An active performer of both jazz and classical music, Idit Shner has played in various distinguished venues in the United States and abroad, such as The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Lincoln Center in New York.
Currently Shner plays with her jazz quartet in Eugene and Portland, Oregon. Her latest project involves nursery rhymes and ancient melodies from the Jewish liturgy performed in a jazz setting. In September 2008, her first jazz CD, titled TUESDAY'S BLUES, was released on OA2 Records. TUESDAY'S BLUES got great reviews from JazzTimes, All Music Guide, and Jazz Review. Jazz festival performances include the Diet Coke Woman in Jazz Festival (NY), Bellayre Festival (NY), and New-Trier Jazz Festival (IL).
As a classical saxophonist Idit has commissioned and recorded new music and performed solo recitals in the US and Israel. Her third CD, Le Merle Noir, featuring music by Messiaen, Bozza, Partos, and Glass, was released on Origin Classics in August 2013. Her previous classical recording, FISSURES: 20th Century Music for saxophone and Harp with renowned harpist Yumiko Schlaffer, received great acclaim and was play on NPR (National Public Radio). Idit has collaborated with Fireworks, Beta Collide and Third Angle (new music ensembles), and regularly performs with the Oregon Symphony. Other appearances include the Northwest Percussion Festival, Electronic Music Midwest, the Oregon Bach Festival, and many North American Saxophone Alliance Conventions. During March 2006 she played in Israel as a featured soloist with a symphonic orchestra, and performed contemporary music at the national convention of the Society for Electro Acoustic Music in the US. Her last solo recital in Israel was broadcasted live on Voice of Music, a national public radio station.
Idit holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oklahoma City University, a Masters degree in Music Education from University of Central Oklahoma, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of North Texas. Idit now teaches at the University of Oregon, as associate professor of saxophone and jazz studies.
Jeffery Kyle Hutchins
American saxophonist Jeffery Kyle Hutchins has performed and taught around the world in Asia, Europe, and North America. A champion of new music, Hutchins has commissioned and premiered more than forty new works for the saxophone; he has been a guest artist with the internationally acclaimed new music ensemble Zeitgeist and regularly performs as a member of the Minneapolis based Renegade Ensemble. His debut solo CD Images: American Sonatas was released in 2013 on the Emeritus label with pianist EunHye Grace Choi (Hutchins-Choi Duo). His most recent album Interactions with Brittany Primavera (AVIDduo) features all original works for flute and saxophone. Hutchins currently serves as Instructor of Record at the University of Minnesota where he also teaches a course on 20th Century Music at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and has served on the faculties of the E. Rousseau Saxophone Workshop (Shell Lake, WI) and the Jae Young Summer Camp (Seoul, South Korea). Hutchins is currently completing the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Saxophone Performance at the University of Minnesota where he also received the Master’s degree. Additionally, he holds degrees in education and performance from the University of North Texas. His primary teachers are Eric Nestler and Eugene Rousseau. Jeffery Kyle Hutchins is a Yamaha Performing Artist and plays E. Rousseau Mouthpiece exclusively.
Chris Merz, Associate Professor of Music, has served as Director of Jazz Studies and Director of the award-winning UNI Jazz Band One at the University of Northern Iowa since 2002. Under his direction, the band has recorded eight CDs featuring many original compositions and arrangements by student and faculty writers.
He has also taught at the University of Wyoming, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa. Chris has toured four continents with Dave Brubeck and other members of the Brubeck family and played lead alto saxophone with several East Coast groups, including the Cecil Bridgewater Big Band, the New England Jazz Ensemble, and the Jeff Holmes Big Band. His own projects include Equilateral and the X-tet, a 12-piece big band.
Chris has several compact disc recordings to his credit, including a collaboration with Bob Washut (Gemini), two discs with Equilateral (...And Another Thing and Also Not Pictured...) and one with the X-tet (Mystery is My Story). About that disc, Dave Brubeck wrote, "I am very pleased with this wonderful band. Naturally, I would admire a group like yours that, to me, is a grand extension of what we were doing...when we were the "new thing"." He has received commissions from university and high school jazz ensembles throughout the country and has several compositions and arrangements published by Walrus Music Publishing (Pismo Beach, CA) and the UNC Jazz Press (Greeley,CO). He is a highly sought-after clinician and guest conductor.
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An advocate for new music, Ann Bradfield commissions and premieres new works for saxophone. Most recently, in 2013 she commissioned and premiered The Mystics for soprano saxophone and trumpet by Franklin Piland, and in 2011 she premiered and recorded Wink for alto saxophone and marimba, with and by renowned percussionist Mark Ford. In the Lone Star Wind Orchestra and the University of North Texas Wind Symphony under the direction of Eugene Corporon, Ms. Bradfield performed and recorded as principal saxophonist on projects including the educational series, “Teaching Music through Performance in Band.” She has been featured in performance at the World Saxophone Congress, North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Convention, and North American Saxophone Alliance Region 2 and 4 Conventions.
Ms. Bradfield completed her doctorate in saxophone performance at the University of North Texas, and her dissertation An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Music for Saxophone by Charles Ruggiero with an Analysis of Interplay for Soprano Saxophone and Piano has since been published. At UNT, she also earned a Master of Music in saxophone performance and Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, and had the opportunity to work with artists including Maria Schneider, Michael Brecker, and Bob Brookmeyer. Ms. Bradfield has served on the faculty of Eastern New Mexico University, Cameron University, Oklahoma State University, and Oklahoma Christian University.