Steven Banks, classical saxophone & Xak Bjerken, piano: July 17 at 6PM

Music by
Steven Banks
“...the soloist took off like a rocket with a couple of ascending riffs that had more notes than you could count in the time they were played. His fingers flying on the keys and his embouchure firm on the mouthpiece, Banks played a breathtaking performance with only a few orchestral interludes to give him (and us) a chance to catch a breath. This young artist’s future is wide open to him.”  ~ Classical Voice of North Carolina


Recognized for his “glowing mahogany tone” (Seen and Heard International) and “breathtaking” (Classical Voice of NC) performances, American classical saxophonist Steven Banks “is at the forefront of musicians of his generation in his display of the highest level of both artistry and pedagogy" (Taimur Sullivan, Professor of Saxophone, Northwestern University). 

Steven Banks is the first saxophonist to earn a place on the Young Concert Artists roster in its 59-year history, capturing First Prize at the 2019 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. He has an ongoing relationship with The Cleveland Orchestra, having performed with the legendary ensemble in Severance Hall, Carnegie Hall, and at the Blossom Music Center.  Banks is the baritone saxophonist of the award-winning Kenari Quartet. 

Banks is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in music education, performance, and newly commissioned works in the classical realm. He serves proudly as Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Ithaca College.

Professor of Piano at Cornell University, Xak Bjerken, is a pianist of the Los Angeles Piano Quartet, which tours the USA regularly. He has held chamber music residencies at the Tanglewood Music Center and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. Orchestral solo appearances include Edinburgh with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Rome with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Disney Hall and Los Angeles. He has performed at the Royal Concertgebouw Hall in Amsterdam, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall, the Kennedy Center, and has given recitals throughout Europe.