Classical saxophonist Arno Bornkamp is a unique figure in both the saxophone world and the classical music world in general. In his career, now spanning nearly 40 years, he has amazed the music world with his energetic and stylish interpretations, full of lyricism and passion. He believes in the saxophone as an instrument with an infinite amount of nuance and colors, reflecting the human soul with all its shadings of light and dark. Bornkamp is a natural storyteller on his instrument, and offers a highly personal take in his interpretations of all the music he plays.
Bornkamp's saxophone style is strongly rooted in the 20th century French tradition: his primary teachers were Ed Bogaard and the French saxophone legends Daniël Deffayet and Jean-Marie Londeix. Nonetheless, he was primarily influenced by the Dutch musical climate of the 1980s, a time when traditions were overthrown, dogmas were broken and classical music reached a huge audience. Bornkamp flourished greatly in this cultural climate, and together with Johan van der Linden, André Arends and Willem van Merwijk, he founded the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet (1982-2017). For a long period this quartet was one of the world’s greatest. One of their merits was opening the doors to make string quartet literature accessible to the saxophone quartet, such as the quartets by Debussy and Ravel, which they usually performed without sheet music. The Aurelia Quartet, later with Niels Bijl, Femke IJlstra and Juan Manuel Dominguez, has left a true legacy, which still serves as a source of inspiration for young quartets.
He has given more than 200 performances as soloist with orchestra, wherein he collaborated with conductors such as Hans Vonk, Jac van Steen, Lucas Vis, Thierry Fischer, Bernhard Klee, Jean-Bernard Pommier, Andrey Boreyko, Pierre-André Valade and others. His repertoire spans from the standard repertoire for saxophone to new, often commissioned concertos. Bornkamp finds it essential to pass on his know-how to new generations of musicians, and teaches at the Conservatory of Amsterdam where many of his students put his ideas into practice. He is also regularly invited to give master classes all over the world.
Bornkamp has released dozens of recordings under his own name, with the Aurelia Quartet, and in the context of other projects. His latest CD project is a solo project with music by Johann Sebastian Bach, which will be released by the German label Genuin in February 2020.
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, the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, and Hong Kong Sinfonietta among others. He is frequent featured soloist 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, including the Sydney Conservatory, Moscow Conservatory and Paris Conservatory have invited him to give master classes. He was recently judged 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. There are now a total of six Crystal CDs—presenting a wide variety of saxophone repertoire, most of it new, some with assisting artists—as well as other releases on varies labels. Critical review of these discs 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 over thirty works dedicated to him and more in progress by many notable American composers as well as international composers in Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Russia, Spain, Canada, Australia, and Belgium. Tse has recorded and premiered many of these concertos, sonatas, solo works and chamber pieces. His own 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 Magazine, and Yamaha Education Series. Desiring to give back to his home city, Hong Kong, Tse has also founded in 2009 the biennial Hong Kong International Saxophone Symposium, which connects saxophonists from Asia and Oceania with world-class saxophone performers and teachers in a week-long event.
Tse's students have garnered high recognition through competitions and recordings as well as concert appearances. Highlights include: winner of 2012 Music Teacher National Association National Solo Competition, winners of 2010 and 2012 North American Saxophone Alliance National Solo Competition (two consecutive wins by a single studio, a first in NASA’s history), semi-finalist of 5th International Adolphe Sax Competition (12 out of 160), Silver Medalist in the 2010 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition, winner of 2010 MTNA National Chamber Music Competition, and winner of 2009 Eastern Connecticut Symphony Instrumental Competition among others.
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.