One of Texas Tech University’s School of Music undergraduate saxophone quartets, the Sphera Quartet, is named a finalist in the MTNA Chamber Music Competition!
The Music Teachers National Association holds a competition for young musicians every year, beginning in a preliminary round in cities across the nation before a final round at the conference's site. This year, the Sphera Quartet is one of the final seven chamber wind ensembles selected to perform at the MTNA National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in mid-March.
The Sphera Quartet features
· Blaine Majors on Soprano Saxophone; Senior in Music Education; Corpus Christi, Texas
· Roger Dominguez on Alto Saxophone; Junior in Music Education; Yoakum, Texas
· Tristan Wright on Tenor Saxophone; Sophomore in Psychology; Lubbock, Texas
· Zachary Brown on Baritone Saxophone; Sophomore in General Studies; Round Rock, Texas
These students grew up learning and performing in public school bands and played in saxophone quartets during high school. In our interview with Blaine Majors, he shared with us that his quartet participated in competitions during his high school years, and it was something he wanted to continue in college.
When we asked where the meaning of their name came from, Blaine Majors shared,
“Sphera means ‘the whole world or globe.' We like to think of it as a group on the horizon of being widely known. A Texas Tech saxophone group has not made a competition since 2019, when the Aruna Quartet won the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. We hope to be the next Texas Tech saxophone group that succeeds years of greatness.”
Texas Tech Professor of Saxophone David Dees, the group's teacher and coach, carefully chose the members of the Sphera Quartet who want to do whatever it takes to give themselves the best chance to succeed. Because they are determined to do well, the quartet practices their music 7-9 hours a week. Due to the differences in each member's schedule, a lot of the chamber music practice is on one's own. However, these students work diligently on their own so that when they meet for group practice and weekly coachings, they are ready to take things to the next level of artistry.
The Sphera Quartet will be performing a variety of works for the competition, including.
· Cape Cod Chips by Hiromi Uehara
· Memory from Nepomuk's Dances by Marcelo Zarvos
· Polar Vortex by Chris Evan Hass
· Variations Saxophoniques by Fernande Decruck
Congratulations to the Sphera Quartet and Professor Dees on this outstanding accomplishment! We wish the group the best of luck in Atlanta.