UGA student saxophone quartet travels to two national competitions in Texas

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Nach Saxophone Quartet from the UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music has advanced in two significant, national competitions for saxophone quartet and woodwind chamber music.  

Coached by Connie Frigo, associate professor of saxophone at the School of Music, the quartet members are performance majors Rick Firestone, soprano, a first year master’s student; Caroline Halleck, alto, a junior; Hassan High, tenor, a senior; and Charlie Young, a first year doctoral student. 

“Nach Quartet sounds far more seasoned than a quartet of players who just met one another last August,” said Frigo. “Their sounds and musicianship synthesized immediately.”

This week, they travel to Texas Tech University in Lubbock to compete in the semi-finals of the North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition. Twenty quartets from universities across the country were selected from a pre-screened, recorded preliminary round for the live semi-final round beginning March 8.

While traveling to the competition, Nach performed outreach concerts at high schools and universities in Tennessee and Mississippi.  

Following the March competition, Nach competes in the national finals of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Woodwind Chamber Music Competition in San Antonio in early April.

To advance to the finals, Nach was awarded first prize at the MTNA Southern Division regional competition in January where they competed against state winners from eight other states. The winners from each of the seven regional divisions will compete in the national finals in San Antonio. 

“It's been a pleasure to watch them advance in these competitions,” said Frigo. “They've earned it.”

This is the second consecutive year UGA is sending a chamber music group to the MTNA national finals. Milk Saxophone Quartet, coached by Dr. Frigo, advanced to the national finals in 2015. Quartet members included Gabriel Pique (B.M., '15), Michael Turner (M.M., '15), Brandon Quarles ('15) and Shawna Pennock, a second year doctoral student.

Nach's programs feature works by William Albright, Gabriel Pierne, Florent Schmitt, J.S. Bach, Ida Gotkovsky, Zack Browning and David Biedenbender.