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2018 Clinicians

Saxophonist, composer, producer, and vocalist Eric Darius likes to play by his own rules. Fearlessly pushing all musical boundaries, he is one of the most exciting musicians to enter the Contemporary Jazz scene in the last decade.
His explosive arrival as a recording artist at the age of 17 caused a frenzy worldwide! Now, with six critically acclaimed albums under his belt, a Number One hit single, and Seven Top 10 radio hits on Nielsen’s R&R/Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts, international recording artist, Eric Darius’ star continues to rise straight to the top. Prophetically hailed Debut Artist of the Year by Smooth Jazz News in 2004, Eric has shared the stage with innumerable world renown, Grammy Award-winning artists, such as Prince, Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Blige, David Foster, Carlos Santana, Babyface, Wynton Marsalis & George Benson, just to name a few. His music innovatively crosses over all music boundaries from Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, to Pop, creating a very distinctive, fresh sound and approach that is uniquely his own.

“Artists such as Prince, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Miles Davis have always inspired me because of their fearlessness to express themselves freely from a musical standpoint and allow their music to evolve with each album,” states Eric Darius. Hailing from a musical family with rich traditions in Caribbean music (his father is from Haiti and his mother is from Jamaica), Eric realized his calling for music at an early age. “ I remember being nine years old and hearing a saxophonist play at my church. I instantly loved the sound…I remember being blown away by the soul and emotion of the instrument. It was as if I could almost hear the words and lyrics with each note being played…it was at that point that I fell in love with the instrument. The saxophone has a way of connecting with people in a way that no other instrument does. To me, its expressions are closest to the human voice.” Darius is one of those musicians who was fortunate to benefit from music programs in the school system.  As a result the young musician has made it a mission to pay it forward and has spent a considerable amount of time exposing young students to music in the public school system with his On A Mission in the Schools campaign. He shares, “It is important to me that these types of music programs remain available for children. One of my goals is to expose young kids to music with substance and to help make them aware that music can be an outlet for their emotions…that it can be a positive influence in their lives. By age eleven—after only playing for one year—Eric was chosen to be in Sonny LaRosa and America’s Youngest Jazz Band, which consisted of young musicians, ages five to twelve. The group toured the country and even played at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

Throughout Eric’s young but already dynamic career, he’s had the tremendous opportunity to travel and perform worldwide with numerous groups. Even as a high school student at Blake High School of the Performing Arts and college student at the University of South Florida in Tampa, he had the fortune to travel internationally at such a young age. “My goal is to really help bridge the generational gap and make music that has infinite possibilities,” concludes Eric Darius.

With the release of Retro Forward, Eric Darius is building bridges, forging new paths and ensuring that his heartfelt, organic and honest approach to the music will stand the test of time. Whether he’s being featured on FOX’s hit TV show, The X Factor, or TNT’s hit drama series, Mob City, Eric’s presence is definitely being felt in the entertainment world. He continues to be an artist that knows no boundaries and a force that is unequalled in today’s musical landscape.

 

Neal Postma

Saxophonist and pedagogue Neal Postma holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (MM) and the University of Colorado (BM) and is a currently a DMA Candidate at the University of South Carolina where he serves as a lecturer of Music Appreciation. He is also on the faculty of Winthrop University and Claflin University teaching applied lessons on saxophone and chamber music. As a concert saxophonist Neal has been the featured artist at festivals around the United States. He also has given recitals at universities and various regional, national and international conferences. His primary teachers are Dr. Cliff Leaman, Dr. James Bunte and Tom Myer. Neal is a P. Mauriat and D’Addario Woodwinds endorsing artist performing exclusively on their products.

As an educator Neal currently is currently on the faculty at Winthrop University where he teaches applied lessons on saxophone and coaches the saxophone quartet. He also on the faculty at Claflin University where he teaches applied lessons on saxophone and clarinet. Additionally he is the graduate assistant to the music history department at the University of South Carolina where he teaches undergraduate Music Appreciation. He previously held the position of MYP Director of Western Music at the Guangdong Country Garden International School (an IB accredited institution) near Guangzhou, China. He is also sought after as a clinician having given masterclasses and recitals at the Cincinnati Conservatory, The University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Metropolitan State University of Denver and Denver School of the Arts.

As a soloist he has been featured at conferences and festivals around the world. He has been the featured artist at the Blue Ridge Saxophone Festival, Palm Beach Atlantic University Front Wave New Music Festival, Franklin College Saxophone Day and others. He has also given performances at The World Saxophone Congress, The North American Saxophone Alliance National and Regional Conferences, The US Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium and the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music Conference.

As an adjudicator Neal most recently judged multiple events at the Thailand World Music Competition in Pattaya, Thailand and the first Indonesia International Marching Band Competition in Bogor, Indonesia.

An avid proponent of new music Neal has commissioned and premiered over a dozen solo and chamber works by composers such as Carter Pann, Adam Silverman, Marc Mellits, Anthony Green, Brendan Keenan, Matthew Browne, Greg Simon, and Hunter Ewen. Neal has personally led consortiums commissioning two concertos from Matt Browne, a work for two saxophones and piano from Grammy nominated composer Carter Pann and a piece for alto saxophone and electronics by Anthony Green. Recently he was a featured artist at the Front Wave New Music Festival in West Palm Beach, Florida working with composer John Fitz Rogers. This summer he will premiere a new work for two saxophone and piano by Adam Silverman.

Neal currently works with D’Addario Woodwinds on their new Woodwinds Method Program. This program promotes products at universities, public schools, lessons studios and music studios across the US. In this capacity he has given over forty clinics at leading institutions in both the Southeast US and California.

In 2017 Neal took on the position of Orchestra Manager for the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra in Branson, Missouri. He also serves on the board for and is a founding member of the American Single Reed Summit which will have its first summit in 2018 at Truman State University.