As a member of the h2 quartet, Jonathan Nichol, assistant professor of saxophone in Grand Valley State University's Music Department, was invited to New York to perform at the recent ASCAP awards ceremony. The quartet was the first saxophone ensemble to play at this prestigious ceremony and "Echolocation" was the first piece written for a saxophone quartet to win the Kaplan prize.
Composer Takuma Itoh wrote "Echolocation" for the h2 quartet, which premiered the piece at the 15th World Saxophone Congress held in Bangkok, Thailand last summer. "We then recorded the work for our second CD called 'Times and Spaces,' said Nichol. "Takuma submitted that recording to ASCAP for the Morton Gould student composition awards competition, which is divided into two age divisions. Around 730 composers applied to this competition and Takuma's piece was given the top award in the 18 to 30 division, the Leo Kaplan Award."
The award-winning h2 quartet has been wowing audiences since 2002. This all-saxophone ensemble has performed throughout the United States, in Europe, and in Asia, in venues from Los Angeles' Walt Disney Hall to the Canker dom in Ljubljana, Slovenia to the Times Center in New York City. Members of the h2 quartet are: Geoffrey Deibel, Jonathan Nichol, Kimberly Goddard, and Jeffrey Loeffert.
Takuma Itoh, born in 1984, spent his early childhood in Japan before moving to Northern California where he grew up. Currently a student at Cornell University, he has attended the University of Michigan and Rice University. His music has also been performed by ensembles such as the New York Youth Symphony with the Shanghai Quartet at Carnegie Hall, the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and the Cornell Chamber Orchestra. He also received the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award in 2004 and 2007, and was an honorable mention in 2008.
For more information visit h2's website http://www.h2quartet.com or the competition's website: http://www.ascapfoundation.org/gould-info.html.