GV Music Program hosts guest artist performance


Omari Seaberry, Staff Writer

On Sept. 30 the Grand Valley State University Department of Music, Theatre and Dance hosted a Guest Artist recital featuring Nathan Salazar on the saxophone and John Solari on piano. 

The guest artist performances are meant to showcase the expertise of musicians for students to learn from and apply to their lives. Additionally, the performances help connect students to the wider GVSU community that attends the event and experiences the music. 

Associate professor of saxophone and Associate Department Chair, Dan Graser, helps coordinate guest artist programs. He typically contacts candidates who are looking for performance opportunities and can bring different perspectives to students.  

“Nathan and John’s program was immensely diverse and showed a wide range of time periods within classical music, including a world premiere, as well as the wide range of repertoire that is possible on the saxophone,” Graser said. 

Salazar earned an undergraduate degree at Arizona State University and went on to Michigan State University to earn a master’s degree in multiple woodwind performance. He is currently teaching the saxophone and oboe at Albion College. 

Salazar began playing the saxophone at a young age, starting in his sixth-grade band. He said that he landed on playing the saxophone solely because he thought it “seemed like the coolest instrument.” He said that he enjoys the versatility of the instrument and that it opened the door to other musical explorations as well. 

“I could do a classical sax recital, I could play with a big band or a jazz combo,” Salazar said. “I also play a lot of different woodwind instruments like the clarinet and the bassoon.”

During his time at GVSU, Salazar was able to connect with other musicians and experience the campus.

“It’s a beautiful campus and a very fun saxophone studio to play in,” Salazar said. “One of my former students is now a freshman here, so it’s fun to see him and his other colleagues perform.” 

In addition to performing, Salazar has found his passion in teaching. He said that he embraces the student’s goals, whether it be performance, education or expanding on their interest in music. 

“It’s a lot of fun passing on the things that I have learned for over a decade and helping to guide students towards paths that they feel are right for them, so that the next generation of saxophonists will be better off than mine,” Salazar said. 

Graser said the guest artist performances also help to connect the broader music community. 

“Nathan and John are a pleasure to work with and it was a privilege to have them here,” Graser said.

Graser said that each program in the department brings in artists as part of students’ education and leads to many different performances during their time at GVSU. 

“In any given year, each instrument or program will likely have a few guest artists come and either give a recital or lead a masterclass as well,” Graser said. “Between the three areas of Music, Theatre and Dance, we usually have a guest performer of some sort every week.”