University of Southern Mississippi's School of Music can now
boast of having 14 members in Congress - the World Saxophone
Congress, that is. The Sax-Chamber Orchestra, under the direction
of Dr. Lawrence Gwozdz, professor of music, has been invited
to perform a one-hour program for this prestigious congregation
of saxophonists July 9 in Minneapolis, Minn.
its inception in 1969, the World Saxophone Congress has brought
together saxophonists from all over the world to celebrate
the growing musical heritage of the instrument," Gwozdz
said. "World Saxophone Congress XIII will be hosted by
the University of Minnesota School of Music from July 9-13.
As the world's largest gathering of professional, amateur
and student saxophonists, the event will feature a full schedule
of concerts and presentations, and include displays of instruments
and accessories by retailers and manufacturers from many countries."
went on to explain how the Congress selects its performing
groups. A board of 11 directors represents Belgium, Canada,
France, Germany, Holland, Japan, Spain and the United States.
A call for proposed presentations was due by December 1 preceding
the Congress and then a committee considered each proposal's
value to the gathering.
believed that our submission needed to represent our country
as much as possible," Gwozdz said. "After careful
consideration, I assembled a program of music by American
composers, wrote a detailed proposal and included our recording
'America Remembers' that is distributed by Qualiton Imports
in New York.
chose two works from that recording and three others from
our repertoire. The committee listened to the CD and studied
our proposal among the hundreds they received and honored
us by giving us an entire hour."
on the orchestra's program have been composed especially for
the Southern Miss ensemble. "Two of my colleagues in
New York and Nebraska were so intrigued by the concept of
a saxophone orchestra that it was easy to ask them to compose
for us," Gwozdz said.
colleague, Randall Snyder, is a composer and saxophonist at
the University of Nebraska and is a player Gwozdz considers
"a very imaginative musician." His piece "Celluloid"
was inspired by movies from the 1950s. The other new work
was written by David Heinick of SUNY-Postdam in New York,
called "Chorale Fantasia: How Brightly Shines the Morning
Star." It was partly derived from an organ prelude that
he had composed several years ago.
Congress program works to be performed include Charles Ives'
"Variations on America," Harold Schiffman's "Concertino"
and Mark Taggart's "Lament and Credo."
will not be without its poignant moments. Dr. Richard Scruggs,
visiting assistant professor of the Southern Miss saxophone
studio during the spring semester while Gwozdz was on sabbatical,
will conduct the Schiffman and Taggart works.
is particularly meaningful for Dr. Scruggs to conduct these
pieces on our program," Gwozdz said. "Schiffman
was a professor at Florida State University, where Scruggs
earned his doctorate. The 'Lament and Credo' is a memorial
tribute to the late Kenneth Deans, my predecessor here at
Southern Miss and Scruggs' professor during his study for
the baccalaureate and master's degrees."
added bonus, Gwozdz also has been invited to perform as a
soloist with the World Congress Symphony Orchestra in selected
movements of the Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra, a work
composed for him by New Orleans composer Stephen Dankner.
had offered the committee two completely different works,
and after hearing the recording that was made with the Louisiana
Philharmonic, they chose the Dankner piece," Gwozdz said.
"This will be a significant performance for the composer,
as he gets to have his music heard by hundreds of saxophonists
of the Southern Miss Sax-Chamber Orchestra hail from Alabama, Arizona,
Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico
and New York. The members will return to Hattiesburg a week
prior to the trip to rehearse, traveling at their own expense.
But the group has raised money during the spring semester
to fund their travel expenses by selling copies of its CDs,
playing concerts on and off campus for donations, receiving
generous contributions from the Family Practice and After
Hours Clinic of Hattiesburg and securing support from all
levels of the university administration. The group also plans
to perform at various locales along the route to Minneapolis
information about the upcoming appearance, call Gwozdz at