Composer Matthew Orlovich with Barry Cockcroft

I have just finished a fantastic weekend premiering a new concerto ‘Flying Colours’ by Australian composer Matthew Orlovich.

The US navy band is perhaps the finest concert band in the world and it was fantastic to be able to work with such an amazing group of musicians.

The event was the 35th International Saxophone Symposium and we had about 2,000 in the audience for the concert. Under the fine baton of Commanding Officer Captain Brian Walden, the concert began with the Glinka Overture to Russlan & Ludmilla. I was the first soloist and I had a great time performing Matthew’s new piece. As an encore I performed my own original composition ‘Rock Me‘ which was a lot of fun to play for such a large enthusiastic audience. Afterwards I watched from sidestage as Chien-Kwan Lin performed superbly the first two movements the David Maslanka Concerto.

After interval Senior Chief Musician Tim Roberts performed Demersseman’s Fantasie on an Original Theme and then immediately switched to his Navy band saxophone section quartet to perform the excellent Hoedown by Will Gregory. The final concerto for the evening featured Brandford Marsalis performing Jacob ter Veldhuis‘ ‘Tallahatchee’ Concerto. We all finished with a rousing encore Sir Patrick, written by French Saxophonist Philippe Geiss.

Barry Cockcroft and Branford Marsalis rehearse with the US Navy Band.

I rehearsed for 25 minutes on the first day and then had 15 minutes sound check on the day of the concert. Rehearsing the encore piece with all four soloists and the Navy saxophones was lots of fun!

During the 2nd day of the Saxophone Symposium I performed a solo recital with Navy Band pianist Darrell Partin. We played Matthew Orlovich’s Crazy Logic, one of my favourite pieces and I then performed three of my own compositions including Black & Blue, Ku Ku and Beat Me. I managed to slip in 2 or 3 fantastic jokes that 2 or 3 of the audience members managed to understand! Thanks to Aaron Morneau and Zach Stern for playing in my masterclass that afternoon.

It was a great few days, expertly organised by Tim Roberts and the US is fortunate to have such a well attended saxophone event each year. It was a pleasure to spend time with the founder of the Symposium – Dale Underwood, and can you believe that he has never missed one. I met so many enthusiastic players that I am sure that the next Symposium will be even bigger.

Many thanks to Rico (Reserve Reeds), Selmer and the Australia Council for the Arts for supporting my attendance at this major event.

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