Erik Elmgren is a concert saxophonist, chamber musician, and educator dedicated to representing the flexibility of the instrument in compositions ranging from transcriptions to contemporary works. Erik maintains an active schedule as an award-winning soloist and chamber musician. As a soloist, he has received prizes in the MTNA National Young Artist Competition, the Vandoren Emerging Artist Competition, and has won the University of Illinois Concerto Competition. He also was a Finalist in the North American Saxophone Alliance Soloist Competition in 2016 and a two-time semifinalist at the International Saxophone Symposium and Competition held in 2012 and 2014.
As alto saxophonist with the award-winning Fuego Quartet, he has won the Gold Medal at the 44th annual Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, first prize at the 2017 Plowman Chamber Music Competition, second prize at the MTNA Chamber Music Competition, and won the 198th Army Band Reserve Competition. The quartet has also placed at the Eastman Honors Chamber Music Competition and received the school’s John Celentano Award for Excellence in Chamber Music. In addition to performance, Fuego places a high priority on teaching and community engagement. The group has presented masterclasses at Nazareth College and performed throughout the Rochester community at venues such as Strong National Museum of Play, The George Eastman Museum, Dorris Carlson Reading Garden, The Washington Square Concert Series and [Col][lab].
Currently, Erik is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Saxophone Performance and Literature at the University of Georgia, where he also serves as a teaching assistant. He holds a Masters Degree in Saxophone Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, where he was also a saxophone teaching assistant and maintained an active performing schedule with the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Fuego Quartet, OSSIA New Music, and the Eastman Saxophone Project, which is the first conductor-less saxophone ensemble in the United States to perform entirely from memory. In the summer of 2016, Erik travelled with the Eastman Saxophone Project to present a two-week concert tour in China. He also received the Eastman Arts Leadership Certificate, and worked as an intern in Eastman’s Communications Office where he helped curate and present all print and digital media for the school, as well as managed its social media presence.
As a committed proponent of new music, Erik served on the board of OSSIA New Music, a student-run new music collective at the Eastman School of Music. As part of the board, he helped curate a four-concert season at the Eastman School of Music in addition to numerous community engagement concerts. Furthermore, he helped plan and facilitate a three-day residency by the JACK Quartet at the Eastman School of Music in celebration of OSSIA’s 20th anniversary. Other duties on the board include managing the collective’s public relations and social media presence, assisting with concert recruitment, developing a budget, and running two commission competitions for Eastman students and international applicants.
Prior to attending Eastman, Erik graduated with highest honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelors degree in Saxophone Performance. At the University of Illinois, Erik’s musical accomplishments earned him several awards including the Edmund J. Plasczcykowski Memorial Award for Excellence in Music, the Verna K. Townsend Award, the Duane A. Branigan Award, and the Guy Duker Award for Musical Excellence from the University of Illinois Bands Department. His academic achievements earned him an invitation to join the University Chancellor’s Scholars and James’ Scholars Honors Programs and he was on the Dean’s List for all four years. He was also recognized as a Bronze Tablet Scholar as part to the top three percent of the graduating class at the University of Illinois. His primary teachers include Connie Frigo, Chien-Kwan Lin, and Debra Richtmeyer.