Introducing Melbourne International Saxophone Festival Feature Artist - Clifford Leaman

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In the lead up to the Melbourne International Saxophone Festival, we spoke to American classical saxophonist and Associate Dean and Professor of Saxophone at the School of Music of the University of South Carolina, Clifford Leaman, who shared a little insight and his thoughts about the upcoming festival.

This will be your second time to Australia, what were your impressions after your first visit? I was stunned by how beautiful the landscape of the country is.  From the coast to the wine country, the topography is as beautiful as any place I’ve seen.  Both Melbourne and Sydney were incredibly impressive cities for all the right reasons — cleanliness, beautiful architecture, museums, art. 

If you could give one piece of advice to a saxophonist beginning their bachelor of music, what would it be? That’s a tough one.  I would have to say, the best advice I could give, if limited to one topic would be to “Be persistent.”  Resilience is probably the most important trait for any musician.  There are many days when successes are tangible and very rewarding, but there are also many days when failures, or lack of success in some way can be daunting.  If you don’t win the audition, or competition; or if someone else gets a job or award, or acknowledgement  that you felt could or should have gone to you, it is easy to become discouraged.  The race goes to the persistent as often as to the speedy.  If you pursue your instrument daily, you will become successful over time.

What are you looking forward to most about being a featured artist of the Melbourne International Saxophone Festival? The thing I am most excited about whenever I travel to a festival like this, is the opportunity to collaborate with other musicians who have varied experiences.  I enjoy meeting the other guest artists and collaborating with them musically, and meeting the aspiring saxophonists who attend, helping them improve themselves.  I learn a great deal from these kinds of festivals, from a variety of musical approaches to new pieces and always leave with renewed enthusiasm for the saxophone and music in general.

Find out more about the Melbourne International Saxophone Festival!