Frederick L. Hemke was born in 1935 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1956, he was the first American to receive the First Prize for Saxophone at the Conservatoire National de Musique de Paris, where he studied with Marcel Mule. He also holds a B. A. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, an M.A. in Music Education from the Eastman School of Music and a Ph. D. in Music from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Hemke joined Northwestern University in 1962 as a teacher and later as an associate professor. He has been named Professor of the Year several times, received the Excellence in Teaching Award in 1993, and was named Senior Associate Dean in 2002. He retired ten years later.
An internationally renowned saxophonist, Hemke has given numerous master classes and lectures throughout North America, Europe and the Far East. He has also appeared as soloist with orchestras around the world, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Philharmonic Orchestra and Korea Philharmonic Orchestra.
He has participated several times in the World Saxophone Congress as a guest soloist and has been a jury member of numerous national and international competitions. His recordings include solo albums, chamber music and six recordings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.
Frederick Hemke died in 2019 at the age of 83 and was described as the Dean of Saxophone teaching in America. An advisor for the Selmer house, he participated in the design of several mouthpieces and the famous Mark VII saxophone.
Photo credit: centerstage.conn-selmer.com