Eugene Rousseau (saxophonist)

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Eugene Rousseau
American saxophonist Eugene Rousseau, 2004
Background information
Born (1932-08-23) 23 August 1932 (age 84)
Blue Island, Illinois
United States
Genres Classical music
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, professor
Instruments alto
Soprano saxophone

Eugene Rousseau (born August 23, 1932 in Blue Island, Illinois) is an American classical saxophonist. He plays mainly the alto and soprano saxophones.

He studied at the Paris conservatory on a Fulbright grant with Marcel Mule in 1962.[1] Following his studies at the Paris Conservatory, he earned a doctorate degree at the University of Iowa where his principal teacher was Himie Voxman. With Paul Brodie,[2] an other pupil of Marcel Mule, he was the co-organizer of the first World Saxophone Congress in Chicago in 1969.[3] The first such organization for an individual instrument, considered by many to be a major turning point in establishing credibility for the saxophone as a serious medium of musical expression. During 2005 Rousseau served as President of the Organizing Committee for the World Saxophone Congress XIII, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The North American Saxophone Alliance honored him with its highest award – Honorary Life Membership.

He has been a consultant for saxophone research to the Yamaha Corporation since 1972 and has played exclusively on Yamaha saxophones since that time.[4]

The "Eugene Rousseau saxophone mouthpiece" has been commercially available since the late 1970s.

In 1985, he recorded a video program for Yamaha Corporation called Steps to Excellence.[4]

Rousseau has served as President of both the North American Saxophone Alliance (1979–1980) and the Comité International du Saxophone (1982–1985).[4]

In 1993, Eugene Rousseau was designated an honorary faculty member of the Prague Conservatory.

In 2003, Rousseau hosted the 13th World Saxophone Congress at the University of Minnesota School of Music.

Teaching and performing career[edit]

Rousseau is a well-known orchestral saxophonist and teacher. Many of his students have gone on to become well-known saxophone teachers.

He taught at Indiana University for 36 years, from 1964 to 2000. He was succeeded as professor of saxophone by Otis Murphy, himself a former student of Rousseau. He holds the title of "Distinguished Professor of Music" there.[1]

Rousseau now teaches at the University of Minnesota. He joined the faculty of the School of Music there in fall 2000.

He has taught a master course at the prestigious Mozarteum in Salzburg annually since 1991.


He wrote a book which was published in France under the title Marcel Mule: sa vie et le saxophone and also in America under the title Marcel Mule: His Life and the Saxophone He also published two method books: The E. Rousseau Beginning Saxophone Method (English, German, Japanese)and Saxophone High Tones (English, French, German). In addition, he has had many transcriptions published for saxophone performance.

Rousseau is currently working on publishing an etude book involving Ferling's "24 Etudes". The book will focus only on the slower, more lyrical movements and will include instructional tips and alternate fingerings from Rousseau, himself.


he appears on many recordings, several of which are currently commercially available on CD. He has recorded with the Haydn Trio of Vienna, the Budapest Strings, and the Winds of Indiana.

  • Saxophone Concertos, issued 1971 by Deutsche Grammophon, was the first disc containing only saxophone concertos with orchestra. This recording was reissued on compact disc in 1998.
  • Saxophone Vocalise (Delos 3188) features Rousseau with the Winds of Indiana, Frederick Fennell, conductor, playing classical music of Bruch, Gershwin, Heiden, Massenet, Muczynski, Puccini et al.[5]
  • Celebration (McGill) features Rousseau with the Gerald Danovitch Saxophone Quartet
  • Eugene Rousseau with the Haydn Trio of Vienna (RICA-1003)
  • The Music of Jindrich Feld ( RICA-1004) features Rousseau playing music of this Czech composer Jindrich Feld with the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra and pianist Jaromir Klepac
  • The Undowithoutable Instrument (RICA-1002) features Rousseau playing soprano saxophone with the Budapest Strings
  • Saxophone Masterpieces (RICA-1001) features Rousseau with pianist Jaromir Klepac
  • Mr. Mellow (Liscio) features Rousseau with the ER Big Band
  • Meditation From Thais (ALCD-7021) features Rousseau playing classical works on several different sizes of saxophones

Musical works written for Rousseau[edit]

Several well-known pieces for classical saxophone were written for Rousseau, including:


  1. ^ a b "IU Feature: The saxophone is passed". Indiana University. 2003-03-27. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  2. ^ Sax, Mule & Co, Jean-Pierre Thiollet, H & D, 2004, p. 139
  3. ^ "Eugene Rousseau". University of Minnesota School of Music. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  4. ^ a b c "Eugene Rousseau - Biography". Yamaha. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  5. ^ Description of Rousseau's album "Saxophone Vocalise"

External links[edit]