Frederick Hemke

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This article is about Frederick L. Hemke, the Northwestern University saxophone professor. For the jazz band director and saxophonist at Northern State University, see Frederic Hemke.

Frederick L. Hemke (born 11 July 1935 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is an American saxophonist and former Professor of Music at Northwestern University School of Music.[1]


Hemke received his Bachelor of Science degree in music education from University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 1958. He earned the Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in 1962, and earned the A.Mus.D. (doctor of musical arts) degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1975.[2]

In September 1955 he began studies with Marcel Mule at the Paris Conservatoire National de Musique et de Declamation in Paris, France. He earned the Premier Prix in 1956, becoming the first American saxophonist to earn this distinction.

Teaching career[edit]

Since 1962, Hemke has been the professor of saxophone at the Northwestern University School of Music in Evanston, Illinois. He currently serves as Louis and Elsie Snydacker Eckstein Professor of Music and Associate Dean of the School of Music. In this position he has taught hundreds of saxophonists, many who have gone on to become teachers in their own right. His students teach and perform in teaching and performing positions throughout the world.[3]

His students include:

  • Harvey Pittel, Professor of Saxophone, University of Texas at Austin
  • Jan Berry Baker, Assistant Professor of Saxophone, Georgia State University
  • Roger Birkeland, Professor of Saxophone, Elmhurst College
  • James Bishop, Professor of Saxophone, Stetson University, DeLand, FL
  • Ron Blake, Professor of Jazz Saxophone, Juilliard School of Music, jazz performer and recording artist
  • Dave Bomberg
  • Paul Bro, Professor of Saxophone, Indiana State University
  • Steve Cole, international jazz performer and recording artist
  • David Dees, Professor of Saxophone, Texas Tech University
  • Mark Engebretson. Associate Professor of Composition and Electronic Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Susan Fancher, Saxophone Instructor, Duke University
  • Dan Ferri, Teacher & Owner, DRF Studios, Maitland, Florida
  • Jason Fritts, Teacher and Performer
  • Bunky Green, Director of Jazz Studies, University of North Florida
  • Dr. Jeffrey Loeffert Assistant Professor of Saxophone and Theory at Oklahoma State University
  • Jonathan Helton, Professor of Saxophone, University of Florida
  • Fred Hemke Jr, Professor of Saxophone, Northern State University
  • William Hochkeppel, Professor of Saxophone, University of Louisiana
  • Eric Honour, Professor of Music, Director of Music Technology, University of Central Missouri
  • Jeremy Justes+on, Professor of Saxophone, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  • Gail B. Levinsky, Professor of Saxophone, Susquehanna University
  • Anders Lundegard, international performer
  • Joseph Murphy, Professor of Saxophone, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania[1]
  • Nathan Nabb, Professor of Saxophone, Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Ryo Noda
  • Stephen J. Parker, Teacher, Performer, Naples philharmonic
  • Scott Plugge, Director of the School of Music, Professor of Saxophone, Sam Houston State University
  • Debra Richtmeyer, Professor of Saxophone, University of Illinois
  • Timothy Roberts, Associate Professor of Saxophone, Shenandoah University
  • Johnny Salinas, Professor of Saxophone, San Jacinto College
  • John Sampen, Professor of Saxophone, Bowling Green State University
  • David Sanborn, international jazz performer and recording artist
  • Andy Snitzer, international jazz performer and recording artist
  • William Street, Professor of Saxophone, University of Edmonton
  • Masahito Sugihara, Professor of Saxophone, Sam Houston State University
  • Matthew Younglove, Professor of Saxophone, Wayne State University
  • Naomi Sullivan, Professor of Saxophone, Birmingham Conservatoire
  • Shawn Tracy, Professor of Jazz Saxophone, Merit School of Music
  • Jeremy Williamson, Teacher, Seminole State College & Seminole County Public Schools
  • Kathleen Mitchell, Professor of Saxophone, The College of New Jersey

Other positions[edit]

He has edited a substantial collection of music for saxophone solo and ensembles, most of which is published by the Southern Music Company. He has authored many articles and educational materials. Hemke is well known as the designer of a line of reeds which bear his name. Rico Reeds began making "Frederick L. Hemke" brand saxophone reeds in 1982.

He is an artist-clinician for The Selmer Company, a well-known manufacturer of saxophones, based in Paris, France. In 1979 Hemke was host for the Sixth World Saxophone Congress held at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. Guillermo Hemke Gastelum

Performing career[edit]

Hemke is an internationally acknowledged saxophone player, and he has appeared as a soloist in addition to giving master classes and lectures in the United States, Canada, Scandinavia, and the Far East. He has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and many other orchestras. He has given the premiere performances of several works for saxophone, including Allan Pettersson's "Symphony No. 16" and James Di Pasquale's "Sonata for Tenor Saxophone."

Recordings and publications[edit]

In 1975, Hemke's doctoral dissertation, The Early History of the Saxophone, was published. It explores in depth the saxophone's history and gradual acceptance in the realm of symphonic music.

Among his solo releases are:

  • "Music for Tenor Saxophone" (1975) Brewster Records
  • "Simple Gifts" (2006) Saxo Records
  • The American Saxophonist (2006) Saxo Records
  • The American Saxophone Brewster Records
  • Contemporary Music for Saxophone—Lapider Records
  • (need names of other recordings)

He is featured on several recordings, including:

Numerous pieces have been written for him or dedicated to him, including:

  • "Music for Tenor Saxophone and Piano," written by M. William Karlins in 1969
  • Allan Pettersson's “Symphony No. 16” for orchestra with bravura alto saxophone (commissioned by Hemke)

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ Faculty Profiles, Northwestern University School of Music
  2. ^ Dr. Frederick L. Hemke
  3. ^ Northwestern University
  4. ^ Music Web
  5. ^ Kappa Kappa Psi (2011). "Distinguished Service to Music Medal" (PDF). In Smith, Nick. Guide to Membership for the 2011–2013 Biennium. Stillwater, OK: Kappa Kappa Psi/Tau Beta Sigma. pp. 57–9.