Saxophonist Doug O’Connor is passionate about sharing music that challenges audiences to explore, connect, and grow. His athletic performances feature music from all eras and in many styles, including classical, contemporary, jazz, and electronic. He strives to champion new works, present adventurous and innovative chamber music, and perform with an improvisatory command of music from Bach to Coltrane. O’Connor honed his artistic mission while performing on the Astral Artists roster from 2003 to 2013 and completing his training at the Eastman School of Music, where he earned his MM and DMA degrees in 2008 and 2012, and eventually went on to serve as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Saxophone in the fall of 2017. In addition, he served as Associate Lecturer of Saxophone at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, as a saxophonist with the United States Naval Academy Band, and since 2016 as a saxophonist with the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” (TUSAB). He is proud to be a co-founder of the Global Premiere Consortium Commissioning Project, an online platform for instigating the composition, dissemination, and performance of new music worldwide, the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Chamber Music at TUSAB, and alto saxophonist with acclaimed chamber music ensemble, Project Fusion Saxophone Quartet.
Starting in the Fall of 2023, he is thrilled to be joining the faculty at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
Praised for his “seamless technique” and “sumptuous lyricism” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), Doug O’Connor has performed as soloist across Asia, Europe, and the U.S., including appearances at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Merkin Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. He holds DMA and MM degrees from the Eastman School of Music, and a BM in Saxophone Performance from the University of Maryland. O’Connor recently served as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the Eastman School of Music, as Associate Lecturer of Saxophone at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, as saxophonist with the United States Naval Academy Band, and is currently employed as ceremonial saxophonist with the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”.
O’Connor recently released a collaborative album on the Innova label with composer Dr. Baljinder Sekhon, “Alchemy”, a compendium of a decade of output from their composer-performer partnership. He has performed as a concerto soloist at the 2014 and 2018 North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conferences, at the World Saxophone Congress XV in Bangkok, where he gave the world-première performance of Christian Lauba’s 15th etude, Worksong, and has been featured with the National Symphony Orchestra, Symphony in C, Musica Nova, the Eastman and University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Jazz Ensembles, as well as various college percussion ensembles. He was the 2nd Prize winner of the 2008 International Jean-Marie Londeix Saxophone Competition in Bangkok. He has won top prizes in many other solo competitions, including the NASA Classical Solo Competition, the MTNA Young Artist Woodwind Competition, the 2004 National Symphony Orchestra Young Soloists Competition, and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s Mary Graham Lasley competition. Finally, he was a winner of Astral Artists’ 2003 National Auditions and was a finalist for the Concert Artists Guild competition in 2009.
Cultivating a passion for chamber music, O’Connor was a founding member of the Red Line Saxophone Quartet. While playing soprano saxophone in Red Line, the group won grand prizes at the Chesapeake, Coleman, NASA, and MTNA chamber music competitions, as well as gold medals at the Fischoff and Plowman chamber competitions. Red Line premiered five new works for sax quartet and electronics on MATA’s Interval Series in NYC and released a CD on iTunes, “Back Burner”. Today, he continues his passion for chamber music achievement with the Project Fusion Saxophone Quartet. As a jazz artist, O’Connor freelances throughout the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area and recently toured with the Airmen of Note at the Lionel Hampton and Missouri State Jazz festivals on baritone saxophone and bass clarinet.