Taylor Barbay Assad

saxophonist

(225)572-5563

Beyond World Premieres: What Makes a Piece "Stick"?

In our materialistic culture of always having the newest, most up-and-coming thing we often forget that there is merit in what we already have.

As a musician and saxophonist, I feel drawn to promote new music for the saxophone through world premiere performances but also perform works that are well written for the instrument and may not already be an established part of the repertoire.

What makes people play pieces again and again? Is it the use of extended techniques, newly integrated technology, or flashy technical passages? Is it because it is written by a specific composer? Was the recording played so convincingly by the world premiere performer? As a community, why are saxophonists drawn to certain pieces over others?

Personally, I look for some sort of distinct repetition and/or form. I also am drawn to moments of intensity, an underlying story, and more contemporary compositional processes.

How do saxophonists go about selecting works to perform more than once, and how do they eventually become a "standard" in our canon? What makes a new piece stick?