KAMEN An American Symphony from Mr. Holland’s Opus
KAMEN Saxophone Concerto
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring
Andrew Cleaver, saxophone
Aaron Collins unleashes the full force of Stravinsky’s powerful masterwork with a gigantic orchestra. A legendary, avant-garde ballet score, The Rite of Spring shocked audiences into a frenzy at its Paris premiere creating musical tremors still felt today. Once decried, it is now a cornerstone of orchestral repertoire and considered by many to be the greatest work of the 20th century. Its elemental, pulse-pounding, and heavy metal nature is best summed up by Stravinsky, who, in an unaccustomed moment of humility, said that he didn’t feel he was the composer of the piece, but simply the vessel through which it passed. The concert is rounded out with two works from Grammy-winning composer Michael Kamen. One of America’s most popular composers, Kamen’s sweeping and epic Saxophone Concerto will be performed by Andrew Cleaver. An American Symphony is the title track for the finale symphonic piece played at the end of the 1995 film Mr. Holland’s Opus. It’s poignant, touching and speaks of loss, sorrow, nostalgia, and triumph.
Saxophonist and Melbourne, Fl, resident Andrew Cleaver has been a professional soloist for more than 35 years. He started his musical life as a young US Air Force performer after graduating from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Thirty-five years later, after becoming a military retiree with 14 years as a Treasury Department employee, Andrew considers July’s performance of Kamen’s Concerto for Saxophone to be the absolute high point of his music career. Andrew is known locally for his proficiency in educating and inspiring young Melbourne-area saxophonists at his private lesson studio. A great example of his impact on students is this year’s Brevard All-County Jazz Band. Of the six saxophonists chosen across the entire county, five were a part of his Suntree Sax Studio. Andrew also works with Brevard County schools including Viera, Melbourne and Heritage high schools. Andrew performed on the Grammy Award-winning, "PDQ Bach: Music for an Awful Lot of Winds and Percussion," for Best Comedy Album in 1992 - ahead of runners-up Rita Rudner, Jonathan Winters, George Burns and "Weird Al" Yankovic. He has performed with The Ronettes, Louise Mandrell, Kevin Eubanks, The Beverly Sisters, Karrin Allyson, Paquito D’Rivera, Eugene Rousseau and even Bill Clinton. His military performance tours lead him through 20 countries with audiences that included England's Queen Mother, Prime Minister John Major, presidents Bush, Clinton and Obama as well as several U.S. senators and other international dignitaries.
Andrew enlisted in the Air Force in 1988 to join the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. In 1992, he transferred to The United States Air Forces in Europe Band as principal alto saxophonist and lead for the Air Force's Glenn Miller Band sax section while serving as Drum Major for the Air Force Ceremonial Band. He transferred to the Band of Mid-America at Scott AFB in Illinois in 1996 and joined the Air Force Public Affairs team at the Pentagon in September 2001, which lead to his position in The United States Air Force Band at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C., as a public affairs specialist, saxophonist and concert announcer in 2003. While at Bolling, Andrew was assigned to the Air Force’s premier jazz ensemble, The Airmen of Note, and retired in 2009.
Aside from being his mother’s favorite recording artist, Andrew continues to work at the US Department of Treasury and performs with the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra, the SCSO Sax Quartet, the Space Coast Big Band and other local groups. He spends his "free time" helping his wife with her home organizing business while giving his grown children fatherly advice that they never asked for.