I’m very happy to announce the recipients of my Markham Awards for 2022.
This is the tenth year of my Sarah Markham Saxophone Award which I started in 2013 to recognise the achievements of my outstanding graduating students. As I come to the end of academic year I enjoy reflecting on all that my students have achieved and what their future plans are.
When my dad died in 2018 I wanted to do something to honour him and so I established the Ralph Markham Achievement Award. My father was a teacher and he always encouraged his students, my brother, and me, to find our own way in life and to carve a path that was right for us. This award reflects that, and recognises students who have 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, Sheffield, and York have all received awards over the last ten years, and I am delighted to have been able to celebrate the success of my students from all those institutions.
The 2022 recipient of the Sarah Markham Saxophone Award is Rosemary Ball. Rosemary has studied saxophone with me at the Royal College of Music Junior Department since 2018. When she first arrived at the Junior Department, Rosemary was a first study composer and self taught saxophonist, having only played the saxophone for a couple of years (Rosemary is also an accomplished trumpet player). Rosemary and I embarked on a journey, with Rosemary re-auditioning a year later to become a first study saxophonist. It was clear Rosemary had a natural affinity with the saxophone, and it has been a joy to guide her through the first part of her learning these past four years. Rosemary’s many recent successes include: reaching the final of the RCMJD Peter Morrison Concerto competition (playing Dubois Saxophone Concerto), winner of the RCMJD Gordon Turner competition (playing Debussy Syrinx and Yoshimatsu Fuzzy Bird Sonata), and winning the top category competition at the International Greek Saxophone Festival (playing Boutry Divertimento). Rosemary continues her studies with a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in September 2022.
The 2022 recipient of the Ralph Markham Achievement Award is Lucy Havelock. Lucy has studied with me at the University of York since 2019, and her love of saxophone playing has seen her work on many core works in the classical saxophone repertoire, as well as contemporary music. From the start of her degree in 2019 Lucy would volunteer to perform whenever an opportunity arose; this inspired her love of contemporary music and free improvisation. When Covid forced Lucy to work alone she bought herself a loop pedal and began experimenting with sounds and audio layering. Lucy made many recordings and ensured that she was able to continue performing, albeit in a different way. She commissioned and premiered several new works for solo saxophone and also for saxophone and loop pedal. Lucy was the president of Chimera, the University of York’s contemporary music group. In continuing to develop both her playing and her love of music administration she is looking forward to starting a postgraduate course in Europe.
Rosemary and Lucy share a love of music and performance. Both of them are open to the exploration of all genres of music, and they work hard to create opportunities to perform and connect with other musicians. I am very proud of all that they have achieved.
Rosemary and Lucy receive a cash award from me, reeds of their choice from Vandoren, a Venova (a ‘casual’ wind instrument with the range of a recorder using a saxophone mouthpiece) 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.
The academic year is coming to a close and it’s time for me to announce the recipients of my Markham Awards for 2020.
In 2013 I decided to recognise the achievements of my outstanding graduating students and created the annual Sarah Markham Saxophone Award. Later, in 2018, 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 College of Music, the Royal College of Music Junior Department, and the universities of Durham, Huddersfield and Sheffield have all received awards, and I am delighted to have been able to celebrate the success of my students from all those institutions.
This year both of my award winners hail from the Royal College of Music Junior Department.
The Sarah Markham Saxophone Award for outstanding graduating student is awarded to Jasmine Brown. Jasmine has studied with me for six years. I’m very proud of Jasmine; as well as being a talented student she is also my goddaughter. I am grateful to Jasmine’s parents, Katie and Steve, for encouraging Jasmine to attend the RCM Junior Department to enable her to study with me. Jasmine has a scholarship to begin her studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in September.
The Ralph Markham Achievement Award for personal achievement and development is awarded to Rosemary Ball. Rosemary has been attending the RCM Junior Department for nearly two years. She arrived as a first-study composer, second-study trumpeter, and third-study saxophonist, having had only a handful of lessons prior to starting studying with me.
Rosemary has shown remarkable achievements in the last year. Having passed her grade 7 with distinction at the end of 2019, Rosemary decided against working towards grade 8, preferring to delve into more modern music and aspects of technique. Rosemary is now performing works such as Yoshimatsu’s Fuzzy Bird and Lauba’s Balafon, repertoire that would challenge many final year degree students. I’m happy to report that Rosemary is now a first-study saxophonist at the Junior Department and I am looking forward to working with her for another two years.
Both Jasmine and Rosemary receive a cash award from me, reeds of their choice from Vandoren, a voucher for the Yamaha London Store, and a work of their choice from the Saxtet Publications catalogue. I am grateful to Vandoren, Yamaha, and Saxtet for their support of my awards.
My academic year is almost over and I've been spending some time reflecting on the year and planning my saxophone awards. This is the seventh year I have made an award to a graduating student; I'm very proud of all my students and, although I enjoy giving special mention to some, all my teaching is rewarding. The new Ralph Markham award, created in memory of my dad is particularly special. He was a great support to me, my brother, and the students that he taught. We did not have to be the best, but he helped us to find our own path, be independent, and do what was right for us. I have many students who work hard and have an exciting future ahead of them in music as performers and also as peripatetic woodwind teachers or community leaders. I enjoy encouraging them to find their own voice, just like my dad did.
Rianna Henriques is the 2019 recipient of my Sarah Markham Saxophone Award. Rianna has been studying with me at the Royal College of Music Junior Department since 2015. Rianna is an outstanding musician, performing successfully on both saxophone and flute. As well as my award, Rianna has also been awarded the junior department’s Sally Wainwright Woodwind Prize 2019. From September Rianna enters the senior department of the Royal College of Music as a BAME scholar, studying saxophone and flute as joint first study.
Last year I established The Ralph Markham Achievement Award in honour of my father’s life and the endless support he gave me during my musical career. The 2019 recipient is Megan Broadley. Megan has just completed her second year at the University of Huddersfield studying flute, also taking saxophone lessons with me. She is a key member of the University of Huddersfield Saxophone Ensemble. Megan studies privately with me alongside her regular university studies and will this month take her ABRSM diploma. Megan has earned this achievement award in recognition of her independent study, consistent work and huge improvements to her playing in a relatively short space of time.
Both Rianna and Megan receive a cash award from me, reeds of their choice from Vandoren, a voucher from the Yamaha London shop, and a piece of solo saxophone music from Saxtet Publications.
Yesterday was a tough day for me. I really hated that for the first time in 15 years of teaching at the Royal College of Music Junior Department I was prevented from teaching because of the weather. A combination of icy roads in my area, and the East Coast mainline advising people not to travel made it the only sensible decision.
I don't like my students missing their regular lessons and had a bit of a brainwave. Sometimes when students can't meet me, I give a lesson using Skype or FaceTime. The sound quality is quite good over FaceTime and Skype and it is the next best thing to a regular lesson. From my home in Huddersfield I decided that this might work for the students at the Royal College of Music in London. Many of my students live close to London and did make it in, so I was delighted that I was able to give some of them Skype lessons yesterday. The salsa section of Catherine McMichael's Sapphire was transported to my music studio in Huddersfield effortlessly.
I’ve been teaching at the Royal College of Music junior department today as usual, but unusually I’m staying in London for the weekend. That’s because one of my talented students, Teddy Humphrey, is performing a recital in the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall tomorrow morning as part of the classical coffee morning concert series. Teddy is a former student of James Rae and he will be playing the Sonata James wrote for me and my pianist Paul Turner for my 40th birthday concert. Teddy will be joined by two of his fellow students, Matthew and Josephine as well as me to play Iturralde’s Suite Hellanique for saxophone quartet. Teddy will also be playing pieces by Demersseman and Jolivet, pieces that helped him win his place to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama later this year. Teddy also studies jazz saxophone at the RCM junior department with Mornington Lockett, and he’ll be playing a arrangement by Mornington of a Sonny Stitt tune.
It was great working with Teddy and his pianist, Tony earlier today. It’s going to be a fantastic concert in the morning. https://www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/events/2018/classical-coffee-mornings-teddy-humphrey/
Sarah is a Yamaha and Vandoren performing artist.
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.
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.
The.Quirk Saxophone Quartet is made up of like-minded saxophonists:
Sarah Markham - soprano
Kenneth Wilkinson - alto
Chris Jolly - tenor
Sarah Hind - baritone