"The player who left the greatest impression with me was the saxophonist Adrianne Honnold whose sound was so warm and nostalgic in “Il vecchio castello” (“The Old Castle”) that I began to question why the instrument isn't standard in a typical orchestra!" (kcmetropolis.org)
photo credit: Brandon Krepel
Saxophonist Adrianne Honnold teaches at Maryville University and St. Louis Community College, and is currently pursuing her PhD in Musicology (Popular Music Studies) at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. She received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1998, and a Master of Music degree in Saxophone Performance from the same institution in 2005, where she studied with Debra Richtmeyer and Chip McNeill. She has performed in master classes with Jean-Marie Londeix, Eugene Rousseau, and Griffin Campbell, and has performed with award winning artists such as Arturo Sandoval, Kristen Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Ben Folds, the New York Voices, Eddie Daniels, Bob Mintzer, Clark Terry, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jon Faddis, John Fedchock, and the Miracles.
Ms. Honnold's performing career has been extensive and stylistically multi-faceted. She is a former member of the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band and Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble located at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, where she was the principal saxophonist in the concert band and was a featured concerto soloist three times. Ms. Honnold has been performing regularly with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) since 2004, working with conductors such as David Robertson, Marin Alsop, and Bramwell Tovey, to name a few. She performed with the orchestra on their European tour in 2012 at the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall, the Philharmonie in Berlin, and the Salle Pleyel in Paris. Additionally, she has performed several times with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and the SLSO including only the second staging of John Adams’ Nixon in China, the world premiere of Peter Ash’s The Golden Ticket in 2010, and the world premiere of 27 by Ricky Ian Gordon in 2014. She has also performed with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera Kansas City, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the USAF Band of Mid-America, the Sessions Big Band, the St. Louis Jazz Orchestra, and the NATO Jazz Orchestra. Additionally, she is a former member of the Missouri Saxophone Quartet, and is an avid chamber musician performing with Chamber Project St. Louis since 2007, a non-profit arts organization that she co-founded.
Ms. Honnold's research involves questions of performativity, musical meaning, and socio-cultural considerations relating to race, gendered identities, and the concept of cool as they relate to musical instruments. Her dissertation is entitled "'Unacknowledged Ubiquity': The Saxophone in Popular Music" and explores the polysemic nature of the instrument. The study is an ethnographic approach to understanding the instrument's pervasive use in popular music and the lack of acknowledgement for saxophonists as recording artists who perform on the hit songs that surround us in our daily lives. The project includes a brief history of the saxophone and its performers in popular music, a discussion of the saxophone and its cultural significance in terms of gender, race, and the concept of "cool", and a semiotic reading of the instrument's significance in popular music and its discourses. The cornerstone of the project is interviews of professional saxophonists currently performing and recording with some of the world's top-selling popular artists, including Jeff Watkins (James Brown, Joss Stone), Lenny Pickett (SNL, Tower of Power, David Bowie), Mindi Abair, Mike Burton (Jill Scott, Mary J. Blige), and Carlos Sosa (Jason Mraz, Kelly Clarkson) to name a few. This project aims to impart acknowledgement to those actors who play a crucial supporting role in generating the soundscape of today's popular music and to define the meanings represented by the saxophone in contemporary popular music.
Ms. Honnold has been a member of the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) since 1994, and has been a featured performer and lecturer at various biennial and regional NASA conferences as well as the World Saxophone Congresses in St. Andrews, Scotland, Strasbourg, France, and Zagreb, Croatia. She has commissioned and premiered several works, and recently premiered an award-winning work for baritone saxophone and percussion at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention.
In addition to her collegiate teaching duties, Ms. Honnold has been teaching privately since 1995. Her students have been selected as members of All-State and All-Collegiate ensembles in Illinois and Missouri and have also received scholarships to study music at some of the top universities in the United States and abroad. Additionally, Ms. Honnold has presented master classes at several high schools around the country as well as at the University of Missouri and Southeast Missouri State University. She has also presented clinics at the Missouri Music Educators Association annual conference.
A scholar of popular music and culture, Ms. Honnold has taught the History of Rock Music in both the traditional classroom setting as well as online at the university level since 2007. The class is a year-by-year review of the music, artists, composers, record producers, and others associated with rock 'n' roll and pop from 1954 to the present with emphasis on the socio-cultural impact that popular music has on society. She has also taught undergraduate music history courses at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, focusing on western art music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Ms. Honnold has appeared on eleven recordings with the USAF Heritage of America Band, Get Here Sooner with the University of Illinois Concert Jazz Band, "27" with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and the release of previously unpublished works for saxophone ensemble by Percy Grainger, edited and published by Joyce Griggs.
Ms. Honnold is an Artist-endorser for the Conn-Selmer Corporation and is proud to perform on Selmer and Yanagisawa saxophones exclusively.
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She is proud to be a founding member and former Artistic Director of Chamber Project St. Louis.
Ms. Honnold currently lives in San Antonio with her husband Derek and their dog Bob Marley.
The Times of London called the St. Louis Symphony’s Proms performance “magnificent” and found it to be full of “unconfined joy.”
The Guardian noted the (St. Louis) Symphony played Gershwin's An American in Paris “with bags of style and just the right mix of wonder and sleaze. The encore was…jaw-droppingly virtuosic and terrific fun.”