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Saxophonist | Educator | Conductor | Mentor

2021 Markham Awards

It’s the time of year when I announce the recipients of my Markham awards.

I established the Sarah Markham Saxophone Award in 2013 to recognise the achievements of my outstanding graduating students; five years later I established the Ralph Markham Achievement Award in my late father’s name to recognise students who had achieved great personal success and development in their saxophone playing.

Students from Leeds Conservatoire, the Royal College of Music Junior Department, and the universities of Durham, Huddersfield and Sheffield have all received awards over the last eight years, and I am delighted to have been able to celebrate the success of my students from all those institutions.

The Sarah Markham Saxophone Award 2021 for outstanding graduating student is awarded to Matthew Bartlett. Matt has just completed his degree at Durham University. For the first eighteen months of his degree Matt would regularly travel to have lessons with me, the remaining time has been studying remotely with a combination of zoom lessons and shared recordings. Because of the restrictions I was not able to attend Matt’s final recital, but I was able to watch him in his final sound check. His final recital performance of Debussy’s Syrinx, Bonneau’s Pièce Concertante Dans L'Esprit Jazz, Fuzzy Bird Sonata by Yoshimatsu, Buku by Jacob TV and ending with a small jazz set with his friends forming a rhythm section showcased the versatility of Matt’s playing and the scope of his musical interests. Matt intends to take some time to continue to develop his playing and will spend some time in Canada over the next year.

The Ralph Markham Achievement Award 2021 for personal achievement and development is awarded to Will Gibbon. Will has just completed his studies at Leeds Conservatoire. Will spent four years at Leeds Conservatoire, beginning with a Foundation Year before embarking on the three year degree course where Will majored in classical saxophone with a minor in jazz. As well as studying with me as his classical saxophone teacher and playing in classical ensembles from duo to quartet, Will also studied jazz saxophone and played in numerous jazz and pop ensembles. Will is a talented drummer and many times would arrive to his saxophone lesson with his sticks because he had just come from a drumming session. For his final recitals Will performed in a jazz ensemble to fulfil his minor in jazz requirement; in his classical recital Will performed Ganba by Anne Boyd on baritone saxophone, Concerto for Stan Getz by Richard Rodney Bennett on tenor saxophone and Buku by Jacob TV on alto saxophone. Will has established himself in the Leeds music scene and is busy with session work on both saxophone and drums with an increasing number of live gigs now that restrictions are easing.

Both Matt and Will studied with me from the age of 16, Matt as a student at the Royal College of Music Junior Department and Will privately. It has been a joy to watch them both develop as people and musicians, and it is a source of great pride that both these musicians have recognised that good saxophone playing encompasses all genres of music.

Matt and Will receive a cash award from me, reeds of their choice from Vandoren, a Pianica (a three octave keyboard played like a wind instrument) from Yamaha, and a work of their choice from the Saxtet Publications catalogue. I am grateful to Vandoren, Yamaha, and Saxtet Publications for their support of my awards.

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Sarah Markham


Saxophonist Educator Conductor Mentor


Sarah is a Yamaha and Vandoren performing artist.

Sarah Markham


Sarah Markham's teaching practice welcomes students of all ages and abilities. Focuses include preparing students for music college, and helping amateur musicians get the most from their playing. Sarah is a specialist in helping students with performance anxiety issues.

Quirk Duo


The Quirk Duo is saxophonists Sarah Markham and Kenneth Wilkinson. Between them they have a performing career spanning sixty years, enjoying many genres including solo recitals, opera, orchestral, jazz, pop and chamber music. The Quirk Duo is a distillation of those experiences, an exploration of possibilities.

Quirk Saxophone Quartet


The.Quirk Saxophone Quartet is made up of like-minded saxophonists:

Sarah Markham - soprano
Kenneth Wilkinson - alto
Chris Jolly - tenor
Sarah Hind - baritone

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