Ashu has established an extraordinary ability to communicate with audiences around the world through his charismatic and emotive performance style, and is one of today's most engaging and pioneering musicians. While his virtuosity continues to thrill listeners, his artistry reaches far beyond this demonstrating a unique personality and musical voice. He has repeatedly defied conventions by winning major international awards and competitions traditionally won by pianists and violinists. Critics have described him as "just as much fun to watch as to listen to" (Dallas Morning News) and "ready to cultivate the masses" (Chicago Tribune). Ashu has developed a trailblazing career as the first and only full-time concert saxophone soloist.
Ashu, age 26, was born and raised in California and began playing the saxophone at age 10. After just a few years, he began entering competitions and found himself receiving a wide range of opportunities, including his recital debut, which took place at Carnegie Hall. Since then, solo performances have taken him throughout the world.
Ashu is internationally regarded for his solo concerts at venues including New York's Carnegie Hall, Ravinia Festival, Zurich's Tonhalle, NY Central Park, Vienna's Konzerthaus, Cape Town City Hall, St. Petersburg's Hermitage, Kravis Center, Strathmore, and more. Regularly touring as soloist with orchestras around the world, he has recently been invited to perform concertos with major orchestras in Vienna, New York City, Chicago, St. Petersburg, Lisbon, Cape Town, Montreal, Edmonton, Prague, and more. Over the past two seasons, Ashu's concerto appearances included major halls throughout Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Finland, New Zealand, Singapore, France, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, Poland, Austria, Portugal, Norway, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Canada, French West Indies, and the USA.
Recently, Ashu was selected as the winner of the prestigious "Audience Award" at the renowned International Musical Olympus Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, competing against the First Prize winners of the world's foremost violin, piano and voice competitions. The festival's honorary committee included Daniel Barenboim, Valery Gergiev, Yo-Yo Ma, Yuri Temirkanov, and Mariss Jansons. As a result, Ashu has been invited to perform concertos and recitals next year in a number of the most revered concerts halls worldwide.
While most people have never heard the saxophone in concert music, Ashu has begun to change this. He says, "It's really an incredible instrument. It can be played with such emotional intensity and sing like a voice. It's capable of tremendous beauty." With the unique ability to captivate general as well as classical audiences, Ashu has shown that the concert saxophone can reach beyond stylistic categorization and to a large diversity of people. He has also shown it can attract younger and new listeners into the concert hall being a relatively fresh instrument to classical audiences.
Ashu's recent recital engagements in the USA include such prestigious series as the Ravinia Festival, La Jolla Music Society, Strathmore, Kravis Center, Dumbarton Oaks, Rockefeller Series, Performance Santa Fe, and more.
Ashu has also won First Prizes at competitions including the International Heida Hermanns Competition, Houston Symphony Concerto, International Salon De Virtuosi Career Grant, International Kingsville Wind Instrumentalist, American Opera Society, National Midland-Odessa, National Lennox/RSO, National Federation of Music Clubs, National George S. Howard, National Alliance for Excellence, Northwestern University Concerto, and Houston Symphony Flores-Smith competitions.
With a warm and engaging personality, Ashu has been featured on NBC, CBS, NPR, CBC and numerous other live TV and radio broadcasts worldwide. He also arranges works for saxophone which he regularly performs in his concerts.
Ashu received his Bachelor and Masters of Music degrees from Northwestern University under the guidance of renowned saxophone teacher Frederick Hemke, and he is currently based in the Chicago area.
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