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Musicians to gather for Sigurd Raschèr’s conference
Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Musicians to gather for Sigurd Raschèr’s conference

Over 100 musicians from throughout the U.S. and Germany will meet at the Fredonia School of Music for the Sigurd Raschèr Centennial Celebration Conference on Nov. 10 and 11.

During the two-day event, SUNY Fredonia alumni as well as other guest musicians, many of whom were former students, will perform works and share memories of the brilliance of the late Sigurd Raschèr, who has been called the “most important classical saxophonist in the world.” Among the people expected to attend the celebration is Mr. Raschèr’s daughter, Carina.

Sigurd Raschèr


Among the many highlights of the weekend will be a concerto concert on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. in the Juliet J. Rosch Recital Hall with members of the Western New York Chamber Orchestra conducted by Steven Jarvi of the New World Symphony and featuring saxophone soloists Wildy Zumwalt of the School of Music, Fredonia alumnus Dr. Lawrence Gwozdz, Patrick Meighan and Harry White. The program will include concerti written specifically for Raschèr by Glazunov, Ibert, Larsson and von Borck. A special treat on Sunday, Nov. 11 will be a performance by the highly acclaimed Raschèr Saxophone Quartet from Germany at 10 a.m. in Rosch Recital Hall, to be followed by a saxophone orchestra reading at 11:30 a.m. in King Concert Hall. Tickets for the Saturday evening and Sunday 10 a.m. concert can be purchased at the SUNY Fredonia Central Ticket Office in the Williams Center or by calling (716) 673-3501 beginning Nov. 1, or can be purchased at the door. Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students with ID. The saxophone orchestra reading is free and the public is invited to attend.

For conference attendees, following a day full of performances and presentations by the saxophonists on Saturday, there will be a dinner in Café G in the Williams Center on campus, during which the musicians will share their special reminiscences of their friend, teacher and mentor.

In addition to Dr. Gwozdz of the University of Southern Mississippi, SUNY Fredonia alumni performing or participating in the conference include concert artist Linda Bangs, a former member of the Raschèr quartet; Michael Hernandez of Florida State University; Dr. Ronald Caravan of Syracuse University; Michael Ried of the Fredonia School of Music; Bruce Weinberger of Raschèr quartet, James Houlik of Duquesne University, and Brian Kauth. Fredonia Professor Emeritus Laurence Wyman will also participate in the conference. 

Mr. Raschèr, who started his musical journey as a clarinetist, switched to the saxophone and began what has been called an “unparalleled career as a concert artist on that instrument.” After fleeing Nazi Germany and settling in New York State, he resumed an active performance career in the U.S. In addition to countless musical performances with most of the major orchestras in the world, Mr. Raschèr presented thousands of recitals in cities, towns and on college campuses throughout the U.S. He also inspired hundreds of composers to create new works for the saxophone, single-handedly building an international repertoire for the instrument, including a work by SUNY Fredonia Professor Emeritus Walter Hartley to be performed during the conference. Throughout his life and until his death in 2001, Mr. Raschér was described as a dedicated teacher and role model for many American educators and an inspiration for young music teachers.

SUNY Fredonia’s Reed Library is also the home of Mr. Rascher’s archives. Dr. Zumwalt, who is also serving as coordinator of the conference, noted, “this is a unique collection that not only contains a wealth of information related to the saxophone, but also documents the life and career of one of the great musicians of the 20th century.” On Sunday, Nov. 11, at 8:30 a.m. in McEwen Hall Room 202, Fredonia archivist Jeremy Linden will discuss the great volume of materials deposited in the archive including manuscripts, scores, correspondence, recordings and instruments. A Raschèr Exhibit of archival materials will be in the tower lounge of Reed Library.

Fredonia alumni and friends have also established a fund through the Fredonia College Foundation, the Sigurd M. Raschèr Memorial Scholarship Endowment, for a scholarship to be awarded to outstanding saxophone students studying at SUNY Fredonia.

For more information on the conference, interested persons should contact Dr. Zumwalt at (716) 673-3134, or visit the conference website at

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