Ashu, saxophone - Biography


Concert saxophonist Ashu, age 26, has continually defied conventions winning major international awards and competitions traditionally won by pianists and violinists. He made his recital debut at Carnegie Hall and, at age 16, made his concerto debut at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Since then, solo concerts have taken him throughout the world.

Ashu's concerto appearances last year included major halls throughout Russia, South Africa, Great Britain, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Kyrgyzstan, New Zealand, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Canada, and the USA, with recent venues including Carnegie Hall, Zurich Tonhalle, NY Central Park, Vienna Konzerthaus, Cape Town City Hall, St. Petersburg Hermitage, and Singapore Esplanade. Other recent solo tours have taken him throughout Vienna, Lisbon, Munich, France, Norway, and the French West Indies.

Ashu's playing has been described as "just as much fun to watch as it is to listen to him." (Dallas Morning News) and "Ready to cultivate the masses" (Chicago Tribune). With a dynamic style that captivates audiences, Ashu has shown that the concert saxophone can reach beyond stylistic categorization and to a large diversity of people. While most audiences have never heard the saxophone in concert music, Ashu has begun to change this.

Ashu was recently selected as the winner of the prestigious "Audience Prize" 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, he has been invited to perform concertos and recitals next year at Carnegie Hall and a number of the most revered concerts halls worldwide.

Ashu's recent recital engagements in the USA include such prestigious series as the Ravinia Festival, Kravis Center, Strathmore, La Jolla Music Society, Dumbarton Oaks, Rockefeller Series, and more. With a growing demand from major orchestras worldwide, Ashu's recent engagements as concerto soloist include the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony, St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, Montreal Chamber Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic, Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon, Lapland Chamber Orchestra, and Tallinn Philharmonic Society.

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.

Ashu has been featured in interview and solo performance on NBC, CBS, NPR, and numerous other live TV and radio broadcasts worldwide. Ashu grew up in Walnut Creek, California and moved to The Woodlands, Texas with his family at age 12. He received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in saxophone performance 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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