Faculty, Penn State University
“Clearly knowing the power of sonority” (Philadelphia Inquirer), the music of Baljinder Sekhon has been presented in over 500 concerts in twenty countries. From works for large ensemble to solo works to electronic music, Sekhon’s demonstrate a wide range of interests and styles. Sekhon’s compositions for saxophone and percussion instruments are widely recognized as pioneering work in those genres with numerous presentations, CD recordings, and guest lecture appearances.
The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” presented a portrait concert of Sekhon’s chamber music in Arlington, VA, in March 2017. Also in 2017, his saxophone works were presented at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and at the EurSax2017 Conference. His recent Double Percussion Concerto and his choral work There Are No Words were both premiered at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium Perelman Stage. His recent orchestral work The Offering is a 22-minute, three-movement concerto for saxophone and orchestra that received its premiere by saxophonist Doug O’Connor and the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra. His work Civil Variations for orchestra was performed at the Albany Symphony’s American Music Festival in 2015 and Ancient Dust, also for orchestra, was premiered at the Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music (Marin Alsop, director) where it was described as “still and mysterious, animated, haunting and peaceful” by the Epoch Times. In 2009, Sekhon composed a voice and chamber orchestra work for Grammy-nominated soprano Tony Arnold. Musica Nova premiered the resulting work, Post, under the direction of acclaimed conductor Brad Lubman. Recent commissions include Sekhon’s involvement in the Global Premiere Consortium Commissioning Project, which resulted in his work Sonata of Puzzles for the top saxophonists around the world. Consortium members for this project include Artur Mendes, Tim McAllister, Dale Underwood, Connie Frigo, Chien-Kwan Lin, John Sampen, Jérôme Laran, Seung-Dong Lee, Douglas Braga, Clifford Leaman, and Yo Matsushita, among more than forty other saxophonists. In addition, over forty percussionists recently joined together to commission Passageways, a solo steel pan and percussion ensemble work, The Passageways commission was initiated by percussionist David Gerhart who served as the soloist for the work’s premiere in 2015 with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras Percussion Ensemble. Most recently, Sekhon completed a new work for solo marimba entitled Distances, commissioned by Michael Burritt and a large consortium of soloists.
Additional platforms for the performance of Sekhon’s music have included the Seoul Arts Center, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, National Orchestra Institute, The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, the Paris Conservatory, MATA’s Interval Series, New World Symphony’s Musician Forum Series, the World Saxophone Congress, International Viola Congress, Juventas New Music Ensemble, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Bang On a Can Festival, Root Signals Electronic Music Festival, Stallenbosch International Chamber Music Festival (South Africa), and a full concert of his works at John Zorn’s contemporary art space The Stone. Several commercial recordings of Sekhon’s music have been released, including two by the McCormick Percussion Group (USA), a recording of Drifting Seeds by the Couloir Duo (Canada), Bunker by the Evolution Duo (Netherlands), Compass by the Juventas New Music Ensemble on New Dynamic Records, Gradient by the Heisler/Yeh duo on AMP Records, Double Percussion Concerto by the USF Wind Ensemble on Mark Records, Gradient by Jerome Laran on Klarthe Records (France), Regeneration by Phillip O’Banion on BCM&D Records, and Sonata of Puzzles by Artur Mendes (Portugal) and by Adam Estes on Albany Records (USA). Sheet music of Sekhon's works is available internationally from Keyboard Percussion Publications, Glass Tree Press, Steve Weiss Music, Le Vent Music (Taiwan), AvA Musical Editions (Europe), and Southern Percussion (UK). A portrait CD of Sekhon’s music, featuring the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, line upon line percussion trio, guitarist Dieter Hennings, and the McCormick Percussion Group will be released on Innova Records in 2018.
Sekhon serves as Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of South Florida where he received a 2017 Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher award, he and holds the PhD and MA from the Eastman School of Music where he is a three-time recipient of the Howard Hanson Orchestral prize and served as president of the highly acclaimed OSSIA New Music Ensemble. Sekhon also holds a BM from the University of South Carolina. Additional honors include the Wayne Brewster Barlow Prize, New Music USA’s Composer Assistance Grant, Audio Inversions, Percussive Arts Society Composition Competition, Brian M. Israel Prize, Boehmler Foundation Commission, Met Life Creative Connections Grant, Belle Gitelman Prize, Barbara B. Smith Prize, multiple awards from ASCAP including the Morton Gould Young Composer Award (2006), and he was named the MTNA/FSMTA Commissioned Composer of 2012. His numerous appearances as a percussionist include those at the L.A. Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series in Walt Disney Hall, Festival Spazio Musica in Cagliari, Italy, and at the Bang On a Can Marathon in New York City.