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National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain

The National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain

YouTube – Sax Choir videos

What's a sax choir?

The Saxophone Choir grew out from the French military wind orchestras and bands from the end of the 1800s. With many bands having a large saxophone section of eight or more players, it was quite the norm for the section to perform independently from the band.

Such saxophone ensembles blended extremely well, due to the nature of the different instruments making up the saxophone family.

In recent years, larger saxophone ensembles such as The National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain have once again become popular with players, composers and audiences alike. The choir continues to introduce new audiences to the wonders of challenging and appealing saxophone choir music.

Why not listen to the sound of the choir to experience the formidable resources of a choir that has eight members of the sax family at its disposal!

About the NSC

Established in 2002, the National Saxophone Choir is a pioneering ensemble of talented saxophonists from all over the UK. Their aim is to create and promote new music, introducing audiences to a sound that is rich, resonant and awesome.

Central to this strategy is the NSC's family of eight saxophones, ranging from the majestic contrabass to the tiny soprillo, which is the chosen solo instrument of the Choir's founder and musical director, Nigel Wood.

Armed with this impressive array of hardware and fuelled by the creative energy of Nigel and his co-players who generate much of its repertoire, the NSC has already made considerable progress towards its goals. It has presented many premieres, given workshops, family concerts and critically acclaimed appearances at the 2005 and 2006 Edinburgh Fringe. The Choir has made its mark on fellow musicians domestically (having attracted many of the UK's leading saxophonists as guest conductors and soloists) and internationally, with triumphant performances at the 2006 and 2009 World Saxophone Congress in Slovenia and Thailand respectively.

Following the completion of the its second album, Sax to the Max!, which features many of the highlights of the 2006/7 season, the Choir embarked on a two week tour of China and Hong Kong, giving performances in schools, concert halls, jazz bars and community centres. The NSC was also featured in BBC1's Play It Again series with celebrity sax student Lord Robert Winston. This contributed to the increased demand for performances in 2008 at various venues and festivals across Britain and appearances at the Prague Fringe Festival.

2009 proved to be one of the NSC's busiest years, with an ambitious project, 7 Wonders, featuring 7 movements, 7 composers, and 7 different types of saxophone. This unique commission highlighted the variety and quality that became the NSC's calling card.

After the performance of their 7 Wonders Suite at the World Saxophone Congress in Thailand, and a concert at Wavendon with the late legendary Sir John Dankworth, the choir completed the summer season with performances at Klassiek op Locatie festival, Holland and Birmingham Artsfest.

In 2010, the NSC organised and hosted its first national sax ensemble course, Summer Saxophone Spectacular! in Bournville. Other highlights during the year were a collaborative concert with Dutch carillonneur, Boudewijn Zwart and the launch of a new CD Sax Circus which is also the title track by their 'Composer in Residence', Roger May.

The NSC is currently 'Artists in Residence' at Haileybury College.

The Sax Family

The Sax Family is comprised of the principal members of the National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain, playing a range of saxophones from the tiny soprillo to the majestic bass*. The NSC was established in 2002 as a large ensemble consisting of members from all over the UK. However, from the outset, smaller groups within the Choir have presented chamber works and other repertoire for NSC concerts. The Sax Family formalised these ad hoc groups, using the nuclear sax family to showcase each individual saxophone with music arranged and commissioned specifically for the group.

*Occasionally, The Sax Family is privileged to have the contrabass as part of the group. As a result of its size, transport of this large and rare instrument is difficult.

The Sax Family

The Sax Family takes the original family of saxophones as conceived by Adolphe Sax, and supplements it with the world's smallest saxophone, the Soprillo, developed by Benedikt Eppelsheim. The Eppelsheim involvement (reflected also in the use of the Eppelsheim bass and contrabass*) celebrates the continuing role of inventiveness, curiosity and first-class engineering in the development of the saxophone, and the importance of collaboration between players (Nigel Wood) and manufacturers. The response to the Soprillo at the 14th World Saxophone Congress was a major factor in inspiring Nigel to produce the first ever all-Soprillo CD, Soprillogy, and to promote the instrument through performance and inclusion as a standard part of the NSC and The Sax Family line-up.

Many of The Sax Family's works are composed or arranged by its members and the NSC composer in residence, Roger May. Sax Circus written by May was premiered at the 2009 World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok and became the title track on the NSCs latest CD. The Sax Family's programmes include a wide range of music styles – a veritable cornucopia!

Listen to the Sax Family play Devil's Gallop by Charles Williams arranged by K. Veen
Recorded at Sarah Markham's 40th Birthday concert, St Paul's Hall, Huddersfield, 24th April 2010

As well as performances throughout the UK, The Sax Family performed in Bangkok, Prague, Holland, Hong Kong and China. In September 2010 - February 2011, they were Artists in Residence at Haileybury College, Hertfordshire, which included giving workshops, running composition competitions and numerous concerts.

Contribution to their ongoing popularity results from the consistent viewing of the Crazy Rag clip on YouTube with over 88,000 hits to date.

Future plans include recording Devil's Gallop for BBC Radio 3's Light Fantastic festival, an appearance at the 2012 Floriade Expo, Holland, and a collaborative concert in Bournville with a Travelling Carillon.

The Instruments

The saxophone family of instruments consists of saxophones of all shapes and sizes ranging from the tiny Soprillo through to the huge contrabass saxophone. Click on each instrument to find out more:

Soprillo

Soprillo Saxophone

The Soprillo saxophone is one of the newest members of the saxophone family, and one of the rarest (only a few saxophonists in the UK possess one)! It regularly features in the choir.

Pitched in Bb, one octave above a soprano saxophone, the Soprillo is the highest-pitched saxophone ever known!

Learn more at: Soprillo.com

Sopranino

Sopranino Saxophone

The Sopranino saxophone, also affectionately known as the "nino", sounds in Eb, one octave above an alto saxophone.

Falling between the soprillo and soprano saxophones, it is rarely heard other than in saxophone ensembles, new contemporary music and the occasional orchestral piece (such as Ravel's orchestral "Bolero").

Soprano

Soprano Saxophone

Most sopranos are straight, with a slight bend in the neck and appear to the layman like a golden clarinet. Curved sopranos are less common and look like miniature altos.

Despite its light weight, it is generally accepted as being a difficult saxophone to learn and master and is not recommended for beginners. The soprano is, however, a great deal of fun to play and is commonly used in jazz or as a solo classical instrument.

It is a Bb instrument sounding a major second below concert pitch.

Alto

Alto Saxophone

The alto is the “average” sized saxophone and generally the most recommended instrument for those just starting out due to its comfortable size and shape.

It is very versatile and is commonly used in jazz, big bands and saxophone quartets. There is also a good amount of classical repertoire available for the alto, including works by Glazunov, Ibert and Debussy.

The alto is an Eb transposing instrument, in that when a written C is played, the note sounds as Eb (a sixth below).

Tenor

Tenor Saxophone

The tenor saxophone is slightly larger than the alto and is also popular with adult beginners. The tenor is usually personified as a "jazz" or “rock and roll” saxophone, even though there are some applications in classical music. It is also a standard member of a sax quartet.

The tenor is a Bb transposing instrument, in that when a written C is played, the note sounds as Bb (a ninth below).

Baritone

Baritone Saxophone

The baritone saxophone is the largest of the "regular" saxophone family and comes in two configurations: one with a range to low A and one with a range to low Bb.

The Baritone plays the bass role in a saxophone quartet or in the sax section of a Big Band. It is also used as a solo jazz instrument, made famous by players such as Gerry Mulligan.

It is an Eb instrument and sounds an octave lower than the alto.

Bass

Bass Saxophone

It has been said that the bass saxophone is truly the Diva of musical instruments. Its size and rarity means that wherever it chooses to find itself it will always be the centre of attention - if only because it's so large you can't possibly miss it!

It is the largest sax you will see in the choir (but not the lowest!). It is a Bb instrument and sounds an octave below the tenor.

Visit the bass sax manufacturer: Benedikt Eppelsheim Wind Instruments

Tubax (contrabass)

'Tubax' Contrabass Saxophone

The tubax is a newcomer to the sax family and is a type of contrabass. It has been specially designed to be compact, has a narrow bore and uses a baritone sax mouthpiece.

It sounds a whole octave below the baritone, and adds a unique richness to the bass section of the choir.

Contrabass

Contrabass Saxophone

The contrabass saxophone is the biggest in the world! Similar to the tubax, it is a whole octave below the baritone, although it is not as compact.

It uses a bass saxophone mouthpiece and is over 70 inches long! The contrabass is truly a rare sight, and adds to an already amazing range in the choir.

Visit the contrabass sax manufacturer: Benedikt Eppelsheim Wind Instruments

The Repertoire

Selections from The National Saxophone Choir's current repertoire is listed below. Titles marked* are available in sheet music (various instrumentation) from Saxtet Publications. Titles marked CD are included on one of the NSC's CD's 'Sax to the Max!' or 'Sax Circus'.

Classical Arrangements

Jazz/Folk/Light

Contemporary

Sax Family

The Soloists

The choir has been very fortunate to perform with some highly acclaimed soloists who previously have given their time and expertise to promote The National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain.

Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon

Born in Israel, Gilad Atzmon has recorded and performed with such as Ian Dury, Robbie Williams, Sinead O'Connor and Paul McCartney. As a bandleader and reed player he has been amazing his listeners with his powerful personal style that combines great bebop artistry and Middle-Eastern roots in a sophisticated, sometimes ironical manner. Influenced by Cannonball Adderley's powerful approach on the sax, Gilad's live performances are simply breathtaking and overwhelming.

View Gilad's website

Arno Bornkamp

Arno Bornkamp

Arno Bornkamp is the prototype of the modern virtuoso, feeling equally at home in the traditional as well as in contemporary repertoire. Since his solo debut in 1982 in Rome, Bornkamp has received many invitations as soloist in compositions by Alexander Glazunow, Darius Milhaud, Frank Martin, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Claude Debussy. Bornkamp’s activities have brought him all around Europe, as well as to the USA, Japan and other far eastern countries. Bornkamp also gives many recitals with pianist Ivo Janssen and is a member of the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet.

Sarah Field

Sarah Field

Sarah Field studied trumpet and saxophone at the Royal Northern College of Music and Royal Academy of Music, London. She graduated with professional performance diplomas in both woodwind and brass, the only musician ever to do so. In the year 2000, Sarah won both the Royal Overseas League Competition Main Solo Award for Woodwind and Brass and the Making Music Award for Young Concert Artists. These accolades brought Sarah into the limelight, leading to broadcasts on BBC Radio 2, Classic FM and BBC Radio 3's "In Tune" which she now broadcasts regularly on.

Performing regularly on a wide range of instruments Sarah has appeared as concerto soloist with the BBC Concert Orchestra with Christopher Warren-Green, RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Kwa Zulu Natal Philharmonic with Eno Shao and has performed dual concerto performances (sax and trumpet) with the Royal College of Music String Band.

Visit Sarah's website

Kevin Ling

Kevin Ling

Graduated at the Trinity College of Music, Hong Kong saxophonist Kevin Ling studied saxophone and clarinet with Gerard McChrystal, Melanie Henry and Richard Addison. He is one of the founders of the Hong Kong Saxophone Quartet, the first professional saxophone quartet ever in Hong Kong. Kevin is one of the Assistant Music Officers at the Hong Kong Music Office, where he works as a performer, a teacher and a conductor.

Gerard McChrystal

Gerard McChrystal

International recording artist and soloist Gerard McChrystal is Professor of Saxophone at Trinity College of Music, London and tutor at The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff. He is constantly in demand as a soloist with some of the world's leading orchestras, and was the first person from UK/Ireland to be invited to give a concerto performance at the 2003 World Saxophone Congress.

Visit Gerard's website

Sue McKenzie

Sue McKenzie

A graduate of the Royal College of Music, Sue is a past winner of the British Clarinet and Saxophone Society Young Performers' Competition and has studied with Kyle Horch, Richard Ingham and Eugene Rousseau. Sue has regularly been an invited solo recitalist at the British Saxophone Congress and has performed on Yehudi Menuhin’s “Live Music Now!” scheme. She has given UK premiers of many new works and has performed in Japan, USA, Denmark and at the World Saxophone Congress in Minneapolis (2003).

As well as being the leader of the Scottish Saxophone Ensemble, Sue performs with her own band "mckenzie medboe", with Rumba Caliente, Salsa Celtica and has a saxophone/piano duo with Ingrid Sawers. As one of Scotland’s leading contemporary saxophonists she is also in demand as an educationalist. Sue teaches saxophone at St Mary’s Music School, St. Andrews University and Napier University.

Northern Saxophone Quartet

Northern Saxophone Quartet

The Northern Saxophone Quartet celebrated its 25 anniversary in 2005 and maintains its commitment to presenting exciting programmes of music ranging from mediaeval to jazz and contemporary music. The quartet has been featured on radio and television and gives recitals throughout Britain. In recent years they have performed in the USA, Japan, Italy, Finland, Spain and Canada. They were guest recitalists and clinicians at the New England Saxophone Symposium, Massachusetts in 1993, and gave recitals and masterclasses in Georgia, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio in 1997.

Recent albums include Second Revolution (including music by Monteverdi and Michael Brecker), nsq – the definitive Ashton collection (featuring arrangements and originals by Don Ashton) and The Cowles Collection.

Simon Stewart

Simon Stewart

Simon studied saxophone and clarinet at the Royal College of Music where he formed Saxploitation, now the acclaimed Paragon Saxophone Quartet. As their soprano player, he has performed throughout the UK and Europe and is heavily involved in their educational work, as well as pursuing a career as freelance performer, session musician and teacher.

Snake Davis

Snake Davis

Saxophonist Snake Davis is widely known for his solos on tracks such as Lisa Stansfield's "Change", M-People's "Search For A Hero" and "Moving On Up" and Take That's "A Million Love Songs". He has worked with artists ranging from James Brown to Paul McCartney, The Eurythmics to Ray Charles – having recorded on more than 400 tracks in recent years for over 60 artists and played live with dozens more.

Snake is in demand across the world; playing the saxophone family as well as flutes, whistles and the ancient Japanese wind instrument, the Shakuhachi. A highly talented player, he is also a musical director (Heather Small and M-People), a writer, an arranger, bandleader, and sought after for his work in education. Snake is currently promoting his 8th album "Talking Bird". As always, his love of soul world and jazz music comes through in his highly melodic playing.

View Snake Davis' website

Andy Tweed

Andy Tweed

Composer, performer and teacher Andy Tweed has worked with the RSC and many major symphony orchestras and repertory companies. Well known as a member of Saxtet, he also teaches at Birmingham Conservatoire and Guildhall Junior School.

Lord Professor Robert Winston

Robert Winston

Lord Professor Robert Winston is a renowned human fertility expert, life-peer and broadcaster. He is well-known for presenting many BBC television series, including Superhuman, The Secret Life of Twins, Child of Our Time, Human Instinct, Walking with Cavemen and the BAFTA award-winning The Human Body.

Robert featured in the hit BBC series Play it Again in which celebrities learnt a musical instrument. He decided to learn the saxophone, and as part of his training, he was filmed rehearsing and performing with the choir. The programme was broadcast in April 2007.

Visit Robert's website

The Conductors

The choir has been priviliged to work with some of the country's top saxophone players and music educators, and are extremely grateful to all those who have given their time so willingly.

Read more about each guest conductor below:

Nigel Wood (Musical Director)

Nigel studied at Birmingham Conservatoire and later became one of its first teachers of saxophone. While he was still a student he founded the group Saxtet, which encouraged him to compose, arrange and later to publish new music for saxophones, resulting in the birth of Saxtet Publications.

Nigel Wood

SXP, as it is known, was established with the primary objective of developing and promoting new music for saxophone and is now internationally recognized as a leading specialist in the field. Many of its titles appear on exam syllabuses and it supplies most of the music used by the choir. It has also become the main publisher of Nigel’s works, which have been performed and broadcast worldwide by leading figures such as John Harle and Gerard McChrystal.

Although publishing has occupied much of Nigel’s time until recently, the formation of the choir has inspired him to turn more attention to composing again, and specifically to concentrate on writing for the neglected genre of large-scale sax ensembles.

Keith Allen

Keith Allen

Keith Allen was born and educated in London. Following his studies in several prestigious music conservatoires, he held various posts with Birmingham Education Department, finally from 1987 to 1992 being the Head of Music Service for the city. Keith is an experienced conductor and adjudicator who has been working with a wide range of orchestras, choirs and youth ensembles for a number of years. He has also been responsible for many premiere performances by British, American and European composers including Malcolm Arnold, Benjamin Britten, Philip Sparke, and Kit Turnbull, both in this country and abroad, and has worked with a number of distinguished international soloists.

Keith Allen is a Consultant Editor for Faber Music Ltd., Artistic Director of the National Concert Band Festival, Festival Manager of the 2004 London International Wind Band Festival and is a member of the National Executive of BASBWE. At the end of 2001, he spent a month conducting and promoting British music in Australia and will be returning to the USA in December 2003 to promote British music at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, and also in May 2004 to conduct British repertoire in Minnesota, USA.

Keiron Anderson

Keiron Anderson was born in Aberdeen and studied trumpet and keyboard at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Whilst at the RNCM he started both a light orchestra and big band, and apart from playing in leading orchestras has become one of the most experienced and innovative conductors of wind groups in the country.

Keiron Anderson

In 1994 Keiron took over from Frank Renton as musical director of the Yorkshire Wind Orchestra and has steadily brought it to its present level of excellence. He also includes the musical direction of the outstanding Harlequin Brass ensemble based in Sheffield and more recently has taken the Phoenix Concert Band in Leeds under his wing. He has also conducted one of his own works with the the choir at the Edinburgh Festival.

Keiron is a firm believer in the accessibility of all the music played under his direction even though some of it may be unfamiliar to the audiences. He is a consummate all-round musician experienced as a teacher, being head of Music at Ilkley Grammar school, musical director, performer, adjudicator and composer. All his efforts with his students, ensembles and audiences go to, in his own words "... no matter what else we do, we must get to the emotional content of the music and bring it to life for the audience ..."

Visit Keiron's website

John Robert Brown

John Robert Brown

John is a past chairman of the Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain and a prolific author and composer. John has recently completed 'A Concise History of Jazz' for Mel Bay. His arrangement of The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba was performed by the Fairer Sax in the John Schlesinger film 'Madame Sousatzka'.

Rob Buckland

Rob Buckland is internationally acclaimed as one of the leading saxophonists of his generation. Appearing as concerto and recital soloist, in duos with pianist Peter Lawson and percussionist Simone Rebello, and with the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, Rob performs throughout the UK, Europe and Japan.

Rob Buckland

Alongside his busy performing schedule, Rob is Professor of Saxophone at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where, along with Apollo colleague Andy Scott, he has established what is regarded by many as the country's leading saxophone programme.

Visit Rob's website

Christian Forshaw

Christian Forshaw graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 1995 with a first class degree. He then began working with some of the world’s finest ensembles including the London Sinfonietta, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Philharmonia Orchestra. He has toured extensively with smaller ensembles including the Michael Nyman Band, The Endymion Ensemble, Icebreaker and the Composers Ensemble.

Christian Forshaw

Christian is a member of the prestigious Notes Inégales directed by Peter Wiegold and was featured as soloist with the group in 2005 playing Donatoni's Hot. He has also made solo appearances with the Scottish Ensemble giving several critically acclaimed performances of Richard Rodney Bennett's Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Strings and composed and performed in his chart-topping CD, Sanctuary.

Visit Christian's website

Chris Gumbley

Chris Gumbley

Currently a tutor at Birmingham Conservatoire and also lectures in Jazz Composition at Birmingham University. He has produced a wide range of educational wind music for saxophone and clarinet. In addition to this composing career, Chris was a member of Saxtet between 1993-1998 and is in regular demand as a freelance player.

Read more at Saxtet Publications

John Harle

John Harle's name is synonymous with new and innovative musical ideas and projects associated with the saxophone. He is known for both his pioneering work as a saxophonist in concert halls and for his bold compositions; sensitively linking aspects of jazz, rock, classical music, electronics and opera.

John Harle

John has created over 30 concert works and 40 film and television scores in addition to solo recordings of concerti by Debussy, Villa-Lobos and Glazunov (which have sold over 200,000 copies to date), plus interpretations of over 25 concerti written for his remarkable saxophone tone.

Harle has also been nominated for a variety of awards. He has won a Royal Television Society award (RTS) for his theme to BBC 1's Silent Witness, and received nominations for Defense of the Realm and Summer in the Suburbs.

Visit John's website

Kyle Horch

Kyle Horch

Born in 1964, Kyle Horch is one of Britain's leading saxophonists. After studying at Northwestern University (Chicago) with Frederick Hemke and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London) with Stephen Trier, he was a prizewinner at numerous young artist competitions in Britain, the USA, and Europe. He made his London debut in 1989 on the Park Lane Group series. Since then he has performed as a soloist at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, British and World Saxophone Congresses, and numerous other venues in this country and abroad.

His two CD recordings on the Clarinet Classics label, ChamberSax and AngloSax, have received international praise from reviewers. He has also recorded John Carmichael's Aria and Finale for ABC Classics, and the 2006-7 Grade 8 Saxophone Syllabus for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Kyle's work as a freelance musician has involved him in performing across a wide range of orchestral, contemporary, chamber, and light music. He has worked with many well-known ensembles including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Opera House, Philharmonia Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, London Musici, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Mistral and Paragon Saxophone Quartets, Carlos Bonell Ensemble, and Piccadilly Dance Orchestra. He is saxophone professor at the Royal College of Music in London, and has given masterclasses in Britain, Holland, Norway, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Australia, and the USA.

Richard Ingham

Richard Ingham

Richard is an international saxophone soloist and has broadcast and recorded many items of the solo saxophone repertoire. He has presented masterclasses in conservatoires in the UK and abroad, and in his capacity as a jazz educator gives many workshops throughout the country. He is also a composer, and editor of the critically acclaimed Cambridge Companion to the Saxophone. Richard's role as the choir's Principal Guest Conductor is part-funded by the University of St Andrews, where he is Visiting Professor of Music.

Gerard McChrystal

Gerard McChrystal

International recording artist and soloist Gerard McChrystal is Professor of Saxophone at Trinity College of Music, London and tutor at The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff. He is constantly in demand as a soloist with some of the world's leading orchestras, and was the first person from UK/Ireland to be invited to give a concerto performance at the 2003 World Saxophone Congress.

Visit Gerard's website

Sarah Markham

Sarah Markham

Sarah is a member of the internationally renowned Adelphi Saxophone Quartet, and is also in great demand as a soloist and freelance player. She also teaches at the junior department of the Royal College of Music and at the University of Huddersfield.

Ben Palmer

Ben Palmer

Ben graduated in 2003 with first class honours from Birmingham University, where he was also awarded an MPhil in composition. After studies at the Royal Academy of Music he is now pursuing a busy career as a freelance conductor. He is Musical Director of the Orchestra of St Paul's (Covent Garden), South West Essex Choir and Manor Light Opera, and regularly guest conducts ensembles such as Cheltenham Symphony Orchestra, Camden Chamber Orchestra and Worcestershire Symphony Orchestra.

Alistair Parnell

Alistair Parnell

A graduate of the Royal College of Music, Alistair currently plays saxophone with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the Tribune Saxophone Octet, the Equinox Sax Ensemble, the Northern Sax Quartet and is guest conductor of the Nottingham Symphonic Wind Orchestra.

He runs a very successful private teaching business in Nottingham and is visiting Scholar of saxophone for Nottingham University. He is in demand as an accompanist and has adjudicated for the Royal College of Music, the Birmingham Conservatoire and abroad. He has a growing audience for his innovative recitals, and has released two solo albums.

Visit Alistair's website

Andy Scott

Andy Scott

Andy is a freelance professional saxophonist, composer and tutor of saxophone at the Royal Northern College of Music. He is also a member of the internationally acclaimed Apollo Saxophone Quartet and founder of the saxophone ensemble Sax Assault.

Visit Andy's website

Andy Tweed

Andy Tweed

Composer, performer and teacher Andy Tweed has worked with the RSC and many major symphony orchestras and repertory companies. Well known as a member of Saxtet, he also teaches at Birmingham Conservatoire and Guildhall Junior School.

Karl Veen

Karl Veen

Karl Veen studied the saxophone with Ed Bogaard. He studied in Groningen, Holland and did the HaFaFra course in addition to studying flute. In the 70's and 80's Karl taught the saxophone in the conservatoire of Enschede, Groningen and Leeuwarden.

Karl founded The Saxofoonorkest, The Saxophone Orchestra in 1990. He wanted to show the versatility of the saxophone.

Nowadays Karl is a music teacher at the School of Music in Holland. In the past he has held many workshops and study days for saxophone and ensembles. He hopes to continue these activities long into the future.

Karl arranges every type of music for saxophones, be it 2 saxophones or 268 saxophones. Karl also possesses many saxophones, for example the sub-contrabass tubax. He is a respected expert in the Saxophone World.

Listen to the choir

Explore the sound of a Saxophone Choir by listening to some brief snippets:

Magic Flute Overture

Mozart arr. N. Wood
Featured on the Sax Circus CD.

Sax Circus

Roger May
Featured on the Sax Circus CD.

Oblivion

Piazzolla arr. K. Veen
Featured on the Sax Circus CD.

Cuban Overture

Gershwin arr. C. Tomsett
Featured on the Sax Circus CD.

Big Red

Andy Scott
Featured on the Sax to the Max CD.

Egloga

R.A. Moulds, arr. Nigel Wood
Featured on the Sax to the Max CD.

Concerto

Richard Payne
Featuring Catherine Evison, alto as soloist on the Sax to the Max CD.

Nimrod

Elgar, arr. Jen Ashley
Featured on the Sax to the Max CD.

Choir Recordings

Sax Circus CD

Sax Circus CD

"An excellent production. Recommended" Introduced by that most engaging item of musical theatre the Magic Flute Overture, this fast-moving show from the NSC sax family conjures up all the atmosphere of big top thrills in the title track, plus high-energy dance and Boogie, colour from Spain and America and all kinds of spectacle, both awesome (Bolero) and camp (Bohemian Rhapsody). There is delicacy and pathos too amidst the razzle-dazzle - a 12-track roller coaster ride of the familiar and unexpected.

Sax to the Max CD

Sax to the Max CD

The NSC's Sax to the Max CD features many of the choir's favourite pieces, performed at the Edinburgh Fringe 2006. It also includes Richard Payne's gripping Concerto, specially arranged for the Choir. The CD has now sold out but a digital version of this CD is available from CDBaby.

Contact Nigel Wood

If you want to contact Nigel regarding the National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain, fill in the form below:

What's the last letter of the word 'Saxtet'?

The National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain (NSC) is a pioneering ensemble of forty talented players who aim to encourage new writing for the sax and introduce it to new audiences. Its unique line-up of eight saxes (from the miniscule soprillo to the majestic tubax) is a feature which has generated huge interest in the saxophone world and attracts a fascinated public.

SXP

The NSC's musical director and conductor is Nigel Wood, who recruited the choir's first members in 2002 through Saxtet Publications' website. SXP has supported the choir ever since by providing music and publicity, but its musical contribution goes well beyond the supply of scores: with its unique instrumentation and multiple parts (16 for principals alone) there is no published repertoire for the sax choir, so all its music is composed or arranged specifically for it - an enormously demanding and time-consuming process managed single-handedly by Nigel, and effectively subsidized by SXP.

Summer Saxophone Spectacular - NSC course

Summer Sax Spectacular!

It's obvious from the popularity of our sax ensemble music that more and more of you are getting together to play in groups of all shapes and sizes. We're therefore delighted to announce that we'll be sponsoring the first residential course presented by the National Saxophone Choir, running between Thursday 12th and Sunday 15th August 2010 in Bournville, Birmingham.

Course tutors (Nigel Wood, Richard Ingham, Andy Scott, Gerard McChrystal and NSC members) are all prominent UK players and teachers actively involved in high profile ensembles. Whatever your standard, and whether you come as an individual or part of a group, you will be able to rehearse and perform with the NSC, enhance your performance skills, learn new repertoire, and have the chance to try out the more extreme saxes such as the soprillo or contrabass. As an added incentive all hard copy Saxtet Publications titles offered there will be half price.

7 Wonders Premiere

The National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain's 7 Wonders project is due to premiere at the CBSO Centre on Friday 20th March, and is shaping up to be an event not to be missed! This spectacular new work, based around the seven wonders of the modern world, is made of seven short movements each by a different composer and features a different saxophone solo (Soprillo down to bass). The work, which has been sponsored by the PRS Foundation and the Clarinet and Saxophone Society, as well as Saxtet Publications, features a number our composers: Nigel Wood (Petra), Richard Ingham (Taj Mahal), Cat Evison (The Great Wall of China) and Roger May (The Colosseum). A selection of the Wonders will be published for saxophone ensemble later in the year.

NSC Series update

We are delighted to announce the publication of Jenny Ashley's much sought after arrangements of Elgar's Nimrod. As part of the NSC Series, Nimrod is now available in E-Edition for saxophone octet and 12-piece saxophone ensemble, and will soon be published for quartet too. Jenny joins existing NSC Series composer Cat Evison – whose Slip Reel will soon be available for saxophone quartet and octet, as well as the recently published saxophone and piano version.

Saxtet Publications is a proud sponsor of the National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain, and our creation of the NSC series encourages new composers to write for the group by publishing their works. This in turn allows us to provide a wide variety of original music for our customers. If you would like to help us support the NSC, you can do absolutely free by doing your online christmas shopping through their fundappeal webshop: www.fundappeal.com/saxchoir. A small percentage of each purchase you make will be donated to the NSC (registered charity number 1125193), at no extra cost to you. Alternatively, if you're looking for small but perfectly formed stocking fillers you could also buy Soprillogy, as £2 from every sale goes to the NSC too!

2007 overview; onwards and upwards

NSC in concert

"A fabulous performance"... "excellent and brilliant concert"... "outstanding skill"... "full of passion" – hosts of the NSC on its Far East tour were generous in acknowledging the impression made by the choir, hailing the opportunities for cultural exchange it generated, as well as the quality of playing.

After this kind of triumph, a second CD and a television appearance with Lord Robert Winston all in the bag before Spring was out, there was a danger that the remainder of the 2007 season could fall rather flat. In fact, the choir's activities and ambitions have grown exponentially:

On the domestic front its educational programmes were developed in workshop-and-concert sessions in Grimsby (March) and Blackburn (November), and there are plans to expand this kind of activity further. An appearance at Birmingham ArtsFest (September) has become almost a standard (though never routine) engagement, and there was a very successful appearance in Market Harborough (October) directed by Keith Allen, a busy conductor/adjudicator and Musical Director of Birmingham Symphonic Winds. The temporary loss of Nigel's soprillo in the post meant that its distinctive timbres were missing for this concert, a profound disappointment to everyone other than his immediate neighbours in the choir.

Visits by "saxperts" (the elite of the UK saxophone community) are a continuing feature of monthly rehearsals. In January it was Christian Foreshaw, professor of saxophone at the Guildhall School of Music, a calming influence and welcome distraction during the annual auditions, and in June, Alistair Parnell arrived with his Akai EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) and his own Nottingham-based sax ensemble, Equinox, to run an information and activity-packed day. Kyle Horch, professor of saxophone at the Royal College of Music, will round off the saxpert season with his visit in December.

On the personnel front, Richard Ingham's role as energizing principle guest conductor - and ongoing saxpert – has been a major morale boost. Appearing with the choir in China, he has conducted at all subsequent concerts except Market Harborough and has demonstrated his long-term commitment to the choir by agreeing to become a trustee when the NSC becomes a charity, a move intended to secure its future and help resolve the vexed question of funding.

Given all this activity and exposure, it's not surprising that the choir's reputation continues to grow, attracting so many new players that a sister group has been established, the National Saxophone Ensemble. Rehearsals are conducted in parallel to the NSC's and the NSE will benefit from the same saxpert visits; it will run on the same co-operative ethos as the choir, but will arrange its own concerts and will have special responsibility for new music – definitely a force to be reckoned with.

With an intensive rehearsal weekend in Brittany and the Prague Fringe Festival already on the cards for 2008, there's no danger that this year's momentum will be allowed to falter, and there are now dates in the diary as far ahead as Autumn 2009. First fixture to look out for is a concert at Gillingham, Kent, on Saturday 29th March, to be conducted by John Harle, who, together with Lord Robert Winston, have agreed to become patrons of the new NSC charity - funds may be an ongoing challenge, but generous support has never been an issue.

Alongside all this blowing and ambition the creativity at the heart of the choir is blossoming too, and is reflected in a steady stream of imaginative arrangements from choir members.

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