Taimur Sullivan is Associate Professor of Saxophone at Northwestern University, and a member of the acclaimed PRISM Quartet. His performances have taken him from the stages of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Knitting Factory, to engagements in Russia, China, England, Germany, and throughout Latin America. He has garnered critical praise as "outstanding...his melodies phrased as if this were an old and cherished classic, his virtuosity supreme" (New York Times), and as a player of "dazzling proficiency" (American Record Guide).
Mr. Sullivan has dedicated much of his career to promoting new repertoire for the saxophone, and has given the premieres of over 200 solo and chamber works by composers including William Bolcom, Alvin Lucier, Gavin Bryars, Libby Larsen, Gunther Schuller, Olga Neuwirth, John Harbison, Martin Bresnick, Donnacha Dennehy, and many others. He has also presented the American premieres of compositions by important European figures such as Gerard Grisey, Toshio Hosokawa, Philippe Hurel, Michael Finnissy, Bruno Mantovani, Giya Kancheli, and Jean-Claude Risset. In honor of his distinguished record of promoting and presenting new works for the saxophone, the New York-based arts-advocacy organization Meet The Composer named him one of eight "Soloist Champions" in the United States.
As a member of PRISM Quartet for 24 years, Sullivan has performed concertos with orchestras nationwide, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, and Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and has been invited to conducted residencies at the nation’s leading conservatories including the Curtis Institute of Music, Rice University, and Princeton University. Champions of new music, PRISM has commissioned over 200 works, many by internationally celebrated composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winners Julia Wolfe, William Bolcom, Jennifer Higdon, Zhou Long, and Bernard Rands; MacArthur “Genius” Award recipients Tyshawn Sorey, Bright Sheng and Miguel Zenón; Guggenheim Fellows William Albright, Martin Bresnick, Chen Yi, Lee Hyla, and Steven Mackey; and jazz masters Greg Osby, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Steve Lehman, and Dave Liebman.
From 2005-2016, Mr. Sullivan was the saxophone professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and from 2000-2005 was on the performance faculty at Columbia University. He appears on over 30 recordings, performs exclusively on Selmer saxophones and mouthpieces, and is a Silverstein Works endorsing artist.
Saxophonist Matthew Hess is an active performer, teacher, and repair technician. Based in Atlanta, Matthew maintains a large private saxophone studio in addition to his career as a saxophone repair technician and owner of Saxocentric. Matthew frequently presents masterclasses on saxophone pedagogy and saxophone repair topics throughout the Southeast.
In addition to performing with a variety of chamber music and community wind ensembles, Matthew has been a featured soloist with the UNCSA Graduate Percussion Ensemble, and as part of artist Alexander Lee's project, "The Tupapau Within" in New York City. Matthew has given solo performances throughout the Southeast as a participant in North American Saxophone Alliance regional conferences, and as a guest artist at various universities.
With a large private saxophone studio in northern metro Atlanta, many of Matthew’s students have participated and advanced in regional and state-wide competitions. Matthew has co-hosted and directed saxophone summer camps in the greater Atlanta area for the last several years and is dedicated to cultivating this concept in Georgia.
In 2012, Matthew began his instrument repair career as an apprentice and team member in the Sax ProShop of MusicMedic.com in Wilmington, NC. Quickly immersed in the world of saxophone repair, Matthew soon realized his extreme passion for a career in instrument repair. While at MusicMedic, Matthew learned the intricacies of high-end, meticulous saxophone repair, specializing in setup and a unique tuning and toning process. Today, Matthew continues to grow his own saxophone repair business, Saxocentric which is catered to collegiate and professional saxophonists across the country.
Matthew received a Bachelors in Music Education from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and a Masters in Saxophone Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Matthew’s teachers include Wildy Zumwalt, Timothy McAllister, Patrick Murphy, Christopher Creviston, and Taimur Sullivan. Matthew is a Selmer Paris endorsing artist and plays on Selmer Paris saxophones and mouthpieces exclusively.
Shawna Pennock has been described as “rich and powerful, yet lightly effervescent” (Classical Voice of North Carolina). Dr. Pennock is the Adjunct Professor of Saxophone at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. At UNLV, she teaches applied saxophone, music theory, woodwind pedagogy, and coaches chamber music. She recently earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Georgia. She holds a Master of Music degree and a Professional Artist certificate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a Bachelor’s of Music with an Education certificate from The University of Iowa. Her former teachers include Connie Frigo, Taimur Sullivan, Kenneth Tse, and Robin Ciccotelli.
She has won top prizes in competitions including 1st Prizes at the North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition, ENKÖR Chamber Music Competition, Southern Division of Music Teachers National Association Chamber Competition North Carolina MTNA Chamber Competition, University of Georgia Concerto Competition, and the North Carolina MTNA Young Artist Competition. She has performed across three continents in Panama, France, Hong Kong, Thailand, Russia, and the United States.
An advocate for contemporary music she has premiered over 20 works. She has worked with composers such as Joel Love, Al Thiesen, Sam Lipman, Corey Dundee, David Vess, Kathryn Koopman, Bruce Tippette, Aaron Jay Meyers, Owen Davis, K. Scott Eggert, Sally Wyche Cohen, and Stephen Medlar. Her debut solo CD Fledglings includes new works pedagogically conceived for saxophonists exploring extended techniques. She worked closely with the composers to incorporate extended techniques in ways that guided the saxophonist to properly execute each technique.
Pennock is currently the tenor saxophonist for the Dasch Quartet. Formed in 2013, Dasch Quartet has rapidly developed a reputation as one of the most exciting emerging chamber ensembles in the United States. Dasch is as proficient in the music of living composers as it is of those of the past. Their debut CD "Necessary Edges" a collection of romantic string transcriptions by Dvorak, Puccini, and Smetana, was described as "immaculate" and "exquisitely done and played" (Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain).
Atlanta-based saxophonist Brandyn Taylor is the saxophone instructor for the Atlanta Music Academy, and the saxophone section leader of the 116th United States Army Band. In addition to mentoring a thriving private studio of students from across the metropolitan region, he is an Artist Affiliate of saxophone at Georgia State University and is in demand as a clinician throughout the state.
Brandyn has performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Ballet, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Saxophone Quartet, Bent Frequency, Terminus Ensemble, and Chamber Cartel. Since 2012, he has been an active jazz and commercial recording artist in the Atlanta area, having been featured on singer-songwriter Ellis Paul's most recent album, "Chasing Beauty," as well as several commercial recordings with Brandon Bush of the band Sugarland. He made his Nashville recording debut in the summer of 2014 with the band RYE. Former students have been awarded top prizes/chairs in competitions across the state of Georgia and earned full-ride scholarships to study music at prestigious universities.
Brandyn holds degrees in music performance from Columbus State University and Georgia State University. His primary teachers include Dr. Jan Berry Baker, Dr. Alexander Pershounin, and additional studies with Dr. Frederick Hemke, Joseph Lulloff , and Mace Hibbard. Brandyn is a Vandoren Regional Artist and a Conn-Selmer performing artist.