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“The Sky Between Us” performed at University of Memphis

December 1 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

The Sky Between Us for Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, and Piano is performed on Jason Oates'(soprano saxophone) recital at the University of Memphis in Tennessee. He’ll be joined by Allen Rippe on Alto Saxophone and Maeve Brophy on piano. He’ll also perform Two Piece for Saxophone by Alan Hovhaness and Sonata in C# by Fernande Decruck.

December 1st, 2023
5:30 pm Central
Harris Hall
University of Memphis – Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music


About The Sky Between Us

The inspiration for The Sky Between Us for Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, and Piano by comes from a poem titled “Under This Sky” by Zia Hyder, translated by Bhabani Sengupta with Naomi Shihab Nye. The poem begins with the line:

There’s an enormous comfort knowing
we all live under this same sky.

The spirit of this poem speaks to the connections that link us together, from sharing the same sun and moon to embracing the idea of collaboration and togetherness, no matter where we live in the world or what we do.

This work explores what it means to be under the same sky and connect in new ways.  Using the colors of the saxophones and the piano, I wanted to create a soundscape that interweaves the ideas of togetherness through beautiful melodic lines, rhythmic gestures, and fluid motion.  A journey of movement and hope, this work celebrates the collaboration between the three voices as equal partners in creating a wide-open space of possibility.

The work is in one movement with three distinct sections inspired by the story in the poem:

Sun and Moon
Sweets and Snow
Life and Love

The piece begins and ends with the Saxophones echoing back and forth to each other, using the technique of playing into the open strings of the piano. I wanted to create this sense of openness, of vastness and distance that eventually grows closer together, symbolizing that although there is sky between us, we are still connected.

This work was commissioned by the Covert Ensemble (Dave Camwell and Kateřina Pavlíková – www.covertensemble.com) and it was their vision and enthusiasm that brought us all together under the same sky to collaborate on this work. I want to thank them as well as the additional Consortium Members from around the world who are a part of the creation of this work.

We truly are living under the same sky, and there’s a joy in knowing we can come together through music.


December 1
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
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Harris Concert Hall, University of Memphis
3775 Central Ave
Memphis, TN 38111 United States
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