Sam Sadigursky

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Sam Sadigursky
Born (1979-04-17) April 17, 1979 (age 40)
Los Angeles, California
GenresJazz, art song
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
InstrumentsClarinet, Saxophone
LabelsNew Amsterdam

Sam Sadigursky (born April 17, 1979) is a clarinetist, saxophonist, multi-reedist, and composer currently residing in New York, New York.


Early life[edit]

Sam Sadigursky (born April 17, 1979) was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. His parents are both classically trained musicians who met in conservatory in Kishinev, in the former Soviet Union. He played piano briefly at an early age and then began playing saxophone at the age of 11 and then clarinet at age 15.[1] In high school, Sadigursky was the recipient of the John Coltrane Young Artist Award, the NFAA YoungArts award, the Music Center Spotlight Awards, a member of the Grammy All-American High School Big Band, and toured Japan as part of the Monterey Jazz Festival All Stars.[2][3] During this time, he also performed with Brad Mehldau, Milt Hinton, Charlie Byrd and Bob Florence, and performed at Carnegie Hall as part of the JVC Jazz Festival.[4]

Sadigursky attended William Paterson University starting in 1997 and graduated in 2001. While still in college, he recorded an album as part of the collective group Spirals,[5] which included Jacob Sacks, Don Peretz and Eivind Opsvik, and also played on veteran Japanese clarinetist Eiji Kitamura's album Jazz Party,[6] an album which also featured bassist Ray Brown, cornetist Bill Berry, and drummer Jake Hanna. During this time, he also toured with pianist Sergio Salvatore.


Sadigursky has performed or recorded with the Mingus Orchestra, Brad Mehldau, Gabriel Kahane, Fred Hersch, Tom Jones, Darcy James Argue, Linda Oh, Anat Fort, Joe Phillips, Red Baraat, Nico Muhly, Judd Greenstein, Jamie Baum, Ljova and Max ZT. Also prominent on the Latin music scene, he has performed with Edmar Castaneda, Lucia Pulido, Pablo Mayor's Folklore Urbano, Toto la Momposina, La Cumbiamba eNeYe, Sofia Rei, Pedro Guirado, Emilio Teubal, Diego Obregon, Rebolu, Sebastian Cruz, and Roberto Rodriguez and the Cuban Jewish All Stars.

Since 2005, Sadigursky has been a member of Darcy James Argue's Secret Society. Their 2009 album Infernal Machines, was nominated for a Grammy award in the big band category, and was followed in 2013 by Brooklyn Babylon, which was based on the multi-media collaboration with Daniel Zezelj which debuted at Brooklyn Academy of Music, and also received a Grammy nomination. Their 2016 release, Real Enemies, which was also based on a multimedia show debuted at BAM, was also nominated for a Grammy in the big band category.

In 2009, he produced the New Art Song Concert at Greenwich House,[7] which featured five different groups performing text settings. In the same year, he also curated a concert at the U.N. with Hibakusha Stories[8] to raise awareness of nuclear disarmament issues.

He is a recipient of grants and awards from Chamber Music America, the Jerome Foundation, ASCAP, and the Puffin Foundation, and his music has been reviewed by The New York Times,[9] JazzTimes, the Fort Worth Weekly, All About Jazz, and the Detroit Free Press. He has been a guest on WNYC's Ear to Ear, The Jazz Session, Minnesota Public Radio's The Jazz Connection, and WNYC's Soundcheck, and has performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, Kennedy Center, London Jazz Festival, Moers Festival (Germany), Radio France, Montreal Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, BMW Jazz Festival (Brazil), Winter Jazz Fest (NYC), Jazz a Parque (Bogota, Colombia), and the Wangaratta Jazz Festival (Australia), among others.

From 2017-2019, he was the onstage clarinetist for the acclaimed Broadway musical The Band's Visit, which won 10 Tony Awards, the Grammy award for Cast album of the Year, and a Daytime Emmy award for their appearance on the Today Show.

He is featured on the soundtrack to the 2004 film Seeing Other People, Clint Eastwood's Monterey Jazz Festival: 40 Legendary Years, Juan Fisher's Buscando a Miguel, the 2013 HBO documentary Six by Sondheim, and the incidental music for the 2013 Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

The Words Project/Follow the Stick[edit]

Sam released his first album as a leader in 2008, The Words Project, which consists of his original musical settings of poetry, and features vocalists Monika Heidemann, Becca Stevens, Heather Masse, and Noam Weinstein, along with Sadigursky (saxophone, clarinets, and alto flute), Pete Rende (piano/Rhodes/pump organ), Nate Radley (guitar), Eivind Opsvik (bass), Tommy Crane (drums), and Robert Burkhart (cello). The album was selected as one of the top ten releases of the year by critic Steve Smith of Time Out New York, who also named it the vocal album of the year. The album features settings of poems by Osip Mandelstam, Paul Auster, Marina Tsvetaeva, Czeslaw Milosz, Penelope Shuttle, Sylvia Plath, Donald Justice, and Maxine Kumin.

Sadigursky followed this album with Words Project II in 2010, which features settings of poems and texts by Langston Hughes, Audre Lord, Sadi Ranson, Andrew Boyd, David Ignatow, Czeslaw Milosz, and Dunya Mikhail. The album features vocalists Monika Heidemann, Becca Stevens, and Wendy Gilles, along with Sadigursky (saxophone), Nate Radley (guitar/banjo), Pete Rende (piano/Rhodes/pump organ), Eivind Opsvik (bass), Bill Campbell (drums) and Richie Barshay (percussion). The cover of the album features the painting Leaping Kiss, by Chilean-born artist Pablo Campos.

In 2011, Sadigursky released Words Project III: Miniatures, which was recorded and co-produced by Michael Leonhart. Unlike Sadigursky's previous albums, which were recorded live over the course of two days each, the album was tracked individually over the course of a year, and features thick layers of voices, loops, brass, strings, percussion and various electronics. Featured vocalists include Karlie Bruce, Christine Correa, Monika Heidemann, Sunny Kim, Jamie Leonhart, Michael Leonhart, Heather Masse, Sam Sadigursky, and Roland Satterwhite. The instrumentalists include Sadigursky (woodwinds/percussion/keyboard), Michael Leonhart (trumpets/percussion/keyboards), Gary Wang (guitar/bass), Jessie Reagan (cello), Chern-Hwei Fung (violin/viola), Richie Barshay (percussion), Michael Beers (English horn), Sunny Jain (tabla), Frank Basile (baritone saxophone), Sebastian Cruz (guitar/percussion), Roland Satterwhite (violin), Andrew McKenna Lee (guitar), and Dan Loomis (bass). Amongst the featured poets are Carl Sandburg, David Ignatow, Sadi Ranson, William Carlos Williams, Maureen McLane, Michael Lally, Emily Dickinson, Kenneth Patchen, and others.

In 2013, Sadigursky followed up with Words Project IV, which solely features vocalist Christine Correa. It was recorded in France and features Sadigursky (saxophones), Laurent Coq (piano), Yoni Zelnik (bass), and Karl Jannuska (drums/percussion). It features settings of poems and words by Fernando Pessoa, Carl Sandburg, Bertold Brecht, George W. Bush, Sadi Ranson, and Spencer Reece. The cover of the album is based on a drawing by artist John Roach.

Also in 2013, Sadigursky released Crosswords:Mots Croises, which is a collaboration with Laurent Coq based on their 2009 French American Cultural Exchange grant from Chamber Music America[10] and features dual settings of poems in both French and English. It includes the same personnel as Words Project IV, with the addition of French vocalist Laurence Allison, and is based on settings of work by William Carlos Williams, D.H. Lawrence, Blaise Cendrars and Eugène Guillevic, along with respective translations of each work. With the exception of Crosswords: Mots Croises, which was self-released, all four Words Project albums were released by New Amsterdam Records.

In 2015, he released Follow the Stick on BJU Records. The group on the album was a throwback to the instrumentation of many of the early clarinet-lead jazz groups, and featured Bobby Avey (piano), Chris Dingman (vibes/marimba), Jordan Perlson (drums), along with special guests Jason Palmer (trumpet) and Ljova (viola). The album was chosen as a Downbeat Critic's Pick and also lead to Sadigursky being named a Rising Star clarinetist in both the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Downbeat Critics Poll.

In 2016, he self-released a recording of his composition Five Movements for Solo Clarinet.

Published works[edit]

Sadigursky has published three books of original clarinet etudes. 25 Clarinet Etudes Book 1 was published in 2009, and then followed by 25 Clarinet Etudes Book 2 in 2011, which was followed by 10 Extended Etudes for Clarinet in 2017.[11][12] Most of the etudes in Book 1 were recorded by clarinetist Marianne Gythfeldt and bass clarinetist Michael Lowenstern has recorded several of the etudes in Book 2.[13] In 2012, he wrote 12 Intervallic Etudes for Saxophone, which is published by Delatour, France.[14]

Sadigursky is also a regular contributor to Best Saxophone Website Ever.

Selected discography[edit]

As bandleader[edit]

  • The Words Project (2010, New Amsterdam)
  • Words Project II (2010, New Amsterdam)
  • Words Project III: Miniatures (2010, New Amsterdam)
  • Words Project IV (with Christine Correa) (2013, New Amsterdam)
  • Crosswords/Mots Croises (self-released, 2013)
  • Follow the Stick (BJU, 2015)

As sideman[edit]

With Darcy James Argue's Secret Society

With Others

  • Eiji Kitamura – Jazz Party feat. Ray Brown (1998, Jazz Cook, Japan)
  • Jacob Sacks – Spirals (Unleaded, 1999)
  • Coba – Cancion Mandala (Chonta, 2006)
  • Pete Robbins – Waits and Measures (Playscape, 2006)
  • Julie Hardy – The Wish (World Culture Music, 2007)
  • Gabriel Kahane – Gabriel Kahane (2008, Family)
  • Rob Mosher – Storytime (self–released, 2008)
  • Andrea Tierra – Melodia Verde (feat. Edmar Castaneda) (Arpayvoz, 2008)
  • Marvin Diz – Habla el Tambor (self-released, 2008)
  • Pete Robbins – Hate, Laugh, Shimmy (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2008)
  • Pablo Mayor and Folklore Urbano – Corazon (Chonta, 2008)
  • Alejandro Florez and Tibagui – Retrato (self–released, 2008)
  • Tom Jones – 24 Hours (S–Curve, 2008)
  • La Cumbiamba eNeYe – La Palma (2010, self–released)
  • Alejandro Florez and Tibagui – Maladanza (2011, Festina Lente Discos)[15]
  • Emilio Teubal – Musica Para Un Dragon Dormido (2013, Brooklyn Jazz Underground)
  • Gene Segal – Mental Images (SteepleChase, 2014)
  • Matt Holman - The Tenth Muse (New Focus Recordings, 2017)
  • Dan Kaufman - Familiar Places (Red Piano Records, 2015)
  • Gene Segal - Matter (Steeplechase Records, 2015)
  • Richard Nant/Alan Plachta - Un Viaje (s/r, 2015)
  • Jeremy Flower - The Real Me (s/r, 2016)
  • Greg Tardy - Chasing After the Wind (Steeplechase Records, 2016)
  • Frank Carlberg - Monk Dreams, Hallucinations, and Nightmares (Red Piano Records, 2017)
  • Ljova - Footwork (s/r, 2017)
  • Amelie - Original Broadway Cast Recording (Warner Music Group, 2017)
  • Jean ChaumontThe Beauty of Differences (Misfitme Music, 2018)[16]


  1. ^ "Interview With Sam Sadigursky (Musician/Composer/Poetry Enthusiast)". Hardbop Jazz Journal. 11 July 2010.
  2. ^ "Firehouse 12 : Performers". Archived from the original on 2014-02-22.
  3. ^ Oliande, Sylvia L. (13 February 1997). "Valley Students to Play in Grammy Band". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ "Sam Sadigursky Biography - InstantEncore".
  5. ^ "".
  6. ^ "EIJI KITAMURA JAZZ PARTY JAPAN CD RAY BROWN (11/13/2010)". Worthpoint.
  7. ^ "The New Art Song Concert".
  8. ^ "Past Initiatives". 14 August 2013.
  9. ^ Ratliff, Ben (5 February 2010). "New Music by José James, Gonjasufi, Sam Sadigursky, Joe Cuba". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "French-American Jazz Exchange Program | Chamber Music America".
  11. ^ Sadigursky, Sam (15 December 2009). 25 Clarinet Etudes Vol. 1. Sam Sadigursky. ISBN 978-0615321103.
  12. ^ Sadigursky, Sam (15 July 2010). 25 Clarinet Etudes Vol. 2. Sam Sadigursky. ISBN 978-0615380179.
  13. ^ "Jagged - clarinet etude by Sam Sadigursky performed by Michael Lowenstern". YouTube. 24 March 2011.
  14. ^ Sadigursky, Sam (25 January 2013). 12 Intervallic Etudes for All Saxophones. France: Delator. ISMN 979-0232107714.
  15. ^ "Alejandro Flórez & Tibaguí".
  16. ^ Milkowski, Bill (October 2018). "Powerful Poetry of Guitar". DownBeat. Vol. 85 no. 10. p. 58.

External links[edit]