Widely recognized as one of the world’s leading classical saxophonists, Kenneth Tse is certainly one of the instrument’s outstanding proponents on any saxophone aficionado’s short list. He burst on the scene in 1996 as the winner of the prestigious New York Artists International Award, which resulted in an acclaimed debut recital at Carnegie Hall, after which he was hailed as “a young virtuoso” by the New York Times. The Alex Award from the National Alliance for Excellence led to another Carnegie Hall performance. These are but two of the multitude of awards that Tse has garnered in less than a decade and a half. Since then he has been a frequent soloist on five continents, including solo appearances with the Des Moines Symphony, United States Navy Band, Slovenia Army Band, La Armónica Band of Bunol, Spain, Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra and Hong Kong Sinfonietta among others. He is frequent featured artist at events such as the triennial World Saxophone Congress and North American Saxophone Alliance conferences. He has also been a guest clinician at conferences hosted by the California Band Directors’ Association, Iowa Bandmaster’s Association, and the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinics. Prestigious universities and conservatories worldwide, such as Moscow Conservatory and Paris Conservatory have invited him to give master classes. He was recently a judge, representing the USA, at the 6th Adolphe Sax International Competition in Dinant, Belgium.
Tse has been an active recording artist since his first CD for Crystal Records at age 23. His discography now includes a total of six Crystal CDs—presenting a wide variety of saxophone repertoire, most of it new, some with assisting artists—as well as six other releases and more in process on RIAX records, Enharmonic records, Arizona University Recordings and MSR Classics. Critical review of these disks have yielded such comments from Fanfare Magazine as “Hong Kong-born Kenneth Tse is of the caliber of instrumentalists whose very sound is captivating,” and in American Record Guide, “supremely elegant tone…sheer virtuosity.” Saxophone Journal opined, “Kenneth Tse is a phenomenal saxophonist with incredible technical and interpretive skills. His tone is absolutely lovely. His fingers are precise and rapid. His interpretive skills are excellent having the ability to create vast aural fantasies in the listeners’ musical soul. The true magic of music is to take a series of ink blots on a piece of paper and turn them into temporal living entities that almost live and breathe. And…Kenneth Tse is the ‘master magician’.”
As an advocate for new music, Tse has had more than thirty works dedicated to him by notable American composers such as David DeBoor Canfield, John Cheetham, Andrea Clearfield, David Froom, Perry Goldstein, Greg Fritze, Walter Hartley, as well as Luis Serrano Alarcón of Spain, Guy Lacour of France, Barry Cockcroft of Australia and Piet Swerts of Belgium. Tse has recorded and premiered many of these concertos, sonatas, solo works and chamber pieces. His arrangements for the saxophone are published by Reed Music, Australia, and his articles and interviews have been featured in the Saxophone Journal, The Instrumentalist, Fanfare Magazine, Saxophone Symposium, Iowa Bandmaster Association Journal, Japan’s Piper and The Sax Magazines, and Yamaha Education Series.
Kenneth Tse has received numerous awards and grants including the prestigious Hong Kong Jockey Club scholarship, New York Music Performance Trust Fund, Indiana University Marcel Mule Scholarship, University of Iowa CD Subvention Fund, Arts and Humanities Initiative Grant, Barlow Commission Fund, as well as an honorary life membership from the Contemporary Record Society.
In 2009, desiring to give back to his home city, Hong Kong, Tse created the first Hong Kong International Saxophone Symposium which attracted over 70 saxophonists from around the world to join the event. In addition to Tse, Eugene Rousseau from U. of Minnesota and Claude Delange from Paris Conservatory were the faculty members to 12 active participants from three continents. With the tremendous success of the premiere event, Tse has formed the Hong Kong International Saxophone Society as part of an effort to facilitate more interest in saxophone performance as well as to continue hosting the symposium every two years to expose Asian saxophonists to world-class saxophone performers and teachers.
Tse's students have garnered high recognition through competitions and recordings as well as concert appearances. During the 2010 North American Saxophone Alliance National Competitions, Tse's students from University of Iowa won three of the top four awards in the conference's classical competitions (in both solo and chamber music categories), the first time for a single studio to do so in the history of the conference. In the same month, his students also won the top chamber music prize and the second solo prize at the Music Teachers' National Association Competitions. Moreover, to end the academic year, his graduate-student quartet also won the silver medal at the prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Tse is currently Professor of Saxophone at the University of Iowa, President of the North American Saxophone Alliance, and serving his third term as President of the International Saxophone Committee. He holds degrees from the University of Illinois, Champaign—Urbana (D.M.A.), Indiana University (B.M., M.M. and Artist Diploma) and Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He was the first saxophonist to receive the prestigious Artist Diploma from Indiana University School of Music. More information and media clips are available at www.kenneth-tse.com.
Recent Highlights▪ Master class at Paris Conservatory
▪ Master class and recital at Conservatoire National de Région de Strasbourg
▪ Master class at Le conservatoire de Boulogne-Billancourt, with studios of Professor Jean-Michel Goury and Professor Jean-Yves Fourmeau
▪ Master class and recital at Conservatoire à rayonnement départemental d'Aulnay sous Bois
▪ Guest recital and master classes at California State University Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, Long Beach, CA
▪ Soloist and clinician with the Philharmonic Winds, Singapore
▪ Solo performance with Cathedral City High School Band at Walt Disney Hall
▪ Eugene Rousseau Saxophone Workshop Guest Faculty, Shell Lake, WI
▪ 15th WASBE Conference solo performance and clinic, Chiayi City, Taiwan
▪ Recital with Minako and Nobuya Sugawa, Ginza Yamaha Hall, Tokyo, Japan
▪ Master class at Senzoku College of Music, Tokyo, Japan
▪ Master class at Kunitachi College of Music, Tokyo, Japan
▪ Guest recital and master class at Soai University, Osaka, Japan
▪ Guest soloist with Mi-bemol Saxophone Ensemble, Osaka, Japan
▪ Xinghai Conservatory of Music guest master classes and recital, GuangZhou, China
▪ Guest soloist, adjudicator, clinician and recitalist at the Fifth Taiwan Clinic, Taipei, Taiwan
▪ Guest soloist at 2nd Band Congress in Medellin, Colombia
▪ Conducted the University of Iowa Saxophone Ensemble at 64th Midwest International Clinic, Chicago, IL
▪ Master classes at Gnesin's College and Moscow Conservatory, Moscow, Russia
▪ Concerto performance with Columbus Indiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Columbus, IN
▪ Master classes and performance at Monash University, Melbourne Australia and Sydney Conservatory.
▪ Guest faculty at the 14th International Saxophone Meeting in Nova Gorica, Slovenia