The highly acclaimed Kenari Quartet is known for their "flat-out amazing" performances and "stunning virtuosity," transforming the perception of the saxophone. The quartet presents a meticulously crafted repertoire from classical to contemporary music, highlighting the instrument's remarkable versatility. The group has performed on many of the premiere chamber music series in the United States, including appearances at Chamber Music Northwest, the Grand Teton Music Festival, and Chamber Music Tulsa. The quartet advocates passionately for the music of living composers and has given world premieres of new works. They are committed to giving back to their communities, regularly performing and teaching at youth centers and grade schools around the country. By not only connecting with their audiences through song but also through physical movement, Kenari amplifies the standard concert experience with their striking visual communication and powerful stage presence.
Press Release - March 20, 2023
KENARI QUARTET WINS FISCHOFF’S 2023 ANN DIVINE EDUCATOR AWARD
Notre Dame, IN - The Fischoff National Chamber Music Association is delighted to announce that the Kenari Quartet has been selected as the winner of Fischoff’s 2023 Ann Divine Educator Award. This national award recognizes the educational outreach work of Fischoff Competition alumni who have demonstrated outstanding and imaginative programming for children and youth in the United States. It honors musicians who have established professional careers in chamber music, and have proven their ability to successfully build a career in both chamber music performance and educational outreach.
Kenari Quartet, comprised of Bob Eason (soprano saxophone), Kyle Baldwin (alto saxophone), Corey Dundee (tenor saxophone), and Steven Banks (baritone saxophone), is applauded for their “flat-out amazing” performances and “stunning virtuosity” (Cleveland Classical). The highly acclaimed Kenari Quartet delivers inspiring performances that transform the perception of the saxophone. The quartet aims to highlight the instrument’s remarkable versatility by presenting meticulously crafted repertoire from all periods of classical and contemporary music. The Kenari Quartet has found a home performing on many of the premiere chamber music series in the United States. Recent engagements include appearances at Chamber Music Northwest, the Grand Teton Music Festival, and Chamber Music Tulsa. For more than a decade Kenari has been committed to giving back to their communities performing engagement concerts for audiences of all ages. Their educational work for children includes workshops and masterclasses at universities, K-12 schools, youth centers and libraries. Recent residencies have reached hundreds of students at String Theory, San Antonio Chamber Music Society, Chamber Music Tulsa, “Out of the Bachs” at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, and as Protégé Project Artists at Chamber Music Northwest.
Formed in 2012 at Indiana University, the quartet’s name is derived from the Malay word kenari, which may be translated as “songbird.” Expanding on the age-old idea that birds communicate through song, the Kenari Quartet seeks to exemplify this concept through concert hall performances. By connecting with their audiences not only via song, but also through physical movement, Kenari amplifies the standard concert experience with their striking visual communication and powerful stage presence.
This past November, Fischoff’s S.A.M. I Am featured the fun, futuristic, fractured fairy tale Interstellar Cinderella (Cenicienta Interesterlar) performed by Fischoff alumni, WindSync, for second graders across Michiana. Over 900 students in under-resourced schools in South Bend, Elkhart, Goshen and Concord school districts participated in this transformational reenactment intended to help teachers ignite student’s love of reading and continue to bridge the learning gap that was heightened during the coronavirus pandemic. Fischoff Executive Director Scott Campbell, and the entire Fischoff team, are excited for the return of the Kenari Quartet to South Bend and the surrounding Michiana area. “Kenari captivated Fischoff audiences in 2013 and 2015 garnering silver medals each year and was invited to be our featured artist ensemble at our “Red, Hot & Jazz” gala. A balance of technical virtuosity, creativity and innovative spirits, we look forward to sharing Kenari’s talents with our community. We can’t wait to see what creative twists S.A.M. I Am will take with them.”
Bob Eason, soprano saxophonist Kenari responded, “We are so thrilled to be selected as the winner of the Fischoff National Chamber Association’s Ann Divine Educator Award! The Fischoff competition had a profound and lasting influence on our ensemble, and we are so thankful for those experiences. We’ve been hard at work developing outreach projects, and we are excited to explore the story-telling potential of Fischoff’s S.A.M. I Am program!”
“The Kenari Quartet was, in the words of an audience member, Phenomenal! Their sound, their musicianship, their connection with the audience and their vitality places their concert as among our best!” Maureen Butler, Programming Director for the Ringwood Friends of Music
“Kenari was excellent. First rate. Wonderful. We loved them. And they were kind and personable off stage. I’d recommend them highly.” Jamie Garvey, Concerts With A Cause
"I was nearly overwhelmed by the beauty of their sound, the tight ensemble, their range, their musicality, expressiveness, and technical skills." Kathleen Gerety, Program Committee Chamber Music Tulsa
“The Kenari were flat-out amazing. Kinetic, physical players, they came close to choreographing Maslanka’s music — especially when riffs were passed down through the ensemble from top to bottom and up again. Their instrumental mastery was impressive, their tone beautiful, their intonation faultless.”
Daniel Hathaway, Cleveland Classical
"The playing was engaging and SO musical all the time. It was as impressive as we had hoped. One of the best concerts I've attended in recent memory." Bruce Sorrell, Executive Director Chamber Music Tulsa
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TEN YEARS of
Alexander Glazunov: Saxophone Quartet, Op. 109, III. Finale
John Leszcznski: They Might be Gods
Joel Love: In Memoriam
Nikolai Kapustin: from 24 Preludes in Jazz Style
No. 22 - Animato
No. 10 - Allegro
No. 13 - Allegretto
No. 24 - Presto
Marcelo Zarvos: Memory from Nepomuk's Dances
J.S. Bach: Italian Concerto in F, BWV 971
David Maslanka: Recitation Book
I. Broken Heart: Meditation on the chorale melody "Der du bist drei in Einigkeit' (You who are three in one)
II. Prelude/Chorale: Meditation on "Jesu meine Freude" (Jesus my joy)
III. Ecco morire dunque (Look! My Death is Near!)
IV. Meditation on "O Salutaris Hostia" (O Salvation's Victim)
V. Fanfare/Variations on "Durch Adam's Fall" (Through Adam's Fall)
The Goldberg Variations; Past and Present
"Bach's timeless classic reimagined for saxophone quartet, with various stylistic interludes inspired by baroque improvisatory performance practice."
Voices of a New Generation
"New commissions and recent works that represent the vibrant and emotionally engaging musical directions being undertaken by today's emerging composers."
David Laganella - Leafless Trees
Carlos Simon - Catch on Fire
Nina Shekhar - eastbound
Ted King-Smith - Breaking Point
John Leszczynski - They Might be Gods
Corey Dundee - the...of my… are an…
Martin Bresnik - Mending Time
Mischa Zupko - Quantum Shift
The Untapped Sonorities of the Saxophone
Astor Piazzolla - Michaelangelo 70
William Bolcom - A Schumann Bouquet
Mischa Zupko - Quantum Shift
Florent Schmitt - Quartet
Jennifer Higdon - Short Stories (Chase, Lullaby, Splashing the Canvas)
Felix Mendelssohn, arr. Bob Eason - Capriccio from Op. 81
David Maslanka - Mountain Roads
Applauded for their “flat-out amazing” performances and “stunning virtuosity” (Cleveland Classical), the highly acclaimed Kenari Quartet delivers inspiring performances that transform the perception of the saxophone. The quartet aims to highlight the instrument’s remarkable versatility by presenting meticulously crafted repertoire from all periods of classical and contemporary music.
The Kenari Quartet has found a home performing on many of the premiere chamber music series in the United States. Recent engagements include appearances at Chamber Music Northwest, the Grand Teton Music Festival, and Chamber Music Tulsa, among others. For many chamber music institutions, the Kenari Quartet has been proud to serve as the first ensemble of its kind to be presented.
In addition to cultivating the highest level of performance, the Kenari Quartet has a deep passion for collaboration and innovation. Most recently, the quartet premiered J.P. Redmond’s 9×9: Nine Pieces for Nonet alongside the inimitable Imani Winds. As a testament to the flexibility of the saxophone quartet, the Kenari Quartet was recently a featured artist in Baldwin Wallace Conservatory’s 86th Annual Bach Festival. Here, they collaborated with faculty, student musicians, and academics to present an unprecedented residency centering around the influence of J.S. Bach on the late composer David Maslanka, as well as improvisation throughout musical history.
The quartet advocates passionately for the music of living composers, and it has given world premieres of new works by Mischa Zupko, Joel Love, and David Salleras, among others. As a recipient of Chamber Music America’s 2016 Classical Commissioning Grant, the Kenari Quartet was awarded a generous grant that allowed them to commission a new work from Corey Dundee, the group’s very own tenor saxophonist. This exciting project was made possible by the Andrew. W. Mellon Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.
In 2016, the quartet released their debut album—titled French Saxophone Quartets—on the Naxos Records label. This recording project features early masterworks for saxophone quartet by French composers Eugéne Bozza, Alfred Desenclos, Pierre Max Dubois, Jean Françaix, Gabriel Pierné, and Florent Schmitt. The Kenari Quartet also appears on David Deboor Canfield’s 2018 album, Saxophone Music, Vol. II, with their performance of Canfield’s Opus Pocus, a delightful and witty work that depicts wondrous magicians and illusionists such as Merlin and Houdini.
Committed to giving back to their communities, the Kenari Quartet is regularly involved in community engagement opportunities and educational endeavors. As a part of their touring activities, they often perform and teach at youth centers and grade schools around the country. The quartet has also given performances, masterclasses, and lectures around the country at various universities, including the University of Michigan, Indiana University, the University of Southern California, the University of Houston, and the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory.
The quartet’s name is derived from the Malay word “kenari”, which may be translated as “songbird.” Expanding on the age-old idea that birds communicate through song, the Kenari Quartet seeks to exemplify this concept through concert hall performances. By not only connecting with their audiences via song, but also through physical movement, Kenari amplifies the standard concert experience with their striking visual communication and powerful stage presence. The Kenari Quartet is represented by Jean Schreiber Management.
Bob Eason, soprano sax
Hailed by Fanfare magazine for his “exceptional feel for elegance, wit, and tonal beauty,” Bob Eason is an Indianapolis-based saxophonist, music educator, and clinician. Having recently performed as a guest artist with SaxoBang Ensemble in Taipei, Taiwan, Bob actively concertizes as a soloist and chamber musician. Bob is the founder of the Young Saxophonist’s Institute, an organization of summer programs that has educated over 700 saxophonists since its beginning in 2007. Bob holds a master’s degree in saxophone performance from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Houston, and his primary teachers include Otis Murphy, Dan Gelok, Valerie Vidal, Karen Wylie, Chris Patterson, and Theron Sharp.
Kyle Baldwin, alto sax
Kyle Baldwin is currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area where he is teaching a small studio of students and continues performing with the Kenari Quartet. In the summer of 2016, Kyle graduated from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music with a bachelor’s degree in music performance. There he studied with Dr. Otis Murphy and Professor Tom Walsh. Originally from Fresno, California, he has also studied with Dr. Alan Durst at Fresno State University and Professor Larry Honda at Fresno City College. He is a recipient of the Premier Young Artist Award Scholarship, a very honorable award given in the Jacobs School of Music, as well as the Marcel Mule Scholarship. Much of Kyle’s college career has been devoted to premiering new works for saxophone. He has collaborated with several composers in the Fresno State composition department where he has worked with Joey Bohigian, Dr. Benjamine Boone, and Dr. Kenneth Froelich. Kyle enjoys experimenting with new approaches to classical music through unique instrumentation and new performance concepts.
Corey Dundee, tenor tax
Corey Dundee is an Ann Arbor based composer and saxophonist whose work has been described as “trippy dream music” (casual university acquaintance) and “falling down a black rabbit hole” (six-year-old concert-goer in Norfolk, CT). A recipient of Chamber Music America's 2016 Classical Commissioning Grant, Corey was recently named Honorable Mention for MTNA’s 2018 Distinguished Composer of the Year Award, as well as a Finalist for the 2018 Cortona Prize. Corey has undertaken an Artist Residency at the Kimmel Harding Center for the Arts in Nebraska City, and he has received commissions from the Michigan Music Teachers Association, the Norfolk Contemporary Ensemble, Front Porch, the Spatial Forces Duo, Taos Chamber Music Group, the UNCSAx ensemble, and saxophonist Shawna Pennock. As a performer, Corey has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and the North Carolina Symphony, among others.
Steven Banks, baritone sax
Recognized for his “glowing mahogany tone” (Seen and Heard International) and “breathtaking” (Classical Voice of NC) performances, Steven Banks is active as a classical saxophonist, chamber musician, music educator, advocate for diversity and inclusion in classical music, and composer. Steven has a relationship with The Cleveland Orchestra, having performed with the legendary ensemble at Severance Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Blossom Music Center. Steven holds degrees from Northwestern University and Indiana University, where he was mentored by Taimur Sullivan and Dr. Otis Murphy, Jr., respectively. Steven serves as the Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the Ithaca College School of Music.