project leader
Abbi S
5000 Forbes Ave
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the project

What is truly behind the music we listen to? 

Music is an extremely human and personal understanding of the space and experiences a person inhabits. SaxChats is an audio and video based series that aims to push the envelope of musical understanding by taking historical account of different American composers of different ages, their inspiration, and what it means to them to work with a performer. So far, three composers of extraordinary varying styles have agreed to embark on this journey- Sherwood Shaffer (86), Eric Ewazen (66), and Jules Pegram (29). Aside from phenomenal artistry, there is something extremely unique about these men. Each of them have accepted the challenge for writing music for the baritone sax in a classical setting, which is practically unheard of. The baritone sax is part of a family of horns, all invented and patented simultaneously. Although the same age, each of the horns has taken the time to receive recognition one by one and it's the baritone’s turn. The versatility of the horn is absolutely astounding, and these composers recognize it. 

My main goal is to facilitate conversation- it’s unusual for classical musicians to get the opportunity to speak with and relate to the people who write the music we play. I love this instrument so very much and the composers I’m speaking to know its capacity for song. To be able to speak to another human about their truth, fears, influences and establishing a mutual respect or vulnerability can set an example as to how people can treat one another- especially up and coming  musicians in a time of job insecurity. 

SaxChats can be a means to facilitate togetherness during COVID. We will bring the classical music community of our city to a place of comfort and togetherness whilst remaining safe from the virus. Music is one of the few things in this world that can bridge nearly any divide. 

the steps

Rehersals with my pianist have begun as of last week. We aim to rehearse multiple times a week until our first of four recording sessions on November 4th. We will also record on 11/9, 11/13 and 11/18. 

The interview for the first episode in this series with Sherwood Shaffer will be conducted in this time period as well. Once everything is recorded, I will turn over the project to the individual who is to edit. A hiatus is to be taken from Thanksgiving break, as my wonderful pianist will be checking in on his family in Armenia, considering the current circumstances.  

When he returns, we will take a similar process in the second and third episodes of the series. Recording sessions, interviews and editing will need to be compensated for. The series will be released on youtube and has potential to work as a podcast as well.

why we're doing it

Taking into account the current pandemic and political divide we face, SaxChats can be a means to facilitate togetherness. Pittsburgh is a hub of culture and innovation- it's something that holds the city together. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has brought a lack of live music to the area. As we all know, art can be representative of the spaces we inhabit. By promoting this on a video platform, we will be able to bring the classical music community of our city to a place of comfort and togetherness whilst remaining safe from the virus. Music is one of the few things in this world that can bridge nearly any divide and touch the hearts of individuals.


I will use all of the funds to compensate the musicians.

For the first episode in the series, this encompasses $500 to an incredible pianist, $600 to compensate audio tech for four recording sessions, and $400 to edit the interviews, audio and video together. 

If we add the expenses of two more primere recordings and editing work,  the total will come out to about $3,200. 


ioby Platform Fee waived
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) waived
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
Please note: ioby fees are estimated and will be calculated based on totals at the end of the campaign.  


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This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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