John Harle is one of the world’s leading saxophonists, and the most significant performer of the saxophone in the concert hall today. With over half a million record sales within the classical genre, he has popularised the classical saxophone, bringing it to the forefront of the public’s imagination, whilst inspiring a wealth of new works for the instrument from composers of international recognition.
Creating history at The Royal College of Music, London with a final graduation mark of 100%, and after post-graduate study in Paris with Daniel Deffayet, he quickly developed and established a different sound for the classical saxophone that would lead to it’s acceptance and celebration within the general public, based on techniques of breathing and sound production more frequently used in singing. Uniquely vocal and expressive through musical lines of great intensity, his sound was described by Michael Nyman as a ‘hard-edged, vocal romanticism’
John went on to win the Concert Artists Guild Amcon Award in New York which launched a major international soloist career encompassing concerto appearances across the globe with the world’s most distinguished conductors.
He has had over twenty five concerti written for him, by composers such as John Tavener, Michael Nyman, Gavin Bryars, Mark Anthony Turnage, Michael Torke and Sir Harrison Birtwistle. In 1995, his outrageous performance of Birtwistle’s Saxophone Concerto “Panic”, which he premiered at the Last Night of the Proms, propelled him to a level of high international recognition, and in 1996, John followed this performance with his own work,“Terror and Magnificence”, recorded by Decca, and performed with Elvis Costello, culminated in a sell-out concert at the Royal Festival Hall.
He has worked prominently with the conductors Riccardo Chailly, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Neville Marriner and Franz Welser-Most. In recital, John Harle works regularly with Steve Lodder and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.
In 1989 John Harle was appointed Professor of Saxophone and Chamber Music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and has taught and mentored most significant younger british saxophonists. His teaching continues from 2012 with a personally designed MMus in Saxophone Performance at Canterbury Christ Church University.