“The Zzyzx Quartet, comprising soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone sax, exemplifies the happy development of the instrument in the excellence of their playing, the quality of their repertoire, and their synthesis as a quartet. Watching them is like watching a well-directed string section whose bows move in unison; the members of Zzyzx breathe simultaneously, their voices swelling together or seamlessly trading over an undulating sea of sound.” – Judyd Myers, City Arts Magazine NYC
Described as “a superb ensemble with impeccable musical taste” (The Saxophone Journal) the Zzyzx Quartet was formed in 2007. As an ensemble, they have presented performances throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, as well as numerous masterclasses and workshops across the continental United States. Zzyzx is committed to the advancement of saxophone quartet repertoire and has commissioned and premiered new works by composers such as John Mackey, David Maslanka, David Rakowski, Ian Stewart, John Leszczynski, Erik Norman, Elliott Bark, Matthew Peterson, Sarah Gibson, Laura Kramer, and Jonathan Sokol. In 2012, Zzyzx commissioned a new saxophone quartet by renowned American composer, John Mackey, which is featured on their newest critically acclaimed CD, “Intersections”, released in June 2013. Zzyzx Quartet performed a featured concerto on the opening Gala Concert of the NASA Biennial Conference in Tempe, Arizona and was featured on a concert of up-and-coming young saxophonists from around the world at the World Saxophone Congress in St. Andrews, Scotland. Most recently, they gave their New York City debut concert at Symphony Space in conjunction with the release of their newest CD. Additionally, Zzyzx was selected to serve on the panel for the Barlow Endowment Prize in 2014 as one of three internationally recognized quartets. They will be premiering the winning composer’s new composition in 2016.
Zzyzx won 2nd Prize in the inaugural North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition in 2008. Additionally, ZQ was selected as one of the only American Chamber groups and the first American Saxophone Quartet to ever be invited to compete in the OSAKA International Chamber Music Competition in Japan. They were honored as one of seven semi-finalists from 211 applicants from 29 countries in May 2011. Each of the members have also been recognized as award-winning soloists, receiving top awards in prestigious national and international competitions including the Gaudeamus International Competition, William Byrd International Competition, North American Saxophone Alliance Competition, MTNA Young Artist Competition, Eastern Connecticut Symphony Competition, and the Carmel Music Society Instrumental Competition. They have also received recognition as semi-finalists in the world’s most prestigious saxophone competitions including the Adolphe Sax International Competition, the Jean-Marie Londeix International Competition and the Aeolus International Competition.
Dedicated to teaching, ZQ established the Zzyzx Educational Outreach Program in 2009 which has lead to numerous workshops, clinics and masterclasses at middle schools, high schools and universities throughout the United States. The quartet’s debut CD, “Zzyzx Road”, was released in 2010 featuring world premiere recordings by Piet Swerts, John Leszczynski, and Erik Norman as well as works by Ida Gotkovsky and Thierry Escaich. The album features a collaboration with their former professor at Indiana University, Otis Murphy, as a guest soloist on Gotkovsky’s Quatuor. An article about ZQ was featured in Vol. 35 of the Saxophone Journal. The quartet was invited to be on the only saxophone quartet on the roster for the New York Classical Music Society in 2013 based out of New York City. Members of Zzyzx hold prestigious performing and teaching positions within the West Point Academy Concert Band, The United States Navy Band, the Pershing’s Own Concert Band, The University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music, and Montclaire State University.
Zzyzx Quartet is a Yamaha Performing Artist, exclusively playing Yamaha Saxophones, and a D’Addario Performing Artist that endorses D’Addario Reserve Reeds.
The Name “ZZYZX”
We are often asked why our group chose such an unusual name and the short answer is this: Zzyzx (pronounced ‘zie-zix’) Road stretches a mere 4.5 miles off of I-15 in California at Exit 239, which is along the route our bari player takes whenever he drives to his home in Costa Mesa, California. The name is strange, memorable, and not to mention special as it is the last word listed alphabetically in atlases, dictionaries, and directories in which the word is contained. A degree of mystery surrounds the area that Zzyzx Road leads to and local legends have dubbed it “the road to nowhere.”
When our quartet formed in 2007 we spent a great deal of time trying to come up a good name for ourselves – we wanted something catchy but meaningful. When Dana mentioned Zzyzx, we instantly agreed that we would call ourselves the Zzyzx Quartet.
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