A disclosure and contextualization of the Brussels Saxophone School between 1867 and 1903: towards a historically informed performance practice

Historically informed performance practice (HIPP) is a major concept in today's music life. At first, its scope was restricted to Early music. Nowadays, this performance practice is being gradually applied to even twentieth century music. The essence of this concept is a historical awareness of music performance, which is still not common in the saxophone area. In order to fill this gap, the goal of this project is an in-depth artistic and theoretical research into the HIPP and the cultural- historical context of the scores for the Brussels Saxophone School, the world's first saxophone school, between 1867 and 1903.

My project consists of three components. In the first part, I will formulate a critical and theoretical synthesis of ongoing definitions and applications of HIPP. In the second part, by means of historical sources related to the school of that period (music periodicals, instrumental methods, historical recordings, historical instruments), I will gain insight into the playing techniques and style as well as into the cultural-historical and international context. Two representative case studies (Nazaire Beeckman and Paul Gilson) will concretize my investigations. The third and final part of this research will be to perform the Brussels solo and chamber music scores for saxophone in a historically informed way. A theoretical and practical approach will thus inspire each other and will allow me to go further than mere musicology or saxophone studies would do.