Thoughts, News and Events

Saxophonist | Educator | Conductor | Mentor

New Year Update

I feel very lucky to be starting 2023 relaxed and in practise. I took some time at the end of 2022 to rest and recuperate after a busy few months of performing and teaching. I enjoyed getting back to basics with my scales and exploring repertoire plans for the new year.

Over the past year I have increasingly been using my tablet when reading music; when I buy a piece of music I try if possible to get a digitised copy. I prefer having all my repertoire, studies, and technique books to hand when I’m both practising and teaching. This is my way of staying focussed as I can choose to work on the most appropriate technical aspects of my playing for the day. It’s much easier to see (age I’m afraid…) using a lit screen and the ability to zoom in to a page. I do have to turn the pages more often (especially in landscape mode), made easier by using a bluetooth foot-pedal. Gone are the days of struggling to read the notes and the excuses when I make a mistake! 

In February the Quirk Saxophone Quartet will be bringing our eclectic sound to the newly transformed performance space at All Saints Church in Netherthong near Holmfirth. We have created a joyful mix of music, including works by Ravel, Mendelssohn, Bob Mintzer, Philippe Geiss and our own Chris Jolly. The challenge when working with my Quirk colleagues is matching our sounds as we change from classical to jazz to funk.

I’ve just changed my soprano jazz mouthpiece: I am now playing on a Vandoren V16 number 6 opening, rather than my previous V16 with an 8 opening. The smaller mouthpiece chamber of the 6 enables me to produce the sound I want with the control I need. This concert precedes our planned recording session in April. We’ll be recording Chris Jolly’s quartet Smudge amongst a few other works.

In March I celebrate the tenth year of my annual Saxophone Day. On Sunday 5th March I will be hosting a Play-Day in the beautiful St. Paul’s Hall at the University of Huddersfield. There will be four different playing sessions, each with their own music to explore. The sessions will be led by myself, Chris Jolly, Richard Ingham, and Rob Ironside. You can find out more here.

April sees my return to Greece for the inspiring International Greek Saxophone Festival. I will be giving a recital, running a workshop, and also be a jury member for the saxophone competition. I have decided my programme and I am looking forward to sharing my music with the students and teachers of the Greek saxophone community. It’s always an absolute pleasure to see and hear my friends at the festival.

Album launch: Quirk Saxophone Quartet with Richard Ingham

I am very excited to share with you Quirk’s latest recording: Nine Pieces for Five Players. The album contains nine original compositions by Richard Ingham. The Quirk Saxophone Quartet (soprano Sarah Markham, alto Kenneth Wilkinson, tenor Chris Jolly, baritone Sarah Hind) were joined by Richard on soprano saxophone to record the pieces.

Nine Pieces for Five Players was originally commissioned by and written for the Plume Wind Quintet. When I asked Richard if he would write something for saxophone quintet, he decided to rework these pieces for two sopranos, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophone.

Several of the movements were performed in Zagreb at the World Saxophone Congress. We were very excited about the blend of sound created with the quintet of saxophones, which prompted Richard to arrange the rest of the movements. Each movement is very different, and the whole album incorporates many musical styles. Five of the movements feature a member of the ensemble as a soloist with the others accompanying.

There is jazz, latin, funk, folk, as well as contemporary classical influence throughout the album.

View the launch video on the Quirk Music website.

The album is available now at the Quirk Music store, direct from Largo Music, on Apple Music (iTunes), Amazon, and Spotify.

Looking back...

2018-19 was a really busy year.

I returned to Greece to play at the International Greek Saxophone Festival in Larisa, this time with my quartet; Quirk, in duo with Kenneth Wilkinson, and also as a soloist. Being with the Greek saxophone community and enjoying the festival is very inspiring: I’m excited to have been invited back in 2020.

I had an exciting weekend performing Ibert’s Concertino da Camera with the London Sylvan Ensemble, a group of amazingly talented and committed musicians. The next day I joined Paul Turner at the Swindon Recital Series 25th Anniversary Concert to perform Walton’s Façade with the MORE ensemble. It was interesting to be a ‘soloist diva’ on the Saturday night and switch to working within an ensemble on the Sunday afternoon.

I invited ensembles to be the focus of my Sixth Annual Saxophone Day at the University of Huddersfield. I welcomed Equinox, Yorkshire Saxophone Choir, and my saxophone student alumni to join me and Quirk. Only a few days later, at the Sounds Like THIS Festival in Leeds I was a soloist again, sharing the billing with inspirational contemporary violinist Aisha Orazbayeva.

There’s also been a lot of travelling. I took my partner Kenneth to Amherst Massachusetts to show him where I studied for two years during my masters degree in performance at UMass. We stayed with Professor Emeritus Lynn Klock, my former teacher. Hanging out with Lynn was great - we did our scales together bringing back student memories! We went to visit the UMass saxophone studio, now in the very capable and gentle hands of Jonathan Hulting-Cohen.

There’s lots more that I won’t bore you with; a wonderful trip to Barcelona with my partner and mum enjoying the works of Gaudí, a recording in the highlands of Scotland with Quirk…

It’s odd that my dad hasn’t been around to see what I’ve been up to.

It’s almost a year since my dad died and I’ll be travelling with my mum to France where I last spent time with him. It’s not planned, as a family we don’t do grand gestures of mourning, but I am glad circumstances mean that I’ll be back in Trédion for a day or two to remember him.

Fifth Annual Saxophone Day - 8th March 2018

I'm finalising details of my fifth annual saxophone day at the University of Huddersfield. All the details and the day's programme of events can be found here.

It's great to have Richard Ingham as my featured guest, he was my first specialist saxophone teacher. We've known each other since he began teaching me in 1987. We've worked together many times, including in the Northern Saxophone Quartet. We've performed many times as a duo, including performing Lauba's Ars at the World Saxophone Congress in Slovenia. The saxophone day will include a rare performance of Dialogue de l’Ombre Double (Boulez) by Richard, alongside Pete Stollery (sound diffusion). My saxophone quartet Quirk will also be performing, and helping run the workshops.

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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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