‘An impeccable display of technical mastery... her obvious passion was beautifully controlled, and her meticulous artistic attention to detail could be heard in the shaping of every melodic phrase’ - Graham Marshall, Rochdale Online (Concerto with Oldham Symphony)
‘A flawless and accomplished performance... she excelled in shaping the long lyrical phrases’ - Joe Conway, Peterborough Telegraph (Concerto with CPSO)
Gillian Blair holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Royal Northern College of Music where she studied with Rob Buckland, Carl Raven and Andy Scott. During her studies she was a finalist in the RNCM’s Concerto and Gold Medal competitions and received scholarships from the Oglesby Charitable Trust, the Helen Mackaness Award and the Countess of Munster Trust. Upon graduating, Gillian was awarded the Timothy Reynish Award for outstanding contribution to the RNCM. She has received tuition and appeared in masterclasses with acclaimed international artists and studied at the renowned 'Université Européenne de Saxophone' in Gap, France.
Praised for her ‘flawless and accomplished’ performances (Peterborough Telegraph) and ‘honest and genuine music-making’ (D’Addario Competition), Gillian Blair enjoys a varied career as a classical saxophonist, chamber musician and educator.
She is an active educator and is on the teaching faculty at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music and the Universities of Sheffield and Huddersfield.
As a soloist, she has performed around Europe, North America and Asia at festivals and concert series' including the BBC Proms, EurSax (Porto), Koganei Miyajigakki Hall (Tokyo), PepsiCo Recital Hall (Texas), World Saxophone Congress (St Andrews, Strasbourg, Zagreb), North American Saxophone Alliance Conference (Arkansas) and several broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. She has appeared as a guest soloist with ensembles including the Band of the Coldstream Guards, Commonwealth String Orchestra, Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra, City of Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, University of Arkansas Saxophone Ensemble, the RNCM Percussion Ensemble and the RNCM Saxophone Orchestra.
Gillian is passionate about chamber music and performs regularly with the Polaris Duo (saxophone and harp) and the Borealis Saxophone Quartet. Both of these ensembles have enjoyed competition success, performances on BBC Radio 3 as ‘BBC Introducing Classical’ artists, and have appeared in some of the UK's most prestigious venues as well as giving performances overseas. A more recent collaboration with American Saxophonist Nathan Mertens has led to performances and masterclasses in Japan, the UK and the USA.
Gillian also enjoys working with larger ensembles including the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra and the Tenor Saxophone Collective.
As a keen advocate of new music, Gillian has commissioned numerous works as a soloist and for her various chamber ensembles from composers including Gary Carpenter, Lucy Armstrong, Zack Browning, Grace Evangeline Mason, Andrew Boss, Tom Harrold, Lucy Pankhurst, Paul Mitchell-Davidson, and Melissa Douglas.
The Series III Soprano ensures greater playability, particularly as regards pitch and blowing.
The blowing emission of its high register extended to high G has been largely facilitated. Selecting a straight or curved neck allows to get well acquainted with it.
The 'Series III' Alto is no doubt the most performing of our catalogue. It is a very accurate model in terms of tuning and emission. It offers a great richness of tone.
The 'Series III' Tenor has marked, when released in 1997, an actual revival of the great playing flexibility of the old models. This gives it an ease of playing very much appreciated by saxophonists of all levels.
Developed in collaboration with Gilles Tressos (Quatuor Hanabera), the 'Series III' baritone is a very well tuned instrument, rich in overtones, consistent over the whole register with fluid transfers.
This instrument with a warm tone 'unfolds' a centered, flexible and subtle sound, which suits each type of repertoire in the lineage of the 'Series III' saxophones.
Its perfectly mastered ergonomics gives an impression of stupendous agility unique to the baritone. It weighs 300 grammes less than the 'Series II'.
This pioneering bi-material mouthpiece with its unique acoustic and sound properties testifies to Henri SELMER Paris’ evergrowing desire to improve its products. The golden metal ring lines the entire bore and allows for a denser, fuller sound with increased projection. The acoustic performance of this new alto saxophone mouthpiece signed “Claude Delangle” will charm saxophone players and audience members alike.