John Worley

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John C. Worley was a college professor, saxophonist, and a composer of classical, as well as more contemporary music for saxophone. He was born in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1919 and died on February 16, 1999.


He graduated from Oberlin Conservatory and the Columbia Teachers College. He studied composition with Sir Lennox Berkeley at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England and conducting with Pierre Monteux in Maine.

Teaching positions[edit]

Worley taught at the University of Bridgeport, the State University of New York at Oneonta and the University of Maine in Orono before moving to Williamsburg, Virginia in 1996.

Saxophone performing career[edit]

Worley organized the Williamsburg Saxophone Quartet and was the group's soprano saxophonist.

He performed with the Saxophone Sinfonia at Lincoln Center in New York City; the Cape Cod Orchestra in Massachusetts; and was an active participant at several Saxophone Workshops held by friends Sigurd Raschèr and Lee Patrick.


After he retired from teaching, Worley focused on composing and arranging. His original compositions include:

  • Claremont Concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra (1962)
  • Penobscot Suite
  • Owl's Head Sonatina
  • Concerto for Saxophone
  • Quintet for Saxophones
  • Sonatina for Baritone Saxophone
  • Sonata for Tenor Saxophone and Piano
  • Sea Pines Concerto for trumpet and orchestra

Transcriptions include:

  • Edvard Grieg's "Holberg Suite", arranged for large saxophone ensemble
  • Etienne Ozi's "Adagio et Rondo," arranged for tenor saxophone and piano
  • John Dowland "Dance Suite," arranged for saxophone sextet