Tyrone Page Jr. (BM ’16, Music Education; BM ’16, Saxophone), a master’s saxophone student, is a homegrown Baltimore saxophonist who is giving back to the community by teaching at his alma mater, the Baltimore School for the Arts, and with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids. The latter is a year-round music program designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City neighborhoods. Page, 23, performs the contemporary saxophone repertoire as a soloist, and chamber and orchestral musician. He has been a finalist in several prestigious concerto competitions.
Why did you choose the saxophone?
When I joined the school band in sixth grade, I had wanted to play the drums, but the teacher said there were plenty of kids interested in percussion. Another student was playing the sax, and I liked the sound, so that’s what I chose.
One of my friends from the Baltimore School for the Arts was accepted at Peabody Conservatory. She was my mentor, and I very much admired her playing. In my senior year of high school, I took lessons with Peabody faculty member Gary Louie. His approach and his attitude about music as a career made me see that he, and Peabody, would be a good fit for me.
What keeps you in the practice room?
The influence of my mentors. I’ve had the pleasure of studying with remark- able teachers, Dr. Chris Ford and Tim Green at the Baltimore School for the Arts, and with Gary Louie at Peabody. I’ve also been humbled by working with professionals in this field and colleagues in my studio. All of these experiences are a daily contribution to my motivation to be a better musician. And as with most artists, I don’t really feel like I deserve time away from my horn unless I’ve recently been successful in competition, recording, or performance, during which time I’ll allow myself a few days off.
Who or what inspires you?
Not just one thing. My siblings, and of course my mom, LaShanda Woodard, who is a very strong person, independent and successful. Also, my band teacher at Ashburton Elementary Middle School, Richard Kirby, who started me on the saxophone. When I look back on the kind of teacher he was, I always want to be that light for my students. I can’t forget my current teachers, Gary Louie and Dr. Harlan Parker, whose musicianship and care for their students inspired me since I began studying with them. I’m also inspired daily by my students and colleagues.
What do you find most rewarding about teaching?
It’s one of the easiest ways for me to give back to my community and feel like I’m doing some good in the world. It brings me joy to watch my students succeed in performance, develop confidence, and discover they are capable of greatness after tremendous hard work.
What’s next for you after you graduate with your master’s degree?
I’m planning to release an album pretty soon, a recording of a single 50-minute piece of music: Truth Fluorescent Skeleton, by composer James Young. I recently won a regional concerto competition, and as a result I will be touring with the Symphony in the Mountains Orchestra, most likely in 2019. In the meantime, I’ll be busy applying for local teaching opportunities and competitions, and preparing for future performances, including a tour of Truth Fluorescent Skeleton.
What was the most important thing you’ve learned at Peabody?
The importance of being a good human being and having positive interactions with those I work with; that has to be at the top of my list. For example, I respect the custodians who kept our school and living spaces clean no differently than I respect the school’s administration.
— Interview by Christine Stutz