Saxophonist Julian Velasco ’20 MMus, a Bienen School alumnus and current doctoral student of Taimur Sullivan, has been named the winner of the Cedille Records Emerging Artist Competition. Cedille Records will produce Velasco’s debut solo recording for release in August 2022. This will be the first all-saxophone album on the label.

Velasco will also be featured in a solo recital on WFMT, Chicago's classical radio station.

As part of his competition repertoire, Velasco performed Come As You Are by Bienen alumnus Steven Banks ’17 MMus. His program also included Andre Waignein’s Rhapsody for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra and Amanda Harberg’s Court Dances. The live semifinal and final rounds of competition took place November 20-21.

Watch Velasco's final round performance below.

About Julian Velasco

Julian Velasco is the soprano saxophonist of ~Nois saxophone quartet and a founding member of indie-pop trio Dial-Up Stepmom. Raised in the diverse musical culture of Los Angeles, he draws inspiration from classical, jazz, experimental, and popular styles, whose influences inform his approach to all music. His passion for collaborating with living composers has led him to premiere more than 30 works.

At Chicago’s 2021 Ear Taxi Festival, Velasco with ~Nois quartet presented the world premiere of Annika Socolofsky’s I Tell You Me, which the Chicago Tribune called “among the most captivating compositions I heard the whole festival.” In Velasco’s recent fellowship at Bang on a Can’s Summer Festival, he was lauded by the New York Times as “…[being] given moments to shine... [one of the students] ready to build ensembles of their own…the saxophonist Julian Velasco, for example, excelled…”

Velasco has garnered recognition at several other recent competitions. Among his many awards are a 2020 Luminarts Fellowship in Classical Winds, first prize in the Music Teachers National Association 2020 Chamber Music Division, and second prizes in the North American Saxophone Alliance 2020 Collegiate Solo and Quartet divisions.

He holds bachelor's degrees in saxophone performance and jazz studies from Michigan State University and a master's degree from Northwestern University.

To learn more, read his Artist Spotlight on the Cedille Records website.

  • Taimur Sullivan
  • woodwinds