American saxophonist, Nathan Mertens has recently performed recitals in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and throughout the United States. Mertens has performed concertos with the Busan Philharmonic Orchestra (Korea), Hastings Symphony Orchestra (US), The University of Texas Symphony Orchestra (US), and was recently a concerto soloist at the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference. In competition, he has been 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 was in Tokyo, Japan as a Monbukagakusho Research Scholarship recipient with the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology where he studied with Masato Kumoi at Kunitachi College of Music. As such, Mertens was the first American Saxophonist to formally study in Japan. While in Japan, he performed with the Kunitachi Saxophone Ensemble, the Japan Saxophone Orchestra, Marie Kikuchi, and Emi Kondo.
Mertens graduated from The University of Texas at Austin - Butler School of Music with his Doctor of Music Arts degree in Saxophone Performance while studying with Dr. Stephen Page. He also received his Master’s degree at The University of Texas and did additional work at the Université Européenne de Saxophone in Gap, France. He completed his undergraduate work at Hastings College in Nebraska, with Debra McKim-Rhodes, graduating magna cum laude with degrees in Saxophone Performance and Woodwind Pedagogy.
Photo: Marshall Tidrick Photography
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.
Nathan Mertens, creator
Mia Gazley, contributer