Saxophone Workshop Faculty
An internationally acclaimed performer and educator based out of Minneapolis, Dr. Preston Duncan has been hailed as “displaying his saxophone mastery” (The Indianapolis Star) with “virtuosic brilliance” (the Muncie Start/Press) as a “terrific talent” (Marvin Hamlisch).
He has appeared as soloist in Paris, Berlin, Austria, Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, Boston, Costa Rica, Mexico and Taiwan. He has performed on over 65 occasions as soloist with large ensembles including The Indianapolis Symphony Orcehstra, La Grande Orchestre des Alpes de la Mer of Nice, the Bowling Green State University Philharmonic, the University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and many others. He regularly performs as an orchestral member with The Minnesota Orchestra. He has also performed with the Indianapolis Pops, The Minnesota Pops, Rosemary Clooney and Jeremy Denk.
Duncan was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Paris, France where he studied with Jean-Yves Fourmeau. He has won numerous awards and prizes including 1st prize in the MTNA National Collegiate Woodwind Competition and was a finalist in 2014 for the prestigious McKnight fellowship. He was the featured performer and educator at the 1st Annual Taiwanese National Saxophone Festival and the 12th Annual Encuentro Universitario Internacional de Saxofón in Mexico City. This March he has been invited to be a featured performer and educator at Saxfest Costa Rica International.
Duncan currently teaches saxophone at the University of Minnesota. During the summer he teaches on the faculty at Ticino Musica International in Lugano Switzerland and Shell Lake Arts Center. He received his Bachelor of Saxophone Performance from Indiana University where he was a student of. Eugene Rousseau. He continued his studies at Bowling Green State University with Dr. John Sampen where he received his Masters of Music in Saxophone Performance. In 2002 he completed an Artist Diploma at The Boston Conservatory with Kenneth Radnofsky. He has premiered works by Bernard Rands, Ernesto Pellegrini, Joseph Dangerfield and Kenneth Fuchs and many others. Duncan performs exclusively on Eugene Rousseau mouthpieces.
Praised as a “passionate and gifted soloist” (Libby Larsen) with “flawless technique and intuitive musicianship” (Craig Kirchhoff), Dr. Benjamin Cold is currently Professor of Saxophone at Bemidji State University, where he teaches applied saxophone, instructs saxophone quartets and directs the BSU contemporary music ensemble. As a passionate advocate of new music, he has been involved in the commissions and premieres of dozens of compositions for solo and chamber saxophone, most of which were dedicated to him. His specialty is electroacoustic saxophone, and he works diligently to find creative and unique ways of performing and improvising using live electronics, loop pedals, distortion effects and pre-recorded synthesizer. His work has been performed and recorded on Classical Minnesota Public Radio, National Public Radio, and The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. Dr. Cold's current album, flux-mirror, is planned for release in August 2018.
As a devoted saxophonist, pedagogue and scholar, Dr. Cold maintains an active teaching and performing schedule throughout the United States and Internationally. Throughout his professional career, he has held residencies, taught master classes and given guest recitals and performances across the country at many of the Nation’s top academic institutions including, but not limited to the University of Minnesota, Bowling Green State University, Kansas State University, North Dakota State University, and the University of North Texas.
Dr. Cold completed his D.M.A. in saxophone performance and pedagogy at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, where he studied with Eugene Rousseau. There he was a recipient of the prestigious Berneking Fellowship, the Cohen Fellowship and instructed undergraduate and graduate saxophone quartets. Benjamin Cold received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, and his M.M. from Kansas State University in saxophone performance and pedagogy. During his graduate education, Dr. Cold expanded his studies to include private instruction in conducting, teaching strategies and score study with KSU – Director of Bands, Frank Tracz, and jazz band rehearsal techniques with KSU Director of Graduate Studies, Frederick Burrack. His previous teachers include Anna Wytko, Nancy Mcmillan and Greg Keel.
Benjamin Cold is a Conn-Selmer Performing Artist and plays on Selmer Series III saxophones. He is also an E-Rousseau Mouthpieces and Legere Reeds Performing Artist and Clinician.
Dr. Alastair Wright’s playing has been described as “tremendously technical and high flying” (KC Metropolis) and “dulcet-like…with a luminescent sheen” (Classical Voice of North Carolina). Originally from the United Kingdom, he holds music performance degrees from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (Bachelor of Music with Honors), the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (Master of Music) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance (Doctor of Musical Arts). Prior to joining the faculty at UW-Eau Claire, Alastair taught saxophone at the University of Central Missouri. He is a Conn-Selmer endorsing artist.
As saxophone soloist, Alastair has performed with the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra (as finalist in the 5th Jean-Marie Londeix International Saxophone Competition), Mid America Freedom Band, University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory Choir, the UK-based Thallein Contemporary Ensemble and Sutton Coldfield Orchestra. Recently, he has performed with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble and at the Open Spaces KC festival. Current and upcoming projects include performances in China, Philadelphia and New York with PRISM Quartet, and the study and performance of music from various cultures around the world.
Alastair is active as a chamber musician, and tours regularly with his chamber group Dionysus which is made up of two saxophones and piano, a re-invention of the traditional piano trio. With this group he has toured the US and abroad, performing at Lincoln Center for Education (NYC), Interlochen Center for the Arts, St. Giles Cathedral (Edinburgh) and at several universities and colleges. His saxophone quartet, Dasch, were winners of the 2014 North American Saxophone Alliance National Quartet Competition. They released their debut CD, Necessary Edges, in 2016 which was described as “exquisite” and “immaculate” (Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain).
Located in the Twin Cities area, Casey Rafn (piano) currently holds positions at the Lundstrum Center for Performing Arts, Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, and is the pianist for the Bloomington Chorale. An award-winning performer and active freelancer, his upcoming season includes performances in Switzerland, Uruguay, and Shell Lake, WI. Originally from Two Harbors, MN, he received his bachelor's and master’s degrees in piano performance from The University of Iowa studying under Dr. Ksenia Nosikova.