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Tom Brown with his 1900 Couesnon & Cie Alto Saxophone, ca. 1910

The Imperfect Saxophone: Not Just a Clown’s Instrument

Event Type
Exhibition
Sponsor
Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
Location
240 Harding Band Building, 1103 S. Sixth Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820
Date
Dec 13, 2021 - Dec 9, 2022   9:00 am - 5:00 pm  
Contact
Scott Schwartz
E-Mail
schwrtzs@illinois.edu
Phone
217-333-4577
Views
130
Originating Calendar
Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

The Sousa Archives’ new exhibit, “The Imperfect Saxophone: Not Just a Clown’s Instrument,” examines America’s complex relationship with the saxophone between 1900 and 1930, a period known as the “saxophone craze.” Prior to earning its place as a serious instrument among jazz and orchestral musicians, the saxophone was treated as a clown’s horn, a novelty act performed by various saxophone ensembles and virtuoso performers.  Later, Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies: Music Land (1935); Lucille Ball’s episode The Saxophone (1952); the Muppets’ introduction of Zoot the saxophonist (1975); and the Simpsons’ episode, Lisa’s Saxophone (1997), continue to reflect America’s conflicted appreciation of Adolphe Sax’s most recognized instrument.  This exhibit highlights the saxophone’s imperfect musical beginnings and musicians like the Brown Brothers’ performances that made it a truly unique instrument.   The online version of this exhibit can be accessed through The Imperfect Saxophone: Not Just a Clown’s Instrument.

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