National Saxophone Day on November 6 is a celebration of the versatile and beloved instrument, and Dr. Sarah Roberts, Interim Director of Performing Arts at UT Tyler and a lifelong saxophone enthusiast, shared her insights on the instrument’s origins and the joy of celebrating it.
Dr. Roberts’s fascination with the saxophone began in the fifth grade when she watched a classic Sesame Street episode about its creation. Since then, she has played the saxophone in various ensembles, ranging from classical orchestras to rock and roll bands. She emphasizes that the saxophone, despite being perceived as a well-established instrument, is relatively new, with its invention dating back to the mid-1800s.
Invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax, the saxophone faced a unique challenge when it was introduced. At the time, orchestras and brass bands were already well-established, leaving the saxophone to find its place in the world of music. Dr. Roberts likens the saxophone to a chameleon because of its incredible versatility and adaptability to different musical ensembles.
Adolphe Sax’s invention faced opposition and struggled to find acceptance in the music industry. Some influential figures disliked his version of the saxophone and even attempted to ban it. Despite these challenges, the saxophone has prevailed and carved a niche for itself in various musical genres and ensembles, winning the hearts of musicians and music lovers worldwide. National Saxophone Day is a time to appreciate the instrument’s remarkable journey and its enduring appeal.