Donald Sinta Saxophone Quartet [Rebroadcast]

June 10, 2020, 12:15 pm

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(Photo: Sinta Quartet)

This is a rebroadcast from September 26, 2018.

2018 Fischoff Competition Gold Medal recipients, the Donald Sinta Quartet, appear once again on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Broadcasts. The bring with them a variety of music including an arrangement of a Ludwig van Beethoven string quartet by Dan Graser as well as works written for saxophone quartet by Chris Hass, David Biedenbender, and Marc Mellits for this performance.

Donald Sinta Quartet
Dan Graser, Soprano Saxophone
Zach Stern, Alto Saxophone
Joe Girard, Tenor Saxophone
Danny Hawthorne-Foss, Baritone Saxophone

The Donald Sinta Quartet, First Prize Winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, has earned praise from audiences and critics alike for its virtuosic performances, compelling recordings and distinctive repertoire.  Hailed as “…a tight-knit ensemble exploding with power and virtuosity and an un-concealable ambition to connect with its newly found listeners” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), the DSQ performs entirely from memory, which strengthens an already palpable connection with its audiences.  Named for its mentor, legendary University of Michigan Saxophone Professor Donald Sinta, the quartet’s competition successes in addition to Concert Artists Guild include Gold Medal at the Fischoff Competition, 1st Prize at the 2017 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition in Ann Arbor, the Grand Prize and 1st Place of the Coleman Chamber Competition, and 1st Prize in the North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition.

Select highlights of the DSQ’s busy 2018-19 schedule include:  The Fischoff Gold Medal tour throughout the Midwest in September and October, a concerto performance and residency at Grand Valley State University, a return to the Trust Performing Arts Center in Lancaster, and recitals in Canada for the Virtuosi Concerts in Winnipeg and Cecilian Chamber Series in Regina.

The DSQ gave the World Premiere of Bolcom’s own transcription of his Concerto Grosso with Concert Band, joining the University of Michigan Symphony Band in 2011 for performances at Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall, Beijing’s National Center for the Performing Arts and the Shanghai Conservatory.  The quartet’s subsequent concerto recording garnered praise: Audiophile Audition declared them “superb musicians” and American Record Guide called it “the highlight of the album.” Featured radio appearances include New York’s WQXR, Interlochen Public Radio, and regular performances on American Public Media’s Performance Today.

Recent career highlights include DSQ’s New York recital debut at Weill Recital Hall, Purdue University Convocations, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Chautauqua Institution, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire and in Michigan at the Great Lakes Music Festival the Detroit Institute of Arts.  Among the ensemble’s extensive educational outreach activities, they recently enjoyed extended residencies for Joplin Pro Musica (MO) and Anchorage Concert Association, both culminating with performances as part of their season series.

Featured international appearances include recitals in Strasbourg, France (for the 17th World Saxophone Congress), St. Andrews, Scotland (as part of the 16th World Saxophone Congress), Paris, France, Geneva and Montreux, Switzerland, Osaka, Japan, and Thessaloniki, Greece.

The Donald Sinta Quartet’s repertoire is diverse, ranging from commissions by today’s emerging composers to standards from the saxophone quartet literature to transcriptions by master composers such as Beethoven, Dvorak, Schubert and Shostakovich. As advocates of new music, the quartet runs the National Saxophone Quartet Composition Competition, which selects two new quartet works from up-and-coming composers.  The group has just recorded its debut CD, to be released during 2018-19 on CAG Records.

Founded and still based in Michigan, DSQ’s members are all Selmer-Paris Artists.


Molto Adagio “Heiliger Dankgesang” from String Quartet In A Minor, Op. 132, by Ludwig van Beethoven
arr. Dan Graser

Volcanic Ash, by Chris Hass

Lullaby from Cerulean, by David Biedenbender

Ex Machina, by Marc Mellits
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