at the age of 28 and becoming one of the youngest faculty members in its history. He is in great demand as an international artist, having performed in more than 25 countries worldwide across four continents. Dr. Murphy has garnered a number of awards as a performer including international prizes in Belgium’s Adolphe Sax International Saxophone Competition, France’s Jean-Marie Londeix International Saxophone Competition, and the Heida Hermanns International Woodwind Competition in the United States, and he has appeared in renowned concert halls throughout the world including New York City’s Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage and Merkin Concert Hall, Casals Hall (Tokyo); Palau de la Musica (Valencia, Spain); Muziekgebouw aan het Ij (Amsterdam); the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia), others. Dr. Murphy has taught saxophone classes at prestigious international music schools and festivals including Conservatoire de Paris, Amsterdam Conservatory, Cologne Academy of Music, Hamamatsu International Wind Instrument Academy and Festival, Japan Band Clinic, Institut Franz Schubert, Kunitachi College of Music, Liceu de Barcelona, Madrid Royal Conservatory, Clinic, Musashino Academy of Music, Nagoya College of Music, Osaka College of Music, Ravenna Music Festival, London Royal College of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Sydney Conservatorium, the World Saxophone Congress, and many more. He also is a recipient of teaching awards from Indiana University including the 2019 Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award, and the 2019 Indiana University New Frontiers of Creativity and Scholarship Award.
Dr. Murphy has released some fifteen recordings including four solo compact discs which have all received critical acclaim and has appeared in publications that include Saxophone Journal in the United States, Vandoren Magazine in France, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, Band Journal, Pipers and The Sax magazines, Clarinet and Saxophone Society Journal in the United Kingdom, and Dolomiten Magazin in Italy. Dr. Murphy has enjoyed a close relationship over the years with Japan having been invited annually since 2001 to present master classes and concerts and as a member of the artist/faculty of the Hamamatsu International Wind Instrument Academy and Festival since 2005. He was awarded the S & R Foundation’s Washington Award and its special Ambassador Award (which the S & R Foundation created especially for Dr. Murphy) in recognition of his contributions to Japanese and American understanding. In addition, he acts as a consultant in the research and development of Yamaha saxophones.
Dr. Murphy’s students have received numerous accolades including Grand Prize in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and top prizes and awards in the Coleman Chamber Music Competition, Plowman Chamber Music Competition, Chesapeake Bay Chamber Music Competition, the International Saxophone Symposium and Competition, Heida Hermanns International Woodwind Competition, Arriaga Chamber Music Competition, Gaudeamus International Contemporary Music Competition (Netherlands), the Carmel Music Society Competition (the first time in the history of this competition in which a saxophonist was awarded the Grand Prize), the Vandoren Emerging Artist Competition, the Classical Saxophone Competition of the North American Saxophone Alliance, and the William Byrd Young Artist Competition, among several other awards. They also have won numerous positions in premier military concert bands including positions in the United States Navy Concert Band, the U.S. Army “Pershing’s Own” Ceremonial Band, the U.S. Coast Guard Band, the U. S. Army Field Band, the U. S. Naval Academy Band, and the U. S. Army West Point Band. In addition, Dr. Murphy’s students have held teaching positions in public school music programs and college teaching posts at Ithaca College, University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Texas at Austin, California State University Long Beach, University of the Pacific, Miami University (Ohio), the University of Louisville, DePauw University (Indiana), Augustana College (Illinois), Northern Ohio University, Southern Arkansas University, the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts and many others.
Dr. Murphy holds Doctor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, graduating with the Performer’s Certificate, the highest honor given to a performer at this institution. In addition, he pursued advanced studies in France under a Fulbright Fellowship for foreign study as a pupil of Jean-Yves Fourmeau at the Conservatoire National Régional de Musique in Cergy-Pontoise, earning the Prix de Perfectionnement à l’unanimité. Otis Murphy leads a very fulfilling life with his wife, pianist Haruko Murphy, as dedicated parents of their six children, and Otis and Haruko enjoy an active performance career together as a saxophone/piano duo.
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