The World Saxophone Congress was first organized in 1969, in Chicago, and so far it has been held, apart from the United States of America, in England, Scotland, Spain, Slovenia, France, Germany, Japan, Thailand, Italy and Canada. It is a unique opportunity to meet top professional musicians, students and amateurs, saxophonists of all styles and musical expressions ranging from classical music to jazz, to ethnic and world music.
The Congress enables its participants to present themselves as soloists or as chamber musicians with small ensembles, wind, string or symphony orchestras, to exchange opinions and experiences through lectures, presentations, various workshops and discussions with colleagues and friends, and especially to present and give first performances of new works by contemporary composers written for saxophone. In addition to musicians, the Congress is also attended by instrument makers, manufacturers of saxophone equipment, as well as distributors and publishers of scores and other publications.
A special wish of the organizer of this Saxophone Congress in Zagreb is for the concert to take place at public venues to the greatest extent possible, and not only in professional circles; for the programs to become a part of the cultural summer scene of Zagreb, whether performed on the usual concert stages or at numerous unconventional locations. Certain Congress programs will be offered to the organizers of festivals and cultural events all over Croatia.
Special emphasis will be placed on educational programs for children and young saxophonists.
Organizing such a great project would not be possible without the support of the City of Zagreb, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defense of the RC, University of Zagreb and Zagreb Tourist Board, who recognized the value and the importance of the project. Thanks to that a series of institutions will participate in the Congress, for instance Croatian National Theatre, Museum of Arts and Crafts, the University of Zagreb Student Centre, Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall, Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, Croatian Radiotelevision Symphony Orchestra and Croatian Radiotelevision Jazz Orchestra, Croatian Army Orchestra, The Cantus Ensemble for Contemporary Music and Zagreb Soloists.
We would like to thank previous Congress organizers from Ljubljana, Minneapolis, St. Andrews and Strasbourg for valuable information and advice. Their experiences will help Zagreb to be a reputable host of the VIII. World Saxophone Congress.
Artistic Director of the VIII. World Saxophone Congress
It was in Chicago in 1969 that the World Saxophone Congress was born. Paul Brodie and I were the co-hosts for organizing this memorable occasion, and were hoping for an attendance of at least 100. In reality, there were nearly 500 saxophone enthusiasts who participated, all eager to share in the tribute to this magnificent creation of Aldophe Sax. During the past 49 years the WSC has taken place in many different countries, making it truly a world event. The principal organizer for World Saxophone Congress XVIII is the Music Academy of Zagreb where the saxophone class was established in 1977 through the effort of Josip Nochta. Although clarinet was Josip Nochta’s primary instrument, as a youngster he played the saxophone, an instrument that he always loved. Being solo clarinetist in the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, he was often called upon to play saxophone when the program required it. As in most academies of this era, however, the saxophone was not included in the curriculum. Josip Nochta was Professor of Clarinet at the Zagreb Academy of Music, so when in 1976 Dragan Sremec and colleagues petitioned the Ministry of Education to include the saxophone, Professor Nochta had a sympathetic ear. The class opened the following year, an extraordinary event, as even the Academy in Vienna did not offer the saxophone until may years later. The first graduate in saxophone from the Zagreb Academy was Dragan Sremec in 1981. He was followed by Goran Merčep, Saša Nestorovič, and Matjaž Drevenšek who, with Dragan Sremec, comprise the esteemed Zagreb Saxophone Quartet. As a frequent visitor to Zagreb, I have always been very impressed by the high level of saxophone playing and teaching. The interest in, and recognition of the saxophone’s superb medium for musical expression is readily apparent. In addition, given Croatia’s rich cultural environment, and with its new state-of-the art University of Zagreb Academy of Music, Zagreb is the ideal venue for WSCXVIII. To Dragan Sremec, and to each and every member of his wonderful support team, I extend my heartfelt congratulations for hosting the eighteenth World Saxophone Congress Your tireless efforts have resulted in a truly memorable event that has provided a huge window to the world for our instrument.
Eugene Rousseau, honoray president of the XVIII World Saxophone Congress