Jeffrey Heisler

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Award-winning saxophonist and soprano chair of the Assembly Quartet

“The Légère Signature Series Saxophone reeds offer outstanding response and flexible tonal control for the most discerning musician with the added benefit of impeccable reliability.” – Jeffrey Heisler

Jeffrey Heisler serves on the faculty of Oakland University (Rochester, MI) as Professor of Saxophone and Conducting. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree specializing in contemporary music (2010) and a Master of Music degree in saxophone performance (2006) from Bowling Green State University where he studied with Distinguished Research/Artist Professor John Sampen. In addition, he earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree (2003) from Central Michigan University where he studied saxophone with John Nichol.

Among his significant accomplishments was a 2005 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition 1st prize gold medal as the soprano saxophonist with the Blue Square Saxophone Quartet, a win that garnered national acclaim. Heisler has performed several concert tours throughout the United States, Italy, and France and has appeared on the prestigious Portes Ouvertes aux Noveaux Talents concert series in Paris (2005). In addition, he has worked with the Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich on a transcription of her violin work Episodes for soprano saxophone and piano, a work of which Heisler gave the world premiere in March 2007. In the summer of 2007, Heisler collaborated with electronic music composer Morton Subotnick in creating a new version of his In Two Worlds for alto saxophone and interactive computer (MAX/MSP). In 2008, he gave the North American premiere of Luciano Berio’s Recit (Chemins VII) for alto saxophone and orchestra with the Bowling Green State University Philharmonia and performed the world premieres of his composer approved transcriptions of Steve Reich’s Vermont Counterpoint (for saxophone(s) and pre-recorded tape), Chen Yi’s Monologue (for solo soprano saxophone), and Louis Andriessen’s Elegy (for tenor saxophone and piano).

An advocate of contemporary music, Heisler promotes the creation of new repertoire for the saxophone by commissioning and premiering works by composers such as Louis Andriessen, Andres Carrizo, Halim El-Dabh, Anthony Donofrio, David Gillingham, Marc Mellits, Timothy Stulman, Marilyn Shrude, Andrea Reinkemeyer, Steve Reich, Chen Yi, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. In addition, he has presented the American premieres of Recit (Chemins VII) by Luciano Berio, Blitz by Vincent Dunet, Magic by Ivan Fedele, Entfuhrungby Karlheinz Stockhausen and in 2009, premiered Double Image; a concerto for saxophone(s) and wind ensemble by David R. Gillingham. 

Heisler has performed with Brave New Works, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Benny Goodman Orchestra, John Philip Sousa Band, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Midland Symphony Orchestra, Bowling Green Symphony Orchestra, and the Stuttgart Ballet Orchestra. He is in demand as a guest recitalist and has appeared at Ball State University’s New Music Festival, Grand Valley State University’s Free Play Concert Series, Way Library Young Artist Concert Series, Central Michigan University’s Alumni Concerts, BGSU’s annual New Music & Art Festivals, the CBDNA Region V Conference, the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conferences, and World Saxophone Congresses. Additionally, he has been a featured soloist with the Wayne State University Wind Symphony, CMU Wind Ensemble, CMU Symphony Orchestra, BGSU Symphonic Band and the BGSU Philharmonia. As a clinician, Heisler has presented masterclasses at Bowling Green State University, Interlochen Arts Academy, Wayne State University, Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Guizhou University (China), the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and the Yamaha Artist Center in Taipei, Taiwan. 

Competition successes in addition to the Fischoff National Chamber Music Gold Medal 1st prize include the Outstanding Collegiate Classical Instrumentalist in Downbeat Magazine’s 2002 Student Music Awards, Patricia Nixon Memorial Woodwind Competition (2002), Jack Saunders Jazz Award (2002), CMU Concerto Competition (2002), MTNA (Michigan) Collegiate Solo Competition (2002), and 2005 MTNA National Chamber Music Competition.

In May of 2010, Dr. Heisler became the first Doctor of Musical Arts to graduate from Bowling Green State University’s contemporary music program. Heisler has also served on the faculties of Kent State University (Kent, OH) as Professor of Saxophone and Director of Bands, Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH) and Wayne State University (Detroit, MI). Jeffrey Heisler is a Selmer Performing Artist-Clinician and performs exclusively on Selmer Paris Saxophones.