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Biography:

Hailed as “a powerhouse in classical saxophone” (University of Toronto), JEFFREY LEUNG (b. 1991) is an active performer, improviser, and educator. In addition to his work with collaborative artists, Jeffrey serves as the Vice President of Novus New Music, the Associate Director of the International Saxophone Academy, and is on the Artist Faculty roster with the Maryland Chamber Winds. His performance accolades have received numerous honours and awards – most notably from the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra and Montreal Symphony Orchestra – and has been described as: “A truly modern virtuoso, Jeffrey effortlessly navigates the most demanding scores for saxophone without losing his trademark warmth, sensitivity, and lyricism” (Roydon Tse, composer).

 

Curating musical programs spanning traditional to contemporary repertoire, Jeffrey has presented recitals and concerts throughout North America including concerto performances at the Maryland Wind Festival, appearances with ensembles like the New World Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, and has been invited to workshops at the Banff Centre, American Saxophone Academy, Toronto Creative Music Lab, and Université Européenne de Saxophone. Several of Jeffrey’s performances can be found on albums and recording projects by Michigan State University, people|places|records (PPR), Arts Laureate, and Sly Pup Productions.

 

Dedicated to the expansion of the saxophone repertoire, Jeffrey’s collaborations with composers has resulted in premieres and commissions of over thirty new works for the saxophone including music by Viet Cuong, Shelley Washington, Joel Love, Theo Chandler, Spencer Arias, Annika Socolofsky, Keaton Garrett, Alexis Bacon, Timothy Peterson, Roydon Tse, Baldwin Giang, Matthew Browne, Joe Krycia, and Gregory Wanamaker. Jeffrey has premiered these works at conferences hosted by the North American Saxophone Alliance, Northwestern University New Music Conference, and Midwest Composers Symposium. Since joining Novus New Music Inc. in 2016, Jeffrey has helped organize consortiums for new music by David Biedenbender as well as Novus’ Women in Music Campaign and Novus Spark project.

 

As a pedagogue, Jeffrey cultivates student-driven curiosity and healthy creativity by drawing from his experiences in teaching saxophone, music theory, and Soundpainting/improvisation. While at Michigan State University from 2017-2020, Jeffrey served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Saxophone and Music Theory areas. Additionally, Jeffrey has led Soundpainting workshops with the Creative Arts Orchestra and Saxophone Ensemble at the University of Michigan and taught masterclasses at North American universities, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Maryland Wind Festival, National Music Camp of Canada, and Spartan Youth Wind Symphony at Michigan State University.

 

Dr. Jeffrey Leung holds degrees in Saxophone Performance and Music Theory from Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Northwestern University, and University of Toronto. His mentors include Professor Joseph Lulloff, Dr. Timothy McAllister, Dr. Wallace Halladay, Dr. Christian Matijas Mecca, Dr. Leigh VanHandel, and Dr. Michael Callahan.

 

Jeffrey is a Key Leaves Artist, endorser of Lagan Music instrument customizations and products, and exclusively performs with Ishimori - Wood Stone Ligatures.

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"Jeffrey’s discipline and musicianship are matched by his genuine care for others. He is the epitome of a collaborator, and he always brings a well-considered viewpoint."

Dr. Tyler Austin

Assistant Director of Bands at Oklahoma State University

Artistic Director of the Maryland Chamber Winds 

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Teaching Philosophy:

 Today’s students are faced with choices. They have chosen to hone their skills on their instrument or voice to pursue a performance career, they have chosen to inspire the next generation of students in the classroom, or they have chosen to push the definitions and boundaries of music by writing it themselves. As a saxophonist, scholar, and entrepreneur, I have found great pleasure in connecting curricular objectives in the studio and classroom with the artistic visions of my students, acknowledging their diverse skills and backgrounds, and equipping them with the tools they to need to achieve success – however they choose to define it. My students will learn to be fluent with the skills and knowledge necessary to be professional musicians; but more importantly, I aim to embolden their curiosity to explore and build a multidimensional portfolio career that can readily adapt to the evolving musical world beyond the classroom walls.

My first priority as a teacher is creating a learning environment that is supportive of and welcoming to all students. With my students, I describe the teaching and learning process as a cooperative one and that each student’s presence and contributions are valued because of their unique musical background, race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, and lived experiences. While I may be the expert in the room, I love when students reveal perspectives that I had not previously considered especially when they are given the opportunities and tools to thoughtfully explore their music. Teaching, to me, is a dynamic conversation between teacher and student, both of whom are learning from each other in the process.

 

In lessons, I have students focus on building a strong foundation in musicianship skills that serve an artistic vision that is informed by a thorough understanding of the saxophone’s repertoire and history. More importantly, I encourage students to create short and long term goals to connect these lessons to real-life applications to cultivate their professional identity and artistic vision. As a saxophonist, I am interested in pushing the boundaries of my instrument but as an educator, I am most concerned with the development of my students as well-rounded musicians that transcend the classical saxophone label and genre. While working with classical and contemporary music make up a large portion of my artistic life, the pillars that make up my portfolio career are built on my adaptability and ability to thrive in variety situations with improvised music, interdisciplinary collaborations with dancers and multimedia artists, entrepreneurial pursuits as Vice President and Director of Communications with Novus New Music Inc., and scholarly interests as a music theorist and pedagogue. Taking advantage of the resources and opportunities afforded in an academic setting, I aim to promote a multidimensional approach to building a sustainable music career by modelling and encouraging active and creative engagement with the local community and beyond.

The central tenet of my teaching puts students and their needs first in order to foster a positive relationship with the ideals of lifelong learning balancing the pursuit of excellence with thoughtful curiosity. I will draw on my knowledge and experience to create a learning environment that allows all students to express themselves through their unique perspectives. My students will build a portfolio careers that hone the plethora of skills they will need as performers, educators, scholars, and entrepreneurs to be successful in the studio, classroom and the evolving musical world. At the end of the day, I want my students to be fluent with the course material, understand and practice the integration of theoretical and applied work, engage with music through active listening and meaningful discussion, and remain curious about the vast repertoire and work that they will encounter throughout their musical lives. So while I recognize that my students’ choices have led them to be in my classroom or studio, I too have chosen to be the best advocate, coach, and mentor I can be for them.