Nathan Mertens, creator
US-based saxophonist, Nathan Mertens (he/him) will begin as the Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Fall of 2023. As an active soloist and chamber musician, he has performed recitals in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Croatia, Bolivia, the United Kingdom, and throughout the United States. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras including the Busan Philharmonic Orchestra, Hastings Symphony Orchestra, The University of Texas Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Arkansas Saxophone Ensemble. Mertens’ orchestral experience includes performances with the San Antonio Symphony and the Omaha Symphony. In competition, he was awarded Third Prize in the 14th Kurashiki International Saxophone Competition, Second Grand Prize in the North International Music Competition in Sweden, and has been a finalist for many national competitions.
Previously, Mertens lived in Tokyo, Japan as a Monbukagakusho Research Scholarship recipient with the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology. As such, Mertens was the first American Saxophonist to formally study in Japan. Realizing that awareness and access to Japanese music were lacking in the West, Mertens created the Japanese Saxophone Database, a resource to connect the rest of the world with all things saxophone in Japan. While in Tokyo, he performed with the Kunitachi Saxophone Ensemble, the Japan Saxophone Orchestra, Marie Kikuchi, and Emi Kondo.
Mertens studied at The University of Texas at Austin - Butler School of Music, Hastings College, and Kunitachi College of Music, with Stephen Page, Debra Rhodes, and Masato Kumoi, respectively. Mertens is a D'Addario Woodwind Artist, a Yamaha Performing Artist, and a Rousseau Artist Endorser, and performs exclusively on these products.
Mia Gazley, contributer
A saxophonist from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, Mia Gazley received her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia, studying saxophone under Dr. Julia Nolan. Mia has performed extensively with various groups in the Vancouver and Lower Mainland areas, including the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, the Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra, the Vancouver Jazz Legacy Orchestra, as well as multiple other ensembles. She has also been a part of the Greater Vancouver Youth Music Academy, being a saxophone coach since 2014 and assistant director for the wind ensembles since 2016. Mia performs regularly with the Azura Quartet, of which she holds the baritone saxophone chair. She is currently finishing her Masters in Saxophone Performance at the University of Florida, studying under Dr. Jonathan Helton. Mia wishes to pursue academia in the future, primarily researching and identifying the historical lineage of the saxophone in Japan.