Nick Zoulek in the Shockingly Modern Saxophone Festival at Augustana College -- September 14 and 15.

Friday, September 14, and Saturday, September 15

Augustana College's Larson Hall, 3701 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island IL

A two-day celebration of a most dexterous musical instrument, the area's inaugural Shockingly Modern Saxophone Festival – taking place at Augustana College's Larson Hall September 14 and 15 – will treat lovers of the sax to master classes, workshops, discussions, and recitals, with the fest's guest artist, renowned saxophonist/composer Nick Zoulek, described by the Wall Street Journal as “stunningly virtuosic, whatever the genre.”

Committed to advancing recognition of the classical saxophone, Zoulek performs frequently as a visiting artist at colleges and universities nationwide, most recently serving as the year-long Artist in Residence for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has enjoyed additional tenures with Ohio State University, Kent State University, and Oklahoma City University, and has been featured as a soloist with such groups as the University of Wisconsin Whitewater Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra and the Boulogne Ensemble du Vent. Delivering what the Portland Press Herald called “a no-holds-barred engine of avant-garde exploration,” Zoulek also served as music director with Wild Space Dance Company, and has scored and performed dance works with the Madison Ballet, HYPERlocal, and with members of the dance companies Like You Mean It and Zenon.

Zoulek holds a Bachelor of Music Performance – earned with Magna Cum Laude honors – from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, a Masters of Music Performance from Bowling Green State University, and a Certificat des Études Musicales from France's Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régionale de Boulogne-Billancourt. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Music Arts degree in Contemporary Music Performance at BGSU while continuing to earn stunning praise for his concerts and recitals, with calling Zoulek an artist of “pure mindfulness and talent,” and Milwaukee Magazine labeling him “a tour de force.”

Augustana Saxophone Studio: Lexie Aguilar, Spencer Mason, Megan Gabler, Dr. Randall Hall, Kendall Hengst, Melissa Hagerty, Evan Sammons, and Kate Pisarczyk

On Friday, the Shockingly Modern Saxophone Festival will open with a 4 p.m. master class with Zoulek, followed by a 7 p.m. faculty recital with Augustana's Dr. Randall Hall, who will premiere original works for saxophone, electronics, and video. Saturday's schedule, meanwhile, will boast a 4 p.m. recital with the Augustana Saxophone Studio in addition to three events featuring Zoulek: a 3 p.m. improvisation workshop; a 5 p.m. discussion of modern music, interview, and Q&A; and a 7 p.m. recital. “The audience can expect to have their mind’s blown,” said Hall of the inaugural Augustana festival, “because it will be an immersive sensory experience with new sounds and images which will challenge audience members’ expectations about the saxophone, music, and the whole concert experience.”

All events in the September 14 and 15 Shockingly Modern Saxophone Festival are free, and more information is available by calling (309)794-7323 or visiting

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