A little over a month following this experience, I still carry with me the energy and joy that I found studying at the Université Européenne de Saxophone in Gap, France. With several weeks to allow the dust to settle from this whirlwind of an experience, I'm happy to finally share my memories from this trip.
The two week long course brought together 50 young saxophonists from all over the world, including much of Europe, the US, and Asia, to study with some of the leading artists and pedagogues on our instrument. I had the pleasure to work with esteemed performers and long time personal heroes, including Claude Delangle, Vincent David, Joonatan Rautiola, Mariano Garcia, Christian Wirth, Vincent le Quang, and Arno Bornkamp. Each day involved a one-on-one lesson with the faculty on musical interpretation, performance techniques, and exercises for musicians' health. Any day not spent with a saxophone faculty member was for collaborating with the two marvelous pianists: Fumie Ito and Cyrille Lehn. Each lesson for me provided a fresh prospective not only on how to approach the instrument, but also new ways in how shaping connects to expressiveness!
Through out the course, on top of lessons and masterclasses, students and faculty came together to put together ensembles to perform within the community. As is pictured below, I had a great time performing with the Saxophone Ensemble lead by Vincent David! We performed multiple times and in different cities, each evening to very attentive and appreciative audiences! I also never imagined that I would one day perform outdoors in the middle of summer and NOT be sweating profusely!!
While I'm taking away many practical new insights on saxophone playing, what I cherish most about having had this opportunity is connecting with musicians from different parts of the world. It's overwhelming to think how music can be a bridge between people who come from different places, have unfamiliar backgrounds, and even speak different languages!! Returning from my travels, I bring with me a deeper respect for the art form and further enthusiasm for sharing music with all who are open to listening!