The life and music of Brian Israel with an emphasis on his music for saxophone

David Wozniak


Brian Israel (1951-1986), American composer and pianist from New York City, left a wealth of music that has been largely ignored by the musical community. Included in his collection of nearly 200 works are six compositions that prominently feature the saxophone. Composed during the last six years of the composer's life, Israel's music for the saxophone represents a cross-section of his larger oeuvre, demonstrating stylistic elements present in nearly all of his music, including contrapuntal textures, the creative use of form, and humor. Furthermore, these saxophone works help illustrate Brian Israel as the epitome of the post-modern composer. The following works will be examined in this document: the Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano (1980), Trois Grotesques for C Soprano Saxophone and Piano (1985), the Concertino for Saxophone Ensemble (1982), Arioso and Canzona (1985) for saxophone ensemble, the Concerto for Baritone Saxophone and Concert Band (1982), and the Double Concerto for Sopranino and Bass Saxphones with Concert Band (1984).