November 09, 2023

Gail Levinsky, professor of music at Susquehanna University, and her trio have been invited to perform at the prestigious World Saxophone Congress in Spain where they will premiere original music by university composers.

Levinsky’s Spectrum Trio — which also includes Lorraine Duso Kitts, professor of double reeds at the University of Central Arkansas, on oboe and bassoon, and Jaime Namminga, assistant professor of music at Susquehanna, on piano — will perform in Las Palmas, the Gran Canaria, in December.

The trio will present a “send-off” performance of their pieces at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, in Stretansky Concert Hall in the Cunningham Center for Music and Art. Their recital precedes the performance of the University Symphonic Band.

Now in its 54th year, the World Saxophone Congress seeks to encourage the commission and performance of new repertoire, the presentation of recital programs and clinics, and the establishment of methods of communication among saxophonists. Levinsky’s trio was selected to perform for the congress through a competitive application process.

“As a professional musician, being able to highlight one’s work on a world stage among my peers is an incredible opportunity,” Levinsky said. “And to do so while premiering the compositions by my colleagues at Susquehanna makes this a particularly special experience.”

The trio will present the world-premiere performances of two pieces by University President Jonathan Green and Patrick Long, professor of music at Susquehanna.

Latin for reed trio or three reeds, Green’s “Trio Arundi” gave him the opportunity to write for saxophone and bassoon and oboe, which was an intriguing proposition, he said.

“This brief piece is a thorny musical discourse built around tritones that occasionally ventures into a simpler tango only to return to its initial prickliness,” Green said. A composer and conductor, Green is the author of eight music-reference books and over 160 compositions, including seven symphonies, three piano concertos, a wide range of chamber music and many songs and choral works.

Long’s “Trio for oboe, alto saxophone and piano” follows the form of many classical chamber works. The first movement is the most musically substantial, Long said, while the second movement is slow and expressive and the final movement is a “technically challenging thrill ride.” A composer and percussionist, Long has completed over 90 premiered works for orchestra, band, chamber ensembles, soloists, young players, theatre and film. His reputation beyond Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna valley is primarily based on his works for live performers and performance-driven multimedia.

Spectrum Trio is a newly formed ensemble that emerged from the Topaz Trio. Founded in 2019, the ensemble explores the tonal sounds created by the unique combination of the oboe and saxophone families.

Kitts earned her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, her master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music, and her doctorate from the University of Michigan. Levinsky earned her bachelor’s degree from Butler University, and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University. Namminga earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Sioux Falls, her master’s degree from the University of North Carolina School of Arts, and her doctorate from Arizona State University Tempe. Long earned his bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and his master’s degree and doctorate from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. 

Learn more about Susquehanna’s Department of Music.