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Saxophone ensemble


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About Syzygy

Syzygy are a British saxophone quartet who play new music.
Saxophone ensemble
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Syzygy saxophone quartet were formed after playing together at the 2009 World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok with the London Saxophone Ensemble. The quartet was established with the aim to promote and perform established contemporary works, alongside new music written especially for the ensemble. Syzygy’s debut performance was in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham, as part of the Frontiers & Andriessen Festival, where they performed Louis Andriessen’s Facing Death. Since then the quartet have gone on to perform at major chamber concert venues across the UK, including performances at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and at the Purcell Room as part of the Park Lane Group Young Artists New Year Series. They made their debut at St Martin-in-the-Fields in July 2012 and have performed at the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Academy of Art. They have also conducted workshops and performed at Chetham’s School of Music, Trinity College of Music, and Birmingham Conservatoire. They recently recorded their debut CD, being the only ensemble in Europe to be awarded the performing and recording rights for David Maslanka’s ‘Songs for the Coming Day’, a captivating work which will be released in the near future. They were supported by the Help Musicians UK (formerly MBF) from whom they received an Emerging Excellence award.

Syzygy's Reviews

From customers:

Andy S
8 years ago

Andy Scott, saxophone lecturer at the Royal Northern School of Music looks at the latest album from the Syzygy Saxophone Quartet. New album: Songs For The Coming Day The Syzygy Quartet comprises four established and respected saxophonists; Naomi Sullivan (soprano sax), Dominic Childs (alto sax), Michaela Stapleton (tenor sax) & Neil McGovern (baritone sax). Formed in 2009 the group dedicate this CD to their teacher and mentor from days studying at the Royal College of Music, Kyle Horch. Syzygy were one of a number of saxophone quartets that formed a consortium to commission the respected American composer David Maslanka. This is a great way not only to create new repertoire, but to ensure that there are a series of performances of the commission! Maslanka at times leaves real space in his music, allowing it to breathe, using largely traditional harmony and combining the various musical elements to produce music that has a deep spirit and level of communication. Contrast this with moments of technical virtuosity (without the composer feeling the necessity to introduce extended techniques) and a number of musical challenges are asked of the performers, necessitating a Quartet that possess a deep understanding of music and that have real control of their instruments. The Syzygy Quartet has both of these qualities in abundance, and treats us to a 44-minute musical journey through Songs for the Coming Day that ranges from the aching beauty and raw intensity of ‘For the Dead’ to the sustained declamatory miminalism of ‘The Soul Is Here For Its Own Joy’, before closing with the beautifully arching title track, ‘Song For The Coming Day’. There really is something special about the sound of Syzygy; pure with immaculate intonation and a true ensemble blend, the individual players carefully shadowing the lead melodic line, wherever that might be in the quartet. Maslanka believes that, in a world of conflict and war, there is a rising creative flow, and that the musicians, by giving deep attention to each sound, bring listeners into the same creative flow, that will prevail over conflict. The music on this CD does have a meditative and calming effect, even in louder sections, and credit to the Quartet for helping bring this music into the world, and for performing so exquisitely on this recording. Regardless of which type of music you choose to play as a saxophonist, and speaking as someone who has performed in a saxophone quartet for thirty years, I would urge you to buy this recording as the Syzygy Quartet transport us to a dark, beautiful and spiritual musical world, it’s as if we’re riding on the wings of angels! Andy Scott About the author: Andy Scott is a founding member of the multi prizewinning Apollo Saxophone Quartet. He is also an award winning composer and saxophone lecturer at the Royal Northern Academy of Music in Manchester, England.

Love C
9 years ago

Formed after playing together at the 2009 World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok with the London Saxophone Ensemble, the Syzygy Quartet have plenty to say on their debut album Songs for the Coming Day. Formed of a new piece composed by David Maslanka, the Syzygy Quartet have been the only ensemble in Europe to be awarded the performing and recording rights to Songs for the Coming Day. This piece of information should tell you the quality and respectfulness towards music that this quartet showcases on this album without even listening to a note. From beginning to end, there is sombre and gentle quality about the album that really makes the listener sit up and pay attention to and appreciate from beginning to end. There is a richness and high quality that comes through from all of the performances on the album, but particularly on ‘Awakening’ and ‘Letting Go of the Past’ that seems particularly heartfelt. It is also down to the composition of the tracks by Maslanka that allows the recording of it to be clear and consistent throughout and proving that music is at its best when it is at its most simple... The whole album has a poetic feel about it that is reflected in the song titles such as ‘When I Cannot Wait for Love I Wait for Morning’. It is a beautiful piece of music that is performed with great understanding and thought by the Syzygy Quartet.

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Syzygy's Song list

Andriessen - Facing Death
Andriessen - Workers Union
Bedford, David - Fridiof Kennings
Beethoven - String Quartet No.14
Bryars, Gavin - Alaric I or II
Buess, Alex - ata-9
Cage – Four 5
Carter, Elliott - Canonic Suite
Clyne, Anna - Choke
Cutler, Joe - Urban Myths
Dennehy, Donnacha – Mild, Medium-Lasting, Artificial Happiness
Everdon, Paul - Ta Hiera
Ligeti - Six Bagatelles
Long, Ashley - Dance Miniatures
Mannion, Ruaidhri - Scath
Maslanka - Songs for the Coming Day
Messiaen - O Sacrum Convivium
Morthenson, Jan - Hymn
Nyman - Songs for Tony
Pousseur, Henri - Vue sur les Jardins interdits
Puig, Jorge - Saxophone Quartet
Reich - New York Counterpoint
Resanovic, Nikola -
Stockhausen - Knabenduett
Ticheli, Frank - Backburner
Ter Veldhuis, Jacob - Post-Nuclear Winter Scenario No.10
Terzakis, Dimitri - Panta Rei
Ulyatt, Ben - Whisper
Webern - Langsamer Satz
Weissberg, Daniel - So Long
Xenakis - Xas

Syzygy's Prices

Note: prices may vary based on travel distance. For an exact quote, click “Check availability”.

Standard Prices
Performance durationPrice
Up to 1 hour£800
Up to 2 hours£900
Up to 3 hours£1000
Customer questions

What do your clients love most about your performances?

Syzygy's audiences and listeners respond very positively and we have had many successful performances over the years. The group is highly talented, professional and capable. Clients appreciate our engagement with the music and our striking performance style.

Which venues have you performed at in the past?

Birmingham, Adrian Boult Hall – Andriessen festival Chethams School of Music Southbank Centre – Park Lane Group Musicians Benevolent Fund – Camden showcase Musicians Benevolent Fund – Banqueting House Cheltenham – Parabola Arts Centre Lincoln’s Inn Sheffield Music Club Nonclassical - Battle of the Bands Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and many more

Which artists have you been most influenced by?

Habanera Quartet Prism Quartet Rascher Quartet Decibel Xasax Quartet Xenakis Ed Bennett Andriessen

What is the most high profile gig you've performed?

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival was a particular highlight, but every gig is special in its own way.

Do you have different line-up options?

We work as a duet, a trio, a quartet and sometimes a larger group with added musicians.

What if my timings change after I've booked you?

We will try to be as flexible as possible. We understand that sometimes things change even at the last minute.

Can you provide an iPod/DJ service before and between your sets?

A simple iPod playlist could be used before and between sets. Do liaise with us to discuss your requirements. Since we are primarily an acoustic group we would normally use PA that is available at the venue for this service.

How much time do you need to set up?

1 hour, although we can be ready in less time if this is inconvenient.

Can you roam around while you perform?

Yes we can.

Can I pick the songs you play from the set list?

Please do talk to us about what music you would like and together we can craft a fantastic set list.

Is all of the equipment (e.g. PA & lighting) included in your quote?

Yes, we will need a space allocated for us to perform in.

Can you learn song requests before the event?

Yes we can, as long as there is sufficient notice. Pieces requiring special arrangement and/or rehearsal carry a fee of £30.
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