Steven Banks

Jackie McLean Fellow 2022-23

Instrumental Studies

The Hartt School

M.M. from Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music

B.M. in Saxophone Performance with a minor in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Steven Banks, Jackie McLean Fellow 2022-23 is the winner of the prestigious 2022 Avery Fisher Career Grant. Steven is an ambassador for the classical saxophone, establishing himself as both a compelling and charismatic soloist, dedicated to showcasing the vast capabilities of the instrument, as well as an advocate for expanding its repertoire. As an artist with a commitment to rethinking and expanding the boundaries of classical music, Banks “has the potential to be one of the transformational artists of the twenty-first century.” (Seen and Heard International)

Steven has recently appeared as concerto soloist under the direction of Peter Oundjian, first at the Colorado Music Festival in performances of works by Glazunov and Ibert, and later with the Colorado Symphony, performing John Adams’ Concerto. He also recently appeared on subscription concerts with The Cleveland Orchestra in Philip Glass’ Façades with John Adams on the podium. Zachary Lewis of reviewed Steven’s Cleveland Orchestra performance as: “The suavest offering was by Steven Banks. Out of the few notes that comprise Philip Glass’s Façades, the saxophonist wove a spellbinding aria. The mellow, mournful line of his soprano sax soared over a gently throbbing orchestra, changing colors with every harmonic shift and bewitching listeners like the flute of a snake charmer.”

Steven regularly gives recitals at universities, performing arts series, and festivals across the United States and abroad, and he is also an emerging composer. Steven Banks’ music showcases “a unique and ambitious blend of feelings and sounds” and portrays “a deep intimacy” and “a sense of vulnerability” (Cleveland Classical). This season, Steven will premiere an original composition for alto saxophone and string quartet in Carnegie Hall alongside the Borromeo String Quartet. He has also recently completed commissions for the Project 14 initiative at Yale University and the Northwestern University Saxophone Ensemble.

Steven Banks has a B.M. in Saxophone Performance with a minor in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and M.M. from Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. His primary saxophone teachers have been Taimur Sullivan, Otis Murphy, Jr., and Galvin Crisp.