Dr. J. Michael Holmes is a talented solo and chamber musician who “… is one of the rising young saxophone stars in the United States” (Saxophone Journal) and he “ranks among the very finest of today’s young intellectually and musically gifted saxophonists” (Dr. Frederick Hemke). Professor Holmes’ active playing career has seen him performing at some of the most prestigious venues in the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong and throughout Europe (including a 2012 European tour with the renown St. Louis Symphony Orchestra). Dr. Holmes has received national acclaim as an orchestral saxophonist, and has performed as principal saxophonist with numerous orchestras including recent performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Sinfonia da Camera, the Toledo Repertoire Theatre, and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony. Holmes has also shared the stage with artists such as Ben Folds, The Temptations, Manhattan Transfer, and Idina Menzel… just to name a few. An active chamber musician, Holmes is a founding member and the soprano saxophonist in the Obsidian Quartet, which is comprised of passionate performers, teachers and advocates for the arts.
Dr. Holmes is currently Clinical Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Illinois School of Music as well as the Enrollment Management Director for the School of Music. Prior to his appointment at the University of Illinois, Dr. Holmes held positions as the Director of Marketing for Reed Instruments at Conn-Selmer, Inc., Artistic Advisor and Product Specialist with the Vandoren Corporation, and Guest Instructor of Music at the University of Notre Dame. Professor Holmes’ diverse background as a performer, educator and former member of the music industry have provided him with unique insight in preparing the next generation of music students for successful careers in their chosen field. As such, he has been invited to present clinics, masterclasses, and performances at some of the most prestigious saxophone programs both nationally and internationally. Holmes is an active soloist of contemporary music and has commissioned and premiered numerous works for the saxophone. His performances have received great accolades and can be heard on the Mark, Aucourant, SEAMUS and Klavier Record labels; a forthcoming recording of Percy Grainger’s music for saxophone will be released on the NAXOS Record label. Dr. Holmes is the saxophonist on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Resound album's release of a recording featuring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Riccardo Muti, playing an extended suite drawn from Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet ballet score. The Chicago Tribune describes this recording as “played here with a brilliance and panache that brought the dramatic narrative alive.” The disc can be ordered from iTunes here and from Amazon.com.
Holmes holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Saxophone Performance, a Bachelors degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University where he was a student of Distinguished Research/Artist Professor John Sampen, and a Masters degree in Saxophone Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois where he was the graduate saxophone teaching assistant for Professor Debra Richtmeyer. He has had additional studies with saxophonists Jean-Marie Londeix, Claude Delangle, Griffin Campbell, Daniel Kientzy, and Eugene Rousseau. Dr. Holmes is a member of the North American Saxophone Alliance and has performed in many of the national and regional conferences, as-well-as at the World Saxophone Congress. Dr. Holmes was the co-host highly successful 2014 North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference which was be held at the University of Illinois on March 20-23, 2014. He was recently a featured artist in the “We Are Vandoren” international ad campaign, appeared on the cover of the Sept/Oct 2012 Saxophone Journal, and is a Selmer Artist/Clinician as well as Vandoren Performing Artist.
For more information, see www.michaelholmesmusic.com
"It is always a pleasure to make music with J. Michael Holmes. On each of his many occasions playing saxophone with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he has shown himself to be a consummate artist and a fine colleague." - John Bruce Yeh, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
"... combines his extraordinary musical talent with a unique ability to communicate effectively with any audience." - Eugene Rousseau
"... represents a model for dedication to the arts and to music education in America." - Dr. John Sampen
"… is one of the rising young saxophone stars in the United States” - The Saxophone Journal
“... ranks among the very finest of today’s young intellectually and musically gifted saxophonists” - Dr. Frederick Hemke
“…brings his own special brand of elegance to the concert saxophone” - Dr. John Sampen
"... is both an outstanding performer and insightful teacher. He is absolutely first rate in all he does. " - Clifford Leaman