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The Development of the Saxophone Soloists in the United States Navy Concert Band and Their Advocacy and Promotion of the Saxophone

Lincoln Havranek, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Unlike many instruments whose development can be traced to the orchestra, the saxophone’s growth has happened largely in the fields of jazz and in the military band traditions of the 20th and 21st centuries. This document investigates the responsibilities of the saxophone soloist in the United States Navy Concert Band, and subsequently the role the soloists played in the promotion and advocacy of the saxophone through performance, premieres, and the development of the U.S. Navy International Saxophone Symposium. This begins with a brief history of the saxophone’s use within the United States military bands, with a specific focus on its role within the United States Navy Band. Included is a discussion of its involvement within the ensemble, along with a review of prominent saxophonists who were members of this organization. Next is an examination of the emerging role of the saxophone as a solo vehicle in the United States Navy Concert Band. This includes a discussion of early soloists prior to 1967. This is achieved through a brief biographical sketch of important figures, highlighting duties that were included as part of their commission in the Navy, as well as a listing of important concerts/tours, and finally, important works that were commissioned, are included in this resource. Musician Chief Master (Ret.) Dale Underwood, Musician Petty Officer (Ret.) Timothy Roberts, and Musician First Class Jonathan Yanik are recognized as seminal figures in the development of the modern military saxophonist. It is through their work in the Navy Band, the position of principal saxophonist has risen to become one of the most sought after positions in the saxophone profession. This document includes biographical information on each musician and career highlights (with a focus on important Navy Band events) as soloist with the United States Navy Concert Band. Through an analysis of key historical documents spanning 50 years and provided by the U.S. Navy Band, the impact of the saxophone upon the musical public is highlighted. Particular focus is placed on tours that were conducted that featured the saxophone in a solo role as well as pieces that were commissioned or premiered by these soloists. Also included in this document, is an exploration of the origins of the United States Navy International Saxophone Symposium and how the Symposium evolved under each soloist. Created in 1978, the United States Navy International Saxophone Symposium has developed into one of the leading events promoting both the jazz and classical pursuits of the saxophone. This Symposium is one of the most important events for the promotion of new music for saxophone. Included is mention of premieres, guest artists and clinicians, and important works premiered at the Symposium. Once again, this information is presented through an exploration of historical documents, interviews and articles. The appendices supply transcripts of all interviews, chronological lists of guest artists, and works that were premiered at the Symposium. The purpose of this study is to highlight the evolution of the position of principal saxophonist in the United States Navy Band, as well as the impact the individuals holding this position have had on the world of classical saxophone. This will be done by looking at the many pieces composed for these saxophonist, as well as works premiered. Attention is given to the recordings accomplished by each individual, along with their role in the promotion of the instrument through masterclasses and lectures. Included in this study is research into their lives as saxophonists outside of the Navy Band.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Havranek, Lincoln, "The Development of the Saxophone Soloists in the United States Navy Concert Band and Their Advocacy and Promotion of the Saxophone" (2018). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI10844914.