Jeremy Ruthrauff is a saxophonist, composer/improvisor and teacher based in the Chicago area active in the concert, jazz and experimental music arenas.
Freelance work involves regular performances with numerous prominent ensembles such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (including regular concerts at Symphony Center, the MusicNow contemporary music series, and performances at the summer Ravinia festival), Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago’s Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theater, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players (Contempo), Eighth Blackbird, Fulcrum Point New Music Project and the Chicago Saxophone Quartet.
He has given solo and chamber music performances at prestigious venues throughout the United States and in Europe such as Merkin Hall in New York City, the Teatro Rossini in Pesaro, Italy, the Ojai Music Festival (guest artist with the Grammy award-winning ensemble Eighth Blackbird), Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Chicago, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, and the Renaissance Society. He was recently featured as soloist on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary music concert series MusicNow in performing Jason Eckardt’s work Tangled Loops for soprano saxophone and piano. Frequent radio broadcasts include those in Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Lisbon (Portugal) and other cities.
Jeremy has commissioned and premiered numerous new works by leading composers including a sonata by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison. Significant recent Midwest and Chicago premieres include Louis Andreissen’s Hout at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Release with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra New Music Ensemble at Orchestra Hall (solo saxophone), Franco Donatoni’s solo saxophone concertino Hot with Fulcrum Point New Music Project, the Chicago premiere of John Adams’ Nixon in China with Chicago Opera Theater, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra first ever performance of Ralph Vaughn Williams’ Symphony No. 9, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago first ever performance of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. He presented the world premiere of Dutch composer Jacob TV’s (Jacob ter Veldhuis) seminal work Grab It! in a new version with tenor saxophone, electric guitar, bass, drums and a new film by the composer with the Fulcrum Point New Music Project. He performed the world premiere of Jacob TV’s multimedia opera The News with Fulcrum Point New Music Project as part of the Off the Wall concert series at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh in April of 2012.
Recital repertoire includes classical works by composers such as J.S. Bach and Robert Schumann, pieces from the early twentieth century such as those by Claude Debussy, Paul Hindemith and Heitor Villa-Lobos, and newer pieces including those by Luciano Berio, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Toru Takemitsu, Philip Glass and Steve Reich, among others.
Programs may often feature works from outside the traditional “concert” arena such as those by the great tango composer Astor Piazzolla, avant-garde jazz master Eric Dolphy’s alto solo on Tenderly, John Coltrane compositions and free improvisations.
Original solo compositions often utilize extensions of the solo saxophone with techniques such as multiphonics and circular breathing as means of expression. Larger scale pieces integrate these ideas with other performers and make use of improvised languages. His solo alto saxophone composition Circuits was recently selected to be presented on a joint concert sponsored by the American Composers Forum and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.
Interest in cross-disciplinary performances with visual artists, dancers/choreographers, theater and performance artists, puppet artists etc. has led to collaborations with the Chicago based performance ensembles Red Moon Theatre, Theatre Oobleck, Abiogenesis, Kinetic Delta Cor, and the French composer/visual artist Etienne Rolin.
CD’s include a recording with the Vision Saxophone Quartet entitled Conicality featuring the music of Iannis Xenakis, Franco Donatoni, Lukas Foss, Samuel Adler, M. William Karlins, Rudolph Bubalo, and Robert Steel. He also appears on Gastr del Sol’s Drag City Records release Upgrade and Afterlife, a cd of Michael Zerang’s music from the production of Frankie and Johnny and a recording of original solo compositions entitled Alchemy. He appears on bassist Michael Cameron’s cd Sound Bites with the ensemble Walleye.
A prolific teacher, he has given master classes at leading institutions such as the New England Conservatory of Music, American Composers’ Forum, University of Illinois, Depaul University and others. Recently, he participated in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s program Harmonia at the National Museum of Mexican Art in which soloists introduced music to children from Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods. He currently teaches at DePaul University, Concordia University, Harper College, and the First Conservatory of Music.
Prizes in numerous solo and chamber music competitions include the Houston Symphony Orchestra solo artist competition, Carmel International Chamber music competition, Performers of Connecticut solo competition, the Ohio Young Artists’ competition, and the Northwestern University concerto competition.
He studied with the world-renowned concert saxophonist Frederick Hemke at Northwestern University. Other teachers have included John Sampen, Paul Bro, Kenneth Radnofsky, James Umble and master classes with Jean-Marie Londeix and Claude Delangle. He studied jazz improvisation with Tony Mujica.