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Sunday recital just what the doctor ordered

George Kaufman
The Oshawa Times

Ted Brankston is a busy man, but he's found time to schedule a second chamber music recital for Oshawa music lovers this Sunday.

In addition to being a busy Oshawa doctor and family man, he's also continuing to pursue his serious interest in the saxophone. For those whose acquaintance with the instrument is limited to Boots Randolph and the occasional jazz or pop music solo, Sunday's 2 p.m. concert at the Arts Resource Centre will be an eye-opener - or rather an ear-opener.


Brankston's interest is in the classical saxophone repertoire. That's not as obscure as it may sound, as anyone who enjoyed his solo performance with the Oshawa Symphony two years ago can attest.

He also presented a first, well-received chamber recital several years ago at the library, but promises this one will be even better.

"I'm not as nervous, for one thing," he reported this week. "And the program is shorter, with a more varied selection."

That will include pieces from Baroque to contemporary Canadian composers, as well as a trio work featuring his piano accompanist Stella Ng and Hamilton tenor sax player Bill Nooenbeek.

Brankston's favourite is the fourth from a series of Hebraic Suites by Canadian composer Srul Glick. The suite was written by Glick for Canadian saxophone master Paul Brodie, with whom Brankston studies.

Brankston was drawn to it after attending Brodie's debut performance, which Glick also attended. "It's a dramatic, soulful piece, with movements ranging from energetic horas(dances) to lyric laments even a lullabye." The composer said he would try to be present Sunday for Brankston's rendition when he learned it would be performed.

Adding to the bustle surrounding his preparations for the concert, Brankston just returned last month from a tour of the Soviet Union, which turned out to be a dream trip for him.


First, as part of a touring hockey team composed of Ontario doctors, he got to share the ice with some fine Soviet players. "They treated us wonderfully, and it was like a fantasy to be out there on the ice with Soviet players," he recalls, then chuckles. "We even won two games. But most of the players we met there were in fantastic shape, even the older ones."

Just as important was a side trip he made in Moscow, when he had a chance to meet with a personal office here, Russian saxophone virtuoso Lev Michalloff.

"His wife spoke English, so we were able to speak. He was very friendly, very happy to hear of someone from the West familiar with his work."

Then it was back to Canada and last minute rehearsals for Sunday's performance, which has been in the works for a year now.

Anyone dropping in for the recital will be pleasantly surprised at the rich, varied music written for the classical saxophone player. It's an instrument that gets short shrift with today's symphony orchestras, but which deserves wider recognition.

Sunday's 2 p.m. program is free, though donations to go to the Oshawa Symphony (with whom Brankston has served on the board of directors) will be accepted.

To purchase Ted's debut CD
"I Want To Live" click HERE

"...one of the best classical saxophone recordings I've ever heard!"
David Gibson, Editor
Saxophone Journal 2004

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