Dale Wolford



WR Duo - Aria CD project

Ivan Rosenblum and I are beginning to finalize the repertoire for a new CD which will be entitled “Aria--Lyrical Pieces for Saxophone & Piano.” It will feature pieces that we’ve performed over the years as well as some new ones that “sing” like our audience favorite--“A City Called Heaven.” Below is a recent video of “City” to give you an idea of what it will be like.

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Dahl Concerto

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed performing the Ingolf Dahl Saxophone Concerto with the SJSU Wind Ensemble under the direction off Dr. Edward Harris last night at SJSU. Read More...

"Images" by David Biedenbender

On October 19th I performed a wonderful new piece for alto saxophone and piano by David Biedenbender. The concert was part of Composers Inc 27th annual series. at Old First Church in San Francisco. I was fortunate to perform the piece with pianist Victoria DiMaggio Lington. Read More...

SJSU Alumni Sax Ensemble Concert - A Success!

Recapping of the concert, including the memorable prose of Robert Klimowski about Bill Trimble (1938-2010) Read More...

PSQ - Urban Requiem

The PSQ has been rehearsing with the University of Pacific Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Eric Hammer preparing for our upcoming performance of Michael Colgrass’ “Urban Requiem.” Read More...

SF Ballet Tours

SF Ballet tours to New York and Chicago

More SF Ballet

Just heard that I’ll be touring with the San Francisco Ballet in Yuri Possikov’s “Fusion” this fall in New York City, Chicago and Orange County. Check out the schedule at on the Ballet’s website. I’m looking forward to it!

Spring update

It’s been a while since my last update! I’ve been busy performing with the Premiere Sax Quartet, SF Ballet and teaching at San Jose State.

The PSQ performed at the NASA (North American Saxophone Alliance) Biennial Convention at the University of South Carolina in August. We premiered Lucie Robert’s “Issos” for saxophone quartet and piano. I was only at the convention for 24 hours, as I had to hurry back to rehearse with the San Francisco Ballet for Yuri Possikov’s “Fusion,” part of their New Works Festival in late April and early May. It was an exciting time performing Graham Fitkin’s “Hard Fairy” for soprano saxophone and two pianos, along with his “Bed,” for two soprano saxes (with the wonderful Jim Dukey on the other sax part,) 2 violins, 2 cellos, string bass, marimba and piano. It looks like I’ll be going on tour to perform “Fusion” with the ballet in NYC at the New York City Center from October 10-18 this fall. In addition, the ballet will be part of the 2009 season again, as well. It’s Exciting!

The PSQ finished recording everything on our CD, Magheia. We hope to have it out by the fall. Check out more info on the quartet’s website.

Things are going well as SJSU. The saxophone studio continues to grow and get stronger. There were several excellent performances this semester, including graduate student Jonathan Bautista Lagunte’s recital in May. I also enjoyed observing and working with students and interns in the music education credential program as well as teaching an instrumental methods course for music education majors.

Come here me play a concerto, Sapphire by Catherine McMichael, with the Villages Band, a retirement community in San Jose on June 8 at 2:30pm. Check out my Concerts page for more info.

I’m looking foward to having time to practice, garden, sail and prepare for next year this summer. I promise to post more frequently in the coming months--thanks for visiting!


Composer's INC Review

Here's the review from the concert and a photo of the myself, the composer, Michael Djupstrom and Irene Del Gregorio, the wonderful pianist I performed the piece with.


Great new Sax/Piano piece!

Last night I performed Michael Djustrom's "Walamia" at the Composer's Inc. concert in San Francisco with the wonderful pianist, Irene Gregorio. If you're a saxophonist with lots of chops (altissimo, technique and great rhythm required!) I can't recommend this great piece enough. It is very aleatoric and definitely has influences from John Anthony Lennon's "Distances Within Me" for alto saxophone and piano, if you're familiar with that piece.

The composer was at the performance and is a great person with a definite sense of what he wants. I predict great things for Michael Djupstrom!

Wikipedia article on Michael Djupstrom

MTNA interview with the composer discussing "Walamai"

Debussy "Rhapsody for Orchestra and Saxophone"

I'm performing this beautiful piece with the San Jose State University Orchestra on Friday, October 5th. Debussy was commissioned to write this piece by a rich amateur saxophonist, Elise Hall, from Boston. Debussy didn't want to write the piece, but needed the money. Here are some program notes by Eric Bromberger:

            About 1895 Debussy received an unusual commission for a new piece.  An American patron of the arts, Mrs. Elisa Hall of Boston, played the saxophone-still a relatively new instrument at that time-and was trying to create a repertory for by commissioning new pieces.  She commissioned a piece for saxophone and orchestra from Debussy and paid him for it; he promptly spent the money and forgot about the piece.  Then, to his astonishment, Mrs. Hall showed up several years later in Paris, asking about her piece.  Debussy's biographer Leon Vallas describes what happened:             "For the sake of her health this lady [Mrs. Hall] had devoted herself to an instrument which had not yet achieved the popularity it has since acquired, thanks to the triumph of jazz.  Wishing, regardless of cost, to build up a special repertoire for herself, she had given various French composers orders for important compositions.  Debussy was very dilatory in the matter; he was almost incapable of composing to order, and, besides, he knew very little about the technique of this solo instrument.  On 8th June [1903] he wrote to Messager: ‘The Americans are proverbially tenacious.  The saxophone lady landed in Paris at 58 Rue Cardinet, eight or ten days ago, and is inquiring about her piece.  Of course I assured her that, with the exception of Rameses II, it is the only subject that occupies my thoughts.  All the same, I have had to set to work on it.  So here I am, searching desperately for novel combinations to show off this aquatic instrument . . . I have been working as hard as in the good old days of Pelléas . . ."             The actual composition of the piece for Mrs. Hall was spread over several years, and it took some time to complete: Debussy appears to have worked on it from 1901 until 1908.  At that point, he sent his version for saxophone and piano to her; the piano part was orchestrated in 1919, the year after Debussy's death, by the French composer Jean Roger-Ducasse.             In the ten-minute Rhapsody Debussy seems not so interested in virtuosity as in exploring the sound and character of what was for him a new instrument.  Everyone is struck by the exotic sound of this music: one observer hears "Spanish or Moorish associations" in this music, others detect an oriental influence.  The delicate, evocative beginning certainly sounds exotic, and its "oriental" atmosphere is heightened in the orchestral version by a subtle use of tambourine here.  This opening section, in 2/4, is rather free rhythmically, in the manner of a rhapsody, but the music eases ahead as it moves into 6/8, and in the closing pages Debussy finds some unexpected strength in this new instrument he knew so little about.