Julian Velasco, saxophone and Nathan Canfield, piano

Program

  • Steven Banks (b. 1993) - Come As You Are (2020) (20’)
  • I. Lift My Eyes (My Lord, What A Morning)
  • II. Times of the Storm (Wade in the Water)
  • III. Strength of My Life (His Eye Is On the Sparrow)
  • IV. Lift My Hands (I Still Have Joy)
  • Mel Bonis (1858-1937); arr. Brandon Quarles - Sonate for Flute and Piano Op. 64 (1904) (17’)
  • I. Andantino con moto
  • II. Scherzo - Vivace
  • III. Adagio
  • IV. Finale - Moderato

Described as a “phenomenal sax soloist” (Chicago Tribune), Julian Velasco (he/him) is a Chicago-based Mexican-American artist, educator, and advocate for contemporary arts. Raised in the diverse musical culture of Los Angeles, his background draws from classical, jazz, experimental, and popular styles whose influences inform his approach to all music.

Known as “both an infectiously joyous interpreter of new music and a monster improviser” (Chicago Tribune), Velasco has premiered over 100 new works, collaborating with artists including the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Mei-Ann Chen, Billy Childs, Nico Muhly, Alex Mincek, PRISM Quartet, Annika Socolofsky, Augusta Read Thomas, Hans Thomalla, and Rodney Whitaker. His first solo album As We Are debuted at #4 on Billboard’s Traditional Classical Album Charts, regarded as “fabulous” (Third Coast Review) and “gorgeous” (Gramophone).

Velasco is the Artistic Director and soprano saxophonist of the ~Nois saxophone quartet. Founded in 2016, ~Nois has become one of the premier ensembles in the U.S. ~Nois has been awarded top prizes at prestigious chamber music competitions including the Fischoff and the M-Prize competitions.

Cedille Record’s first ever emerging artist and a Luminarts Cultural Foundation Fellow in Classical Music, Velasco holds degrees from Northwestern University, where he is currently a doctoral candidate, and Michigan State University. His teachers include James Barrera, Diego Rivera, Joseph Lulloff, and Taimur Sullivan.

Nathan Canfield serves as a staff pianist at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. An eager collaborator, he cherishes frequently performing with musicians from his native Illinois and beyond, including members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. He is also a passionate arranger and transcriber for his instrument. In 2025, he plans to release a debut album featuring his own arrangements of Sergei Rachmaninov’s lesser-known works. He is an alumnus of Northwestern University, where he completed a Master of Music degree under of the guidance of James Giles. In addition to performing, he maintains a private teaching studio in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago.

About the Dame Myra Hess Concerts

The concerts are generously sponsored by the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and by individual donors.

Upcoming Performances

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