UNC Professor of Saxophone Andrew Dahlke is featured on a recording of a piece chosen
as a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The work is titled The Mechanics: Six From the Shop Floor, composed by CU-Boulder Professor Carter Pann. The Pulitzer Prize in Music is based
off of the recording of the work rather than the written score. Pann’s piece was composed
for the Capitol Quartet, a saxophone quartet in which Dahlke was a member through
Pann first heard the Capitol Quartet in October of 2011 after their performance at CU Boulder in Grusin Hall. Pann immediately knew he wanted to compose for the group. He says, “I was so inspired by them that I found myself practically beating down the door to the green room after the concert, telling them I wanted to compose something for them.” He composed The Mechanics at the MacDowell Colony in Petersborough, NH over a period of one focused month.
Dahlke recorded the piece with the Capitol Quartet in August of 2014 at Michigan State University in the Fairchild Theater, with Pann in attendance. The Mechanics was included as part of the Quartet’s album Balance, released in October of 2015.
Dahlke said that the best preparation for recording the piece was many hours of rehearsal and several significant performances, including a premier at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ in January of 2014. When asked about the significance of this piece and Pann’s award, Dahlke stated “This is important for saxophone and particularly for classical saxophone as the level of playing, recognition, and status within the genre continues to grow.”
Pann was one of three finalists chosen for the Pulitzer. The 2016 winner was jazz composer Henry Threadgill with his work In For A Penny, In For A Pound.