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GERARD

MCCHRYSTAL Saxophonist


GERARD MCCHRYSTAL COMES FROM DERRY,

His solo show Stand Up! was a late night hit at

30 countries including USA, Azerbaijan, Korea,

Cathedral.

N.IRELAND. To date he has performed in over Indonesia, Poland, Ireland, Slovenia and the UK. Gerard has given over 100 concerto

performances and recorded with The BBC

National Orchestra of Wales, London Musici and The Ulster Orchestra with conductors including Yan Pascal Tortelier.

He has performed with Philip Glass, Soweto String Quartet, guitarist Craig Ogden, The

Syzmanowski String Quartet, The Smith Quartet, tenorist Tommy Smith, Irish choir Anuna,

Ensemble Bash as well as many orchestras

including The Philharmonia, San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC NOW, BBC Concert Orchestra, National Symphony of Ireland and Stuttgart

Statsorchestre. Gerard is a gold endorsee for RICO and an ambassador for Derry-

Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013.

the 2012 Three Choirs Festival in Hereford

Gerard has played in TV/film sessions for BBC

Wildlife on One and various ITV and Channel 4

mini series. Recording sessions from Jive Bunny

to the end credits of the movie The Judge feature his playing.

His latest album Aria was named as one of the best classical CDs of 2011 by Classic FM. It was also one of David Mellor’s Connoisseurs Choice

on Classic FM, Saturday 15th October 2011. In November 2011, Aria was CD of the Week on

Ireland’s national classical station RTE LyricFM. In 2013 Gerard will perform with orchestra at

both opening and closing events for UK City of Culture, which will be broadcast on BBC

television and radio. In March he appears with RTE National Symphony Orchestra in Dublin and in June with Craig Ogden in France.

PROJECTS

GERARD


STAND UP! TEN YEARS IN DEVELOPMENT, STAND-UP! IS

Gerard has a long association with the

a combination of solo saxophone works and

works by him with guitarist Craig Ogden and

GERARD MCCHRYSTAL’S NEWEST PROJECT. It is pieces for saxophone and electronics.

Every work is accessible and inclusive. The

sublime beauty of atmospheric works such as Karen Tanaka’s Night Bird and Andy Scott’s

My Mountain Top contrast with the freshness of Tony Davis’ dance inspired Iguacu, Come Down and Dance. Gerard also performs duos by

Telemann using digital delay to play both parts. Joe Cutler wrote a fabulous new work called

Loopable Music that was premiered at the 2012

Three Choirs Festival in Hereford Cathedral and funded by the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust. It

is for alto saxophone and loop station where all

the parts are created live on stage making every

performance unique. Part of the show was used in November 2012 at the Irish Embassy London for the media launch of Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013. Composer Ciaran Farrell

has just written a series of pieces for the project for saxophone and delay called Travel Pieces.

composer having already recorded and toured The Smith Quartet. Gerard’s informative and relaxed introductions help to link the works performed into a seamless audience experience.

Virtuosic works by Paganini and Barry Cockroft include amazing techniques like circular

breathing and slap-tongue. Multi-layered works, performed live, using a loop station complete this unique cutting edge project. This project

has won awards from Creative Leicestershire and Arts Council England.

The beauty of the project is that it is versatile, portable and only needs one performer.

Stand Up! has already been used to collaborate with dance company Fidget Feet at the opening

of the new cultural centre Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin in Derry, Northern Ireland. The show has also

been used in collaborations with several poets.

Gerard is in the process of commissioning a film to go with one of the pieces in the programme.

Watch Iguacu, Come Down and Dance at youtu.be/NVPe9hI90mA


Photo by Tim Stubbings

Gerard McChrystal with Craig Ogden live at Canterbury Festival 2010


DUO WITH CRAIG OGDEN

OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, GERARD HAS BUILT UP AN EXCITING COLLABORATION WITH AUSTRALIAN GUITARIST CRAIG OGDEN. Together they have developed a programme of original music for this beautiful combination.

This duo have given over 30 concerts in venues ranging from St David’s Hall, Cardiff, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

to the Sugar Club, Dublin. The BBC and RTE have broadcast several of their performances. Their programmes have been a big hit at festivals such as Canterbury and music clubs in Holmes Chapel, Rochdale and Leighton Buzzard. The programme has music influenced by the dance rhythms of South America with works by Piazzolla, Celso Machado and Iain Ballamy. The composers may not all be familiar to you but the styles will be.

Their album pluckbow on Meridian Records, takes its name from Greg Caffrey’s include funky, new crossover works by Ulrich Schultheiss, Andy Scott, Ciarán Farrell, Billy Cowie, Stuart Greenbaum and Ian Wilson.

They have also recorded works for Ciarán Farrell’s RTE LyricFM album

funded a successful new work Figment by composer Iain Ballamy, which is a beautiful combination of jazz and South American music.

The Celtic inspired Shannon Suite by Ciarán Farrell contrasts with

atmospheric pieces from Poland and Australia by Marek Pasieczny and Stuart Greenbaum.

Photo by Carolyn Cowan

Perfect State and Gerard’s most recent album Aria. PRS Foundation

SAXOPHONE & GUITAR

work of the same name which is featured on the CD. Other works on the album


SAXOPHONE & PIANO

DUO WITH SIMON MULLIGAN

GERARD MCCHRYSTAL AND SIMON MULLIGAN HAVE FORMED AN EXCITING NEW SAXOPHONE AND PIANO DUO, which was very well received at the 2011 Beaminster Festival. Simon’s comfort with classical and jazz styles makes him the perfect duo partner for

Gerard’s dynamic repertoire, which often has influences of jazz and folk music. Simon has recorded with Yehudi Menuhin and Sony Classical. He has collaborated with cellist Lynn Harrell, violinist Joshua Bell and supported artists including Branford Marsalis, Van Morrison, Sting, Dame Shirley Bassey and Liza Minnelli.

A compelling combination of original works for saxophone dating back to 1860 and new interpretations of works by Debussy, Ravel and Paganini; Philip Glass’ reflective Facades

contrasts with the virtuosity of Itturalde’s Pequena Czarda. Gerard also includes several of

the best works he has commissioned over the past 20 years giving the programme a very personal feel.

SAXOPHONE & ORGAN

DUO WITH DAVID WOODCOCK GERARD’S LATEST COLLABORATION IS WITH ORGANIST DAVID WOODCOCK.

The saxophone is a natural partner for the organ and many standard works sound completely different when performed with organ. The big difference between saxophone and piano is in the range of colour and dynamics possible. Works like Jean Absil’s

Fantasie Caprice take on a grander scale when performed with organ. The biggest revelation in this new duo is in the works with

sopranino saxophone. The trumpet-like brilliance of Adolphe Sax’s smallest invention works fantastically well in baroque works with organ, for example, Leonardo Vinci’s Adagio and Allegro.

Combined with atmospheric and moving contemporary works like Molitva by Ukranina composer Galina Grigorieva, the programme

has incredible variety. The final element is music from the 1920’s by composers including Rudy Weidoeft which adds the fun Blackpool music hall feel to the end of the programme.


“Gerard MrChrystal is one of the finest exponents of the saxophone and has a brilliant repertoire of broad-ranging music.

Gerard is one of those musicians who really engages with his audience – he has great charm and charisma and a wonderful wit ... his magnetic personality as well as his musical brilliance leaves everyone spellbound.” Tanya Bruce-Lockhart, Director, Beaminster Festival

“Their performance was absolutely world class showing exquisite musicianship. It was one of the musical highlights of Canterbury Festival 2010.”

Rosie Turner, Festival Director “Gerard McChrystal’s concept for his Stand Up project, which he presented at Benslow Music Trust in July 2010, is

immensely appealing. His choice of repertoire brilliantly mixes the accoustic with the electronic and spirituality with

ebullience, and he includes a healthy measure of new – but always meaningful and expressive – work. His staggering

virtuosity is lightly worn, he holds his audience spellbound in slower, meditative music, and he presents his programme in a winningly direct, informal and personable manner. Stand Up appeals equally to audiences of listeners experienced and inexperienced alike. I unhesitatingly recommend the event to any promoter.” Stephen Pettitt, Head of Music, Benslow Music Trust

“A real unexpected joy… wonderfully well played with extraordinary tone… I love the way Gerard McChrystal sounds… I absolutely love it… well done Gerard McChrystal.” David Mellor on Aria, Classic FM

“Historically, the combination of guitar and saxophone is an unconventional mix, so it was refreshing, albeit unsurprising, that this concert’s programme featured music written within the last decade. The compositions were modern and wellwritten but also melodic and accessible. Mid-morning magic!” Belfast Telegraph, Belfast Festival, BBC broadcast


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Saxophonist - Gerard McChrystal  

Gerard McChrystal's current projects.