Donald Sinta Quartet engages new listeners by creating a dialogue throughout their performances, presenting the music of both living composers from diverse backgrounds and standard string repertoire through the lens of the broad range of colors the saxophone is capable of achieving. Having performed across the globe to audiences experiencing a classical saxophone quartet for the first time, DSQ has earned praise from audiences and critics alike for its virtuosic performances, compelling recordings, and distinctive repertoire. Deemed by Audiophile Audition as “immensely entertaining...they really are superb musicians,” and by the Palm Beach Daily News for their “astonishing virtuosity, subtly beautiful phrasing and exquisite ensemble,” the group is named for its mentor, legendary University of Michigan Saxophone Professor Donald Sinta.
DSQ formed, uniquely, by audition at UM during 2010 for the Michigan Symphony Band's tour to China where they were featured in William Bolcom's Concerto Grosso. Remaining together as an ensemble following this tour, early in their career the foursome were among the most successful chamber ensembles in the country on the competition circuit, garnering 1st Prize at the Concert Artists Guild Competition, Gold Medal at the 2018 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, First Prize at the 2017 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, the Alice Coleman Grand Prize at the 2013 Coleman Chamber Music Competition and First Prize in the 2012 North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition.
The Donald Sinta Quartet’s repertoire is diverse, ranging from commissions by today’s emerging composers to standards from the saxophone quartet literature to transcriptions by master composers such as Beethoven, Dvorak, Schubert and Shostakovich. They released their second recording, Ex Machina, on the Bright Shiny Things label in February 2020 shortly after releasing their debut recording, Collider, on CAG Records in 2019, both featuring new works for saxophone quartet. Their radio appearances include New York’s WQXR, and Interlochen Public Radio, and frequent features on American Public Media’s Performance Today.
Among the ensemble’s extensive educational outreach activities, they recently enjoyed extended residencies for Joplin Pro Musica (MO) and Anchorage Concert Association, both culminating with performances as part of their season series. Equally committed to education and community engagement, the quartet has presented clinics and performances at numerous colleges and universities including the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Eastman School of Music, the University of Delaware, the University of Massachussetts at Amherst, SUNY-Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, and many others, as well as a residency at Grand Valley State University. DSQ has also presented workshops and performances at dozens of public schools across the US.
As advocates of new music, the quartet runs the National Saxophone Quartet Composition Competition, which selects two new quartet works from up-and-coming composers each year. Founded and still based in Michigan, DSQ’s members are all Selmer-Paris Artists and perform exclusively on Selmer saxophones.
With : Dan Graser (soprano), Zach Stern (alto), Joe Girard (tenor), Danny Hawthorne-Foss (baritone)
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