Freem Saxophone Quartet
The Freem Saxophone Quartet was founded in 2017 by four Italian saxophonists: Iacopo Sammartano, Riccardo Guazzini, Michele Bianchini, and Fabio Lombrici. They graduated with honours from the Conservatorio di Firenze, Conservatorio di La Spezia, and Conservatorio di Perugia. After the graduation they have attended several masterclasses with internationally renowned saxophonists and they have obtained numerous awards in different competitions, such as Torneo Internazionale di Musica, Borsa di studio della Società Umanitaria di Milano, Rovere d’oro, Ufam in Paris, Kandisky in Avellino. They have been active both nationally and internationally and have performed with other ensembles at Ministero degli Esteri Italiano, Orchestra Giovanile Italiana, Festival di Musica Contemporanea Archipel in Geneve, Cantiere d’Arte in Montepulciano, Festival Pucciniano, American Composers Society, Ravenna Festival, Nuova Consonanza, Società dei Concerti Barattelli, New York University, Eastman School of Music of Rochester, Colorado College, 17th World Saxophone Congress in Strasbourg, Stage Internazionale del sassofono in Fermo. The foundation of the Free Saxophone Quartet is motivated by their profound interest in chamber music and willingness to explore the possibilities offered by the distinctive elegance and malleability of this chamber music ensemble. The main objectives of the group are to divulge and promote the original repertoire for saxophone quartet and to broaden it through collaboration with contemporary composers. In 2019 they released their first cd "A Minimal Sax" for the label Brilliant Classics.
Born in Arezzo, Italy in 1976, Iacopo Sammartano graduated in saxophone with honours in 1996 at the Conservatory “L. Cherubini” of Florence as a student of M° Roberto Frati, completing his Master of Music degree in saxophone with honours from the same Conservatory.
Sammartano has participated as a soloist in the 23rd Yard Art Festival of Montepulciano and collaborated with the State Orchestra of Moscow for the opening concert of the "Puccini Festival" in Torre del Lago, Tuscany.
In 1997, he was invited to take part as soloist for the American Society of Composers at University of Central Arkansas Conway (USA) for the premiere of new works. He has performed concerts in quartet and, as soloist, performed the “Fantasia” by H. Villa Lobos for Soprano Saxophone and Orchestra.
Sammartano has won a number of first and prizes in many international competitions, such as T.I.M. 1997, T.I.M. Grand Prix 1997, Rovere d’Oro 1998, International Paris Tournament and many others, both together with the pianist Andrea Trovato and as a member of the Florence Saxophone Quartet. With the Florence Saxophone Quartet, he also performed at the Youth Festival: "Das Festival für Junge Kultur" in Dusseldorf.
Sammartano has recorded world premieres of works of the 20th and 21st century. In 1997 he recorded the CD “French Music of the 20th Century” (Label "Le Vele") with the Florence Saxophone Quartet and a cd for the “Gran Premio T.I.M” as winner of the competition. In 2019 he released the CD “A Minimal Sax” (Label “Brilliant Classics”) with the Freem Saxophone Quartet.
He has performed concerts in Spain, USA, Germany, France, Malta, Italy and many other European countries and is currently Professor of Saxophone at the High School of Musical Arts “Alberti-Dante” in Florence.
Riccardo Guazzini graduated with honours in classical saxophone, jazz saxophone, and jazz composition. He has received the first prize in many competitions, both as soloist and as chamber musician. He has played in various orchestras, including the OGI – Orchestra Giovanile Italiana (Italian Youth Orchestra), the Instrumental Camerata Città di Prato (City of Prato), and the Symphonic Orchestra of Grosseto, and in 2019 he was among the finalists in the auditions held by Teatro Regio of Turin. He obtained the prestigious scholarship from the Società Umanitaria di Milano and the opportunity to play abroad, at the Italian Cultural Institutes in Spain, Germany, Finland, and Norway. In Europe he played both as a duo with piano and as solo saxophonist in Barcelona, Dublin, Belfast, Turku, Oslo, Hamburg, and Copenhagen. In 2019 he recorded the cd A Minimal Sax for the label Brilliant Classic together with the Freem Saxophone Quartet. This album is dedicated to the minimal music for saxophone quartet.
Riccardo is interested in contemporary music, and he has premiered some of the finalist pieces of the composition competitions Rosolino Toscano (Pescara) and Ente Concerti Castello of Belveglio (Asti) in front of juries composed by musicians such as Marcello Abbado, Francesco Alicata, Alessandro Solbiati, and Fabio Vacchi. During the Archipelle 2012 Festival in Geneva he premiered the piece Studio Mannaro, dedicated to Riccardo by the Italian composer Alessandro Ratoci, professor at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Lausanne.
He has been a professor at the music conservatory of Siena since 2016, where he teaches in the pre-academic course of saxophone.
Michele Bianchini, Italian saxophonist, is dedicated to the development and research of new repertoire in contemporary music both as a soloist and as a member of different chamber music ensembles.
He has performed at renowned Italian and foreign institutions such as New York University, Symphony Space Hall (USA), Megaron in Athens (Greece), Eastman School of Music Rochester (Usa), Fabrik in Potdsam (Germany), Hartford University, Colorado College, International Festival of contemporary music in Perm (Russia), Moscow Philarmonic, Moscow Conservatory, Intersonanzen 2016 Festival of Contemporary Music in Potdsam, 17° World Saxophone congress in Strasburg (France), Ravenna Festival, 18° World Saxophone Congress, L’Aquila contemporanea, 35° Nuovi Spazi Musicali Festival di musica contemporanea, Festival Germi di musica contemporanea di Roma, Festival di Nuova musica di Macerata, among others.
He has premiered works by: N. Tzortzis, R. Cendo, A. Khubeev, G. Colombo Taccani, I. Fedele, A. Gentile, T.Papatrechas, L. Gregoretti F. De Rossi Re, Wei-Chieh Lin and he worked with F. Bedrossian and S. Sciarrino among others.
Since 2016, he has organized ilSuono Contemporary Music Week together with the Greek composer Theocharis Papatrechas. This project, annually held in Città di Castello, consist in a series of events dedicated to contemporary music.
He has recorded works for Navona Records, A Simple Lunch, Brilliant Classics, Ars Publica and MapEditions.
He graduated with honors from the "Conservatorio F. Morlacchi” in Perugia under the tuition of M° Roberto Todini. He attended several masterclasses with, among others, M° Virgo Veldi and M° Eugene Rousseau. He has won many national and international competitions both as a soloist and with chamber music groups. He plays in different chamber music ensembles and he collaborates with several wind orchestras both as conductor and performer.
He founded the musical association Monotona with the aim of spreading music among young people from 3 to 10 years old. As saxophonist, he collaborates in different theatre project playing in many festivals such as Holstebro Festuge 2014 (Denmark), Festivalul International de Teatru de la Sibiu (Romania), Scillafest (Scilla – Reggio Calabria) , Festival Sant’arte in San Sperate (Cagliari) among others. He has also partecipated in Tavola della Pace presenting a project for both Marcia della pace Perugia-Assisi and Meeting di pace nelle trincee della grande guerra in Udine.