Tone Studies: The Saxophone Music of David Maslanka

Ellen Sommer, Nicholas May

Catalog #: TROY1761
Release Date: March 1, 2019
Format: Digital

The much beloved and acclaimed composer David Maslanka (1943-2017) featured the saxophone in many of his compositions, including concertos, solo, and chamber works. Nicholas May has chosen two for his debut recording -- the Sonata for Alto Saxophone (1989) and Piano and Tone Studies (2009). Maslanka's music requires not only tremendous technique but also a performer who is master of sound and color. The saxophone is an instrument of tremendous beauty and flexibility and Maslanka's works require a saxophonist capable of broad swaths of color, rich depths of contrast, and generous apportionment of the musical canvas. Nicholas May is such a saxophonist and this recording defines the works. May has been a finalist in numerous state, national, and international competitions. He received degrees from the University of Kansas and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is now on the faculty at Mid Plains Community College and a member of the Heartland Duo and the Sanders-May Duo. His collaborator, pianist Ellen Sommer is on the faculty at the University of Kansas School of Music.


Choose your platform

Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano David Maslanka Nicholas May (saxophone); Ellen Sommer (piano)
Tone Studies David Maslanka Nicholas May (saxophone); Ellen Sommer (piano)


  • "I well remember hearing David Maslanka's Alto Saxophone Sonata in my second year of teaching at Lawrence University, played by my colleague and excellent saxophonist Steven Jordheim.…My response is about the same again—stunned and fascinated…The 6 Tone Studies center around the composer's beloved chorales and other materials with religious connotations…These pieces are more modest than the sonata's groundbreaking elements…but they would be welcomed by saxophone students. The sonata is a different sotry, but should be essential listening to all interested in music of the time…"

    – American Record Guide

*Album cover provided for Editorial use only. ©Albany Records. The Albany Imprint is a registered trademark of PARMA Recordings LLC. The views and opinions expressed in this media are those of the artist and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views and opinions held by PARMA Recordings LLC and its label imprints, subsidiaries, and affiliates.