Arts & Culture

UK Sophomore Takes Honors at International Saxophone Competition

photo of Lisa Osland, Kirby Davis, Jeff Coffin & Miles Osland
UK sophomore Kirby Davis (second from left) took second place in the NASA Collegiate Jazz Competition. Davis is seen here with fellow saxophone players UK faculty member Lisa Osland, popular musician Jeff Coffin and UK Jazz Studies Director Miles Osland.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 6, 2018) Saxophone performance sophomore Kirby Davis, of Greenville, Kentucky, recently took second place honors at the North American Saxophone Alliance Jazz Soloist Competition held March 8-11, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The North American Saxophone Alliance’s (NASA) international biennial conference, hosted this year by University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, featured several competitions including: the High School Solo Competition; the High School Jazz Competition; the Quartet Competition; the Collegiate Solo Competition; and the Collegiate Jazz Competition. To be eligible to compete, all participants had to be current members of NASA.

Kirby Davis, second place winner of the Collegiate Jazz Competition, took home a cash prize of $1,000. Davis, a member of the Lewis Honors College, studies with Miles Osland, professor of saxophone and director of Jazz Studies at the UK School of Music. Last fall, the sophomore was selected to perform as part of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Student Music Ensemble.

Davis showed exceptional work advancing through NASA’s recorded preliminary round, as well as a live semifinal round of the competition before making it to the final. In the final round, up to six saxophonists are invited to perform a new four-selection, 30-minute program that included the following styles: jazz ballad, medium tempo swing, up-tempo or jazz-latin.

At UK, Davis is the lead tenor saxophonist in the Jazz Ensemble and plays alto and tenor saxophone in the top Mega-Sax Quartet, both of which are directed by Osland. In addition, Kirby plays baritone saxophone in the UK Wind Symphony and UK Saxophone Quartet.

“This award is a major accomplishment,” Osland said, when asked about Davis’ recent honor. “As a sophomore, he was competing against students who were much older than he is."

NASA is an organization made up of individuals who share a common interest in the saxophone. Members include professional performers, university professors, public school teachers, students of all levels and others. In addition to the alliance's emphasis on disseminating information concerning the saxophone, the organization also works to provide opportunities for its members to make music, fostering fellowship among saxophone enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds.

The UK School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered national recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition, and theory and music history.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue