Despite appearances in this recent publicity shot, members of the Paragon Saxophone Quartet are certainly no dummies, being the first British quartet to be selected by Selmer, Paris, for sponsorship.
One of the first projects to come out of the affiliation with Selmer is the Paragon's three-day summer workshop to be held at Richards Music Centre, Bishopswood Road, Highgate, London between 22nd and 24th July. Participants will benefit from master classes and workshops, and will also get the opportunity to work with other saxophonists in ensembles ranging from quartets to choirs. There'll be opportunities to try out the latest Selmer saxes, so if you're thinking of coming, either bring your cheque books or be prepared to resist serious temptation!
Educational events like these are an important part of the Paragon's activities, but so is top-level performance. Originally established as Saxploitation in 1993 (naked but for the gold body paint!) the quartet has a lot of experience and a very substantial repertoire (150 titles) behind it. The group has a progressive outlook and co-operates with other players, like the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, composers and spnm (The Society for the Promotion of New Music), but one of the secrets of its success is its refusal to be pigeonholed. The result is critical acclaim across the UK and Europe, plus recordings for BBC TV and radio, and Classic FM.
Paragon's pro-active approach to all aspects of quartet life is illustrated by its recent involvement in the Sixth Selmer Clarinet and Saxophone Day at the Guildhall School of Music in London. The group kicked off by performing the works of the five finalists in the quartet composition competition. Congratulations to Adrian Budgen for his winning score, Take Her In. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy of the quartet can contact Adrian by email. The Paragon went on to perform for a packed auditorium, bringing pizzazz and finesse to Pierne, Reich & Torke before a sensitive and poignant performance of R.A Moulds' Three Russian Songs.
Paragon has a CD in the pipeline, and future plans can be checked out on its new, cutting-edge site.