May 14, 2004

Contact: Becca Ramspott, School of Fine Arts, (785) 864-5567.

KU saxophone quartet wins national Down Beat award for 4th time since 1994

LAWRENCE -- Winning awards is becoming an annual rite of passage for students of Vince Gnojek, professor of saxophone and woodwind division director at the University of Kansas.

Under Gnojek's direction, the KU Saxophone Quartet I recently won a Down Beat magazine Annual Student Music Award as Best Classical Instrumental Chamber Music for the second year in a row. It is the fourth time the group, which features KU's best saxophone students every year, has won the award; it also was presented with the award in 1994 and 1996.

Down Beat, one of the world's leading jazz and contemporary music publications, presents the award annually. Students and educators nominate themselves in an open call for recorded performances and applications, which are due each year at the end of December. Honors in various categories are announced the following spring in high school, performing arts institution and college levels, and winners are featured in the June edition of the magazine.

"It is always an honor to win this award, especially since we are competing in a chamber music category that includes several groups of instruments, from string quartets to woodwind and brass quintets to trombone choirs," Gnojek said, noting that the saxophone tends to be considered a lesser classical instrument than the others.

Participants send in at least 20 minutes of music for judging. This year, Saxophone Quartet I's selections included two original compositions: "Quatuor" by French composer Alfred Desenclos and "July" by contemporary composer Michael Torke.

The KU Saxophone Studio is a noted saxophone studio in the country. The 23 students in the studio include two doctor of musical arts candidates, a master of music candidate and 19 undergraduate music majors. In addition to performing regularly as soloists and chamber musicians, they contribute to all of the bands and jazz ensembles within the Department of Music and Dance.

The Department of Music and Dance is one of three academic units of the KU School of Fine Arts, which also is the parent organization for the Department of Art, the Department of Design and the Lied Center of Kansas.

Members of the 2004 Saxophone Quartet I are listed below with hometown information (when available):

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Overland Park
Elaine Fukunaga, junior in piano performance, daughter of Ed and Diane Fukunaga; Blue Valley Northwest High School graduate; tenor saxophone

From Shawnee
Kevin Gosa, master's degree student in saxophone performance, son of Barb and Gary Gosa; Kettle Moraine High School, Wales, Wis., graduate; soprano saxophone.

LEAVENWORTH COUNTY
From Leavenworth
Daniel "Danny" Loental, senior in saxophone performance, son of Diane Loental; Rolla (Mo.) Senior High School graduate; alto saxophone.

RENO COUNTY
From Nickerson
Dustin Bauerle, senior in music, son of Larry Bauerle; Nickerson High School graduate; baritone saxophone.

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