News Release

Southeastern to premiere saxophone quartet Dec. 7

Contact: Christina Chapple


     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University saxophone instructor Richard Schwartz and music colleagues will premiere a saxophone quartet by American composer Lei Liang Dec. 7 at the Pottle Music Building Recital Hall.

     The 6 p.m. recital is free and open to the public.

     Accompanied by adjunct music instructor Marcus Ballard, St. Tammany talented music program teacher Brina Bourliea and Jonathan Mannino, a senior music education major from Slidell, Schwartz will perform Liang’s “Yuan,” commissioned by World-Wide Concurrent Premieres and Commissioning Fund, Inc.

     The musicians will also perform “Three Improvisations” by Phil Wood, renowned as an electrifying jazz saxophone soloist, and “The Goldrush Suite” by Jack W. Marshall, a film and television composer most recognized for the theme to “Gilligan’s Island” and music for “The Munsters.”

     “Yuan” is named for the Chinese syllable whose meanings can include injustice, grievance or lamentation and pledge or prayer.

     Schwartz explained that Liang began composing this piece while contemplating a tragic story from the Chinese Cultural Revolution. “A woman’s husband was tortured and killed by the local village official,” Schwartz said. “Without the means to seek justice, she sought revenge by wailing like a ghost in the woods behind the official’s home every night for months until both she and the official went insane.”

     Liang’s composition was inspired by a parallel  story of injustice told by 14th century Chinese playwright Guan Hanqing in his classic play “Injustice to Dou-E.” Liang interpreted the play to unfold in three stages – injustice, lamentation and prayer, linked together by the rich meanings of a single syllabic yuan.

     Liang is a composer of mostly stage and chamber works that have been performed throughout the world. He earned numerous prizes as both a composer and pianist in China before coming to the United States at age 17. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and Harvard University. Lei Liang has received commissions and is also active in the preservation of traditional Asian music. He is currently assistant professor of composition at the University of California, San Diego.

     Schwartz is instructor of saxophone and jazz at Southeastern and director of the university’s summer music program, the Southeastern Music Festival. The New Jersey native has premiered and commissioned more than 20 works, and has been awarded United States patents for his internationally recognized intonation tool “The Tuning C.D.” and the instructional guide “Circular Breathe Now.”

     Schwartz has worked as a freelance musician throughout the United States and Italy, performing solos with such musical legends as Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin and playing back-up for Linda Ronstadt, Byron Stripling, the Temptations, and Patti Austin.

     Schwartz, who is pursuing his doctoral degree from Boston University, is a graduate of Temple University and the University of Michigan. Before coming to Southeastern, he taught at Boston and Brandeis Universities and was saxophone chamber coach at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.  He has recorded projects for Public Broadcasting and the Toshiba label.

     For additional information, contact Schwartz at 985-549-5938 or

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