The year 2009 marked the fortieth anniversary of the first World Saxophone Congress, held in Chicago. Originally conceived by Paul Brodie and quickly joined by Eugene Rousseau, six goals were established to help elevate the status of the saxophone. The goals included the commission and performance of new repertoire, the presentation of recital programs and clinics, and the establishment of methods of communication among saxophonists. The past fourteen Congresses have succeeded in fostering the creation of hundreds of new compositions for the saxophone in a wide range of genres. Each Congress has offered outstanding performances and invaluable clinics and master classes by the leading performers and teachers of our instrument.
The Congress has expanded from a one-day gathering in 1969 to the present five-day event. The past forty+ years have seen a tremendous growth in the enthusiasm for our instrument as evidenced by the many gifted young artists who have performed at the Congresses. Congresses have been held in the United States, Canada, France, England, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, Slovenia and Thailand.
Perhaps the most important aspect of these gatherings is the spirit of camaraderie present at each Congress. The performances have often been brilliant and the music remarkable, but for many an equally important aspect of these meetings is the opportunity to meet with old friends and to make new ones. The willingness of colleagues to discuss their experiences and share their insights has made each Congress extraordinary.
The World Saxophone Congress presents an opportunity to meet saxophonists from many countries, to attend clinics and lectures, and to listen to various concerts and performances by saxophone soloists, chamber ensembles, jazz ensembles, wind ensembles, and symphony orchestras. The 17th World Saxophone Congress will be hosted in 2015 by Philippe Geiss in Strasbourg France. As the world’s largest gathering of professional, amateur, and student saxophonists, WSC XVII will feature a full schedule of concerts and presentations and will include displays of instruments, music, and accessories by manufacturers and retailers from many countries.
Author of A Brief History of the World Saxophone Congress 1969-2000.