An evening of music by Bach, Grovlez, Glazunov, and a world premiere by Debra Kaye

Jean-Pierre Schmitt
Jean-Pierre Schmitt
Javier Oviedo
Javier Oviedo

Debra Kaye

On Saturday November 7, 2009 at 7:30PM, classical saxophonist Javier Oviedo (soprano and alto saxophones) will appear as a guest artist with the New York Chamber Virtuosi under the baton of conductor Jean-Pierre Schmitt. The benefit concert will take place at the Teatro at the Italian Academy, Columbia University, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue (between 116th/118th Streets). TIckets will not be available at the door but may be purchased in advance for a donation of $35 and can be obtained by calling 917 539 5828. Proceeds will go towards the Classical Saxophone Project, supported by the New York Foundation for the Arts.


  • J.S. Bach:  Concerto for oboe and orchestra, transcribed for soprano sax by Javier Oviedo
  • A. Glazunov:   Concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra,
  • Gabriel Grovlez:  Suite for alto saxophone and orchestra,
  • Debra Kaye:  Changing Forms
  • Eugene Bozza:  Aria, (orchestration by Jean-Pierre Schmitt)
  • Louis Mayeur:  Variations Brillantes on the Carnival of Venise (orchestration by Schmitt)
  • Saint-Saens:  Le Deluge
  • Pierne:   Menuet du Roy and La Veillee de l’Ange Gardien

In May 2006, saxophonist Javier Oviedo teamed with French conductor Jean-Pierre Schmitt to begin a body of research and exploration of the original “classical” repertoire of the saxophone.  which has since peaked the interest of many of the most prominent figures in the classical music world.  Among those is the late French conductor, Jean Fournet, who himself expressed enthusiastic encouragement.

The main focus of this project, entitled “The Classical Saxophone” ( is to promote the much lesser known repertoire written for the saxophone and orchestra, with particular emphasis on the music by French composers of the turn of the 20th-Century.  As the saxophone is a French instrument, with French patents dating from the mid-1840’s, the first composers who took notice of its wide range of expression, were indeed, from France.  In fact, composers from Claude Debussy and Jacques Ibert to Florent Schmitt and Vincent D’Indy, composed music for the saxophone in a variety of settings from chamber music to solo concert music.  Despite the fame of these musicians, the saxophone still remains widely known as an instrument of jazz and popular music.


Acclaimed for his lustrous tone and formidable technique, New York-based Javier Oviedo has traveled across the U.S. and to three continents, bringing the significant but underplayed classical saxophone repertoire to new and appreciative audiences.  His engagements with orchestras such as the New Jersey Symphony, The Louisiana Philharmonic, and Orchestre Pasdeloup were great crowd-pleasers and have garnered invitations to play from around the world.  He has a special affinity for France and its history with the saxophone, and his musicological detective work has unearthed some forgotten gems of music for solo saxophone and orchestra. His impassioned performances of this repertoire have led to his  highly successful orchestral debut in Paris in 2008, and to a recording with Orchestre Pasdeloup – The Classical Saxophone, available for purchase at As both a soloist and a chamber musician, Mr. Oviedo has performed in many of New York’s most prestigious locations such as Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Steinway Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and the Dag Hammerskjöld Auditorium at The United Nations.  He is a charter member of The F.R.E.D. Chamber Players and plays on all their concerts, and he was an original member of the Elision Saxophone Quartet and can be heard on the latter’s LIVE Through the Years.

Praised for his precision and elegance at the podium, Jean-Pierre Schmitt was trained in the purest French conducting tradition, under the tutelage of his mentor and friend, maestro Jean Fournet. He has worked with the Conservatory Paris V youth orchestras and the International Orchestra in Paris. Soon after his arrival in the U.S. in 1988 maestro Schmitt was invited to conduct the Classic Chamber Orchestra of Connecticut, and the New York Lawyers’ Orchestra. He is greatly admired by the orchestra members he has conducted and possesses a rare ability to convey his musical insights to the performers.   He founded The French-American Chamber Orchestra in New York, with whom he performed in such venues as the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Florence Gould Hall and the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium at the United Nations, where the ensemble was invited by the French delegation. He has recorded with this orchestra both Haydn concerti for cello, featuring soloist Arianne Lallemand. Mr. Schmitt is the permanent conductor of the New York Wind Symphony. He has worked extensively with classical saxophonist Javier Oviedo to make the repertoire of this instrument known to a larger public. They performed with the Louisiana Chamber Orchestra and in 2008 released a recording: The Classical Saxophone–a French love story with the Orchestre Pasdeloup in Paris and with Mr. Oviedo as soloist. Mr. Schmitt has been invited as guest conductor on several occasions to lead both the Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Macedonia in the capital city of Skopje.

Composer Debra Kaye has written in an array of genres including chamber music, opera, art song, choral, and theatrical music. A graduate of Mannes College of Music, many of her collaborations have involved her colleagues there. She has received numerous commissions and her music has been performed throughout New York City and beyond. With roots in the classical tradition, her work is also influenced by jazz, and by her studies in Dalcroze Eurhythmics. Whether writing in a serious or a lighter style, Ms. Kaye’s aim is to communicate viscerally, often along a wide range of emotion. Honors include grants from Meet the Composer, The Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, Mannes College of Music, an Edward T. Cone Fellowship; residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. From 2003-2006 she served as executive director of the New York Composers Circle and is currently on the board of the Howland Cultural Center’s Chamber Music Circle in Beacon, NY.

Ms. Kaye holds degrees from Mannes College of Music and New York University and has been on the faculty of the Mannes College of Music Pre-College since 1991.