Eastern Michigan University student Aj Pratt will be performing on the saxophone in his first recital, “Introspective,” Monday at 7 p.m. in the Alexander Recital Hall.
Pratt, a fourth year music education major, had his start in playing saxophone when he was in the sixth grade after being drawn to the instrument during an instrument test. He has been playing and performing throughout grade school, high school and now at EMU.
Pratt is involved in the Wind Symphony, the Saxophone Quartet at EMU and the EMU Saxophone Studio. Pratt has also arranged pieces set for choirs and other instruments to saxophones and saxophone ensembles at EMU.
Pratt decided to put on a recital as a way to work towards something in the short term to prepare and audition for graduate school where he hopes to go for performance. There was also music in the recital that spoke to him that he wanted to share that with everyone.
The title “Introspective” was chosen by Pratt based off the events from the beginning of the year both in the professional school and his personal life. Originally, the recital was not to have a title.
“It had kind of been a theme for me this semester where I had been thinking really internally about myself,” Pratt said. “I also realized that each of the pieces I’m playing at the recital are having an affect or a connection with me as a person. It felt appropriate to convey that feeling.”
After performing last year at a recital with a colleague, this will be Pratt’s first recital on his own. He has described his experience as consisting of hard work, more intense practicing than previously and late nights and early mornings.
This year, Pratt will be playing 80 minutes of music and will be performing with pianist Liz Ames who has worked in collaboration with other saxophonists.
“Playing with her has been great and I learned a lot as a player and as a person,” Pratt said.
There will also be a duet performance with EMU professor of saxophone, Woody Chenoweth, and a guest performance at the end of the recital.
Attendees can expect a diverse range of pieces such as those written in the early 20th century to modern electronics where there will be a solo saxophone and a tape in the background. There will also be French pieces from the 1940’s.
“I’m trying to have good collection of different styles because there is so much and sometimes people don’t expose themselves because they don’t know what’s available,” Pratt said.
Due to the recital being an individual performance rather than an orchestra performance, Pratt thinks it will be good for people to step outside their comfort zones.
“It’s more of an intimate feeling so I think they’re going to get more out of it as an individual. It’s going to feel like more of a personal experience and for me performing I try to make it feel welcoming to the audience,” said Pratt.
Pratt hopes the audience can open themselves up to something they may have not seen before or heard and be willing to look at something familiar from a different perspective.
“The introspective theme applies to audience members as well. I think the works will resonate with people. Anyone who is familiar with a piece will be connected in some way,” he said.
“Introspective” is free and a light reception will follow afterwards.