The young concert saxophonist Ashu has established an extraordinary ability to communicate with audiences through his charismatic and emotive performance style. He has defied conventions winning major international awards and competitions traditionally won by pianists and violinists. While his astonishing virtuosity thrills listeners, his artistry reaches far beyond this demonstrating a unique personality and musical voice. Critics have described him as “just as much fun to watch as to listen to” (Dallas Morning News) and “ready to cultivate the masses” (Chicago Tribune).
Born and raised in California, Ashu began playing the saxophone at age 10. After just a few years, he began entering competitions and found himself receiving a wide range of opportunities, including his recital debut, which took place at Carnegie Hall. Since then he has performed throughout the world. Ashu’s concerto appearances last year included prominent halls throughout Russia, South Africa, Great Britain, Finland, Poland, Estonia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Canada, and the USA. Other recent solo tours have taken him throughout Vienna, Lisbon, Munich, France, Switzerland, Norway, and the French West Indies.
Ashu’s recent recital engagements in the USA include the Ravinia Festival, Kravis Center, La Jolla Music Society, Dumbarton Oaks, Rockefeller Series, Santa Fe Concert Association, and more. With a growing demand from major orchestras around the world, recent concerto engagements include the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony, Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon, St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, Montreal Chamber Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic, Lapland Chamber Orchestra, and venues such as Carnegie Hall, Zurich Tonhalle, Vienna Konzerthaus, and NY Central Park.
Ashu was recently selected as winner of the prestigious “Audience Prize” at the renowned International Musical Olympus Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. The festival’s honorary committee included Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Valery Gergiev, and Yo-Yo Ma. As a result, Ashu has been invited to perform concertos and recitals in a number of the most revered concerts halls worldwide. Ashu has previously won First Prizes at competitions including the International Heida Hermanns Competition, Houston Symphony Concerto, International Kingsville Wind Instrumentalist, American Opera Society, Salon De Virtuosi Career Grant, National Midland-Odessa, National Lennox/RSO, National Federation of Music Clubs, National George S. Howard, National Alliance for Excellence, Northwestern University Concerto, and Houston Symphony Flores-Smith competitions.
While most audiences have never heard the saxophone in concert music, Ashu has begun to change this. With a dynamic style that captivates general as well as classical audiences, he has shown that the concert saxophone can reach beyond stylistic categorization and to a large diversity of people.
With an engaging personality, Ashu has been featured on NBC, CBS, NPR, and numerous other live TV and radio broadcasts. He received his Bachelor and Masters of Music degrees from Northwestern University under the guidance of renowned saxophone teacher Frederick Hemke, and he is currently based in the Chicago area.
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