Saxton Rose is one of America’s most recognized bassoon soloists. His virtuosic interpretations of traditional repertoire, and his dedication to new music have afforded him a prolific and varied career as soloist, orchestral and chamber musician. His dynamic performances include works from Bach to Berio, Mozart to Frank Zappa, and numerous world premieres from composers such as Michael Gordon, John Fitz Rogers, Amy Beth Kirsten, David Smooke, Jeffrey Holmes, Alfonso Fuentes, Christopher Dietz, Felipe Perez Santiago, and Lawrence Dillon. He is Associate Professor of Bassoon and Director of the contemporary music ensemble at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, principal bassoonist of the Winston-Salem Symphony, and a member of Zéphyros Winds, an acclaimed New York-based wind quintet. Saxton Rose is a J. Püchner artist and performs on the Model Superior/6000 bassoon.
Mr. Rose performs and teaches throughout the world. Recent performances include engagements as concerto soloist with the National Symphony of Colombia in Bogotá, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Caldas, the National Symphony of Panamá, the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, the West Point Band, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, and the Winston-Salem Symphony. This past season he performed recitals in Argentina, Mexico, China, Japan, in Belgium at the Concertgebouw in Brugges, in The Netherlands at the Korzo Theater in The Hague and at the Ostadetheater in Amsterdam, and in Berlin at the Philharmonie. In April of 2013 he stepped in with only a few hours notice to perform Rite of Spring as principal bassoonist with Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He has performed as an invited guest at the conferences of the International Double Reed Society, an organization for which he serves as Associate Editor of IDRS Online Publications and chair of the IDRS Gillet-Fox Competition for Bassoon.
As principal bassoonist of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2008 he performed with many of the leading artists of our time including Yo Yo Ma, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Placido Domingo, Ben Hepner, Joshua Bell, Anna Netrebko, Renée Fleming, Pepe Romero and the Emerson String Quartet among others. With the PRSO he performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, in the Casals Festival and on tours to Europe and throughout Latin America.
Throughout his career, Mr. Rose has worked to expand the repertoire of the bassoon, and to redefine its role in contemporary music by collaborating with established and emerging composers to commission new works. He has performed with new music ensembles Alarm Will Sound, Le Train Bleu, Wet Ink Ensemble, and is a member of Rushes Ensemble, formed to record, premiere and perform Bang on a Can composer Michael Gordon’s concert-length work for seven bassoons entitled Rushes. The Rushes Ensemble gave the world premiere performance of Rushes in September 2012 at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in Troy, New York, and has since performed at some of the most prestigious contemporary music festivals in North America and Europe including November Music and GLOW Festivals in the Netherlands, the Surround Festival in Brugge, Belgium, and Vancouver New Music. In 2010, Mr. Rose helped found Dark in the Song, a bassoon collective comprised of the most widely known bassoonists in the contemporary music scene. Called a “bassoon supergroup” by the American Music Center, Dark in the Song performs and commissions new works, collaborating directly with composers to create a new 21st century repertoire for bassoon ensembles. He appears on two recently released recordings including the works of composer Alfonso Fuentes and Rushes.
A committed teacher, he has been invited to give master classes throughout Europe, Latin America, Asia, and in the US at the finest music schools and conservatories. As director of the new music ensemble at UNCSA, Mr. Rose leads outstanding students as the group’s conductor in intensive rehearsals and performances of the music of our time by today’s most significant composers, and by emerging composers and UNCSA composition students.
Mr. Rose began studying the bassoon in his hometown near Chicago, Illinois. His training includes courses in Germany, Austria and Italy with some of Europe’s most distinguished bassoonists including Gustavo Nuñez and Sergio Azzolini. He graduated with highest honors from the class of Stefano Canuti at the Conservatorio “Agostino Steffani” in Castelfranco-Veneto, Italy and is a former student of William Winstead at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Additionally his teachers include Yoshi Ishikawa and Timothy McGovern.
While not playing the bassoon, Saxton enjoys cooking, playing tennis, and rooting for the Chicago Cubs. He currently lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with his wife soprano Elizabeth Pacheco Rose, and their two children.