Arvay/Younglove. A little perspective.
It’s been a few weeks since I last posted. And life has been happening really fast lately. I mostly recently came off a week-long tour.
First, I found out my wife and I are having a baby! We’re super excited for our new addition to arrive in November! So as you can imagine, there’s been a lot going on with planning, doctor’s visits, and the like.
How we started.
Also, I hit the road for a 7-day journey with my great friend and saxophone-playing duo partner, Matt Younglove. Matt recently completed completed his doctorate in Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University (Ohio). He’s also the Athletic Band Director and Lecturer of Saxophone at Wayne State University (Detroit, MI.).
Matt and I have played together for years. It started in 2009 with our senior recitals at the University of South Carolina (USC). We came together to play USC professor John Fitz Rogers‘ Release for marimba and saxophone. Our professors, Scott Herring and Cliff Leaman— known as the Rosewind Duo — had been touring around this and other pieces. So Matt and I decided to give it a go, as well.
Time passed. Matt went to Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) for a masters. I went to Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO) for a masters. Matt was part of a summer sax camp in Columbia, SC where I grew up. We reunited to play Reginald Bain‘s Luminescent for marimba and sax at one of the camps.
Matt went to Bowling Green State for a DMA. I went to the University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY) for a DMA. We both had recitals to perform as part of degree requirements. We decided to join forces and make the duo a “thing”. We started exploring new works, touring, and commissioning new composers.
We commissioned Wet Ink Ensemble member and NYC-based composer Eric Wubbels to write his fabulous piece Axamer Folio for drumset and sax. Matt also go us playing Alex Mincek‘s– another Wet Ink member and composer — Nucleus for drumset and sax.
Quickly, we started building a bit of a repertoire. We partnered these two pieces with John Cage’s 5^4, Iannis Xenakis’ Dmaathen, and Fitz Rogers’ Release.
The performances were a hit! Students loved the works and wanted to know more about what was going on compositionally. They also wanted to know how we tac
kled certain technically difficult areas. I’m sure Matt got a lot of questions on Alex Mincek’s Ali for solo sax. Matt played Ali solo on our duo recitals. Nick Zoulek at Whitewater and Sumner Truex at Lawrence were incredibly gracious hosts and even better hangs. These guys are the really deal and I know Matt and I absolutely appreciate the hospitality.
While on campus, we gave some masterclasses and clinics. Matt gave some clinics on behalf of Vandoren. I gave timpani clinics that featured Steven Snowden‘s masterpiece I commissioned in 2016 for timpani and electronics, “The Taos Hum.” I also played the piece on our duo recitals.
Special thanks to Yamaha Corporation and Innovative Percussion for their tremendously gracious support of our clinic tour. And thanks to Dane Richeson, Tobie Wilkinson, and Keith Claeys for allowing me to use your gear.
When in Rome (or Wisconsin).
We hit up a lot of local eateries with local specialties. Of course, there were cheese curds. Lots of cheese curds. Burgers with special cheeses I’ve never of before.
We took in a Brewers vs. Cubs game in Milwaukee. Side note: pretty incredible seeing last year’s World Series players out there!
After about 1,200 miles traveled and passing countless cattle ranches, tour came to an end at Wayne State. We played Release on Matt’s faculty recital –which of course was fantastic.
Back home now to start recording the timpani parts for my upcoming timpani tuning and pedaling book. Looking to self-publish it here on this site in the coming months.