Gerard McChrystal appointed Patron


We are absolutely delighted to announce that international saxophonist Gerard McChrystal has agreed to become Phoenix Saxophone Orchestra’s Patron!

Gerard, who lives in Leicester, will act as a public figurehead for the orchestra and has agreed to help out with workshops and rehearsals, and even perform at a joint concert or two, when he’s able.

“I am honoured to be invited to be Patron of Phoenix Saxophone Orchestra,” said Gerard. “It’s very important to support live music and local organisations, so I’m delighted to be involved with the orchestra. I look forward to helping the orchestra develop in the future. R U Ready 2 Rock Phoenix? Say Yeah!”

Multi award winning saxophonist Gerard McChrystal is Professor of Saxophone at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and also teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff. Born in Derry, Northern Ireland, Gerard has played with leading musicians and orchestras in more than 35 countries worldwide and has recorded 15 CDs. His main ambition is to develop collaborations and encourage composers to write for the saxophone. You can find out more on Gerard’s website at

Phoenix Saxophone Orchestra Chair, Stephen Bashforth, said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Gerard as our new Patron. It’s a massive boost for our orchestra and members to have the support of this world-renowned musician. We very much share Gerard’s passion for the saxophone and we are doing our bit to bring the versatility of the instruments to a wider audience. This is the perfect partnership for us and we are looking forward to meeting Gerard in person when we can restart rehearsals.”

Even though Phoenix Sax hasn’t been able to meet up over recent months, they are actually going from strength to strength. Not only do they have a new patron, they are just finishing off their second lockdown recording and have welcomed two new ‘virtual members’, one of whom has taken part in the recording project.

“It just goes to show that, where there’s a will, there is a way,” says Stephen. “And to answer Gerard’s question – are we Ready 2 Rock? You bet!”

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Leicester Mercury, 2 September 2020
Harborough Mail (online), 25 August 2020