Friends of Music presents Ashu on saxophone and Kuang-Hao Huang on piano in concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 20, at Calvary Assembly of God, 518 Fir St., Brookings.
At age 26, Ashu has established himself as a concert saxophonist by winning major competitions traditionally won by pianists and violinists.
Ashu was born and raised in California and began playing the saxophone at age 10 while growing up in Walnut Creek, Calif. He soon began entering competitions and found himself receiving a wide range of opportunities, including his recital debut, which took place at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, and his concerto debut, which took place at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.
Since then, solo performances have taken him throughout Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, Portugal, West Indies, and the United States. Upcoming concerts and planned in Australia, New Zealand, and the Baltic.
Regularly touring as soloist with orchestras throughout the U.S. and Europe, recent invitations have included the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon, with such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Vienna Konzerthaus.
While most people have never heard the saxophone in concert music, Ashu has begun to change this.
“It’s really an incredible instrument,” Ashu said. “It can play with such emotional intensity, sing like a voice, and effortlessly project in the largest of halls. It's capable of a lot of really beautiful things.”
Huang has performed throughout the U.S. as well as in Europe and Asia. He is most often heard as a collaborator, performing concerts and radio broadcasts with musicians from Chicago, including instrumentalists of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and singers with the Lyric Opera. He has been a regular guest of the Chicago Chamber Musicians and has performed with the Vermeer and Chicago String Quartets.
An advocate of new music, Huang gave the world premiere performances of solo works by Louis Andriessen and Chen Yi at Weill Hall as part of Carnegie Hall’s Millennium Piano Book Project. He has also premiered numerous ensemble works, including pieces by Jacob Bancks, Stacy Garrop, John Harbison, Daniel Kellogg, Rami Levin, James Matheson and Laura Schwendinger.
Huang is a member of Fulcrum Point New Music Project. He has been involved with the Chicago Chamber Musicians Composer Perspectives series since its inception in 2001.
Huang serves on the faculties of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, Concordia University-Chicago and the Merit School of Music.
Tickets for the concert are $15 for adults and are available at Wright’s Custom Framing and Art Supplies and at the door. Students younger than 18 are admitted free.