Raschèr Saxophone Quartet
The Raschèr Saxophone Quartet members have been called “uncrowned kings of the saxophone world” by the Wiener Zeitung. And in the words of a critic from Die Welt, “if there were an Olympic category for virtuoso wind playing, the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet from the USA would certainly win a gold medal”. The Raschèr Saxophone Quartet has been a constant presence in the major concert halls of the United States, Asia, and Europe since its founding in 1969. It represents the continuation of a tradition begun in the 1930s by Sigurd Raschèr, who was a pioneer of classical saxophone playing as well as the the quartet’s founder. He inspired many composers to write pieces for him, and the quartet he founded has also been the dedicatee of works by over 350 composers, including Aho, Berio, Bergman, Bialas, Dean, Donatoni, Franke, Glass, Gubaidulina, Kagel, Kancheli, as well as Fazil Say, Lera Auerbach and Iannis Xenakis.
Many composers have been deeply impressed by the superbly homogeneous tonal quality and virtuosity achieved by the quartet’s four members, as well as their dynamic interpretations of a wide range of music both new and old. Concerning their performances of Bach, the scholarly authority Ulrich Dibelius wrote: “The music attains a seraphic quality – as though organ sonorities have been combined with the sound of a string quartet”.
A large number of composers have been intrigued by the idea of combining the sound of the Raschèrs with an orchestra. To date, there have been more than 40 new works for saxophone quartet and orchestra. These works have been performed by many outstanding ensembles including broadcasting orchestras from the BBC, RAI, MDR, WDR, and SWR. The list of orchestras also boasts the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, and the Hong Kong, Taipei, and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras.
Christine Rall, soprano saxophone
Elliot Riley, alto saxophone
Andreas van Zoelen, tenor saxophone
Kenneth Coon, baritone saxophone