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Hungry for more stories on science, culture and technology?Check out Brain Food: Insights and Discoveries from Northern Arizona. From ground breaking scientific research to global music projects, Brain Food profiles some of the unique projects happening in the region and the interesting people behind them. While there are no new episodes of Brain Food, we will continue to maintain the archive here.

Brain Food: The Unlikely Harmony of The Saxophone And The Clarinet

KNAU/Bonnie Stevens

In the world of chamber music, not many pieces have been written for the clarinet-saxophone duo. That's because they haven't been around nearly as long as the violin or piano, the darlings of chamber music. So when clarinetist John Masserini and saxophonist Jonathan Bergeron decided to produce a CD, they put out the call to composers to create new music for the single reed instruments.

"I think our impact is one where we see this particular instrumental combination as a viable option for composers to express their aesthetics," Masserini says, "for composers to explore new sounds and create quality repertoire that can be out there in the concert hall."

Masserini is a music professor at Northern Arizona University. His colleague Jonathan Bergeron says the unexpected sound of the clarinet and saxophone together is a unique experience for listeners as well as musicians and composers.

"I think when we perform a piece," Bergeron says, "it's the quality of the piece that really impacts them and they say what a great piece of music. Either they didn't know it existed, or they knew it existed and they hear it in a different way. That's the impact the audience usually comes away with."

Since the release of Bergeron and Masserini's CD Flux, they say their students are showing more interest in forming clarinet-saxophone duos and exploring this new chamber music niche.