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Gerard McChrystal

Professorial Staff - Classical Saxophone, Saxophone Choir Coordinator


Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Music
King Charles Court
Old Royal Naval College
SE10 9JF

Tel: +44 (0)20 8305 4444


Area of Work

Wind, Brass & Percussion Department
Gerard McChrystal


Gerard McChrystal comes from Derry, N.Ireland. He took up the saxophone as a second study for his RNCM audition in 1982. By 1987 he had made his concerto debut with the RTE Concert Orchestra playing the Dubois Concerto live on TV. His UK debut was with the Philharmonia in 1989 premiering Out of the Cool by Dave Heath. He studied at the RNCM, Manchester and was the first student to graduate with three awards including a distinction in his PPRNCM. Further studies with John Harle and Frederick Hemke at The Guildhall School, London and Northwestern University, Chicago followed. Competition success includes The Royal Overseas League, RTE Musician of the Future, The Lombard and Ulster Music Foundation, Countess of Munster, The Sir James Caird Award, NFMS Award, BBC Opportunity Knocks! and The Park Lane Group. His Wigmore Hall debut came as a result of winning the intercolleagiate Ivan Sutton Recording Award.

Gerard has performed in 30 countries including USA, South Africa, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Korea and Germany. He has recorded albums with BBC NOW, Ulster Orchestra, London Musici, guitarist Craig Ogden, The Smith Quartet, Yan Pascal Tortelier and record labels include Chandos, Signum Records and Silva Screen.

He has developed a repertoire of accessible new works, often with a celtic influence some of which have been published in his saxophone series by Reed Music, Australia and Camden Music, London.

Orchestras Gerard has worked with include Philharmonia, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, National Symphony of Ireland, Stuttgart Staatsorchester and the Orchestra of San Francisco Ballet. Venues include San Francisco Opera House, Baku Opera House, Royal Abert Hall, St David’s Hall, Cardiff, National Concert Hall, Dublin and a longhut in Sarawak, Borneo. He has worked with Philip Glass, The Smith Quartet, guitarist Craig Ogden, percussionists Ensemble Bash, The Soweto String Quartet, tenorist Tommy Smith and vocal groups Anuna and Codetta.

In 2010 he was invited to be an adjudicator at the Royal Overseas League Competition and the 5th Adolphe Sax International Saxophone Competition in Dinant, Belgium. Gerard is Artistic director of the next British Saxophone Congress in London, February 2011 and his new saxophone series is launched by Reed Music. His new programme Stand Up has won two awards from the Arts Council. Gerard is Professor of Saxophone at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. He is endorsed by Rico and is an ambassador for Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013. His album Aria was released by First Hand Records in October 2011.

Qualifications/ Educational Background

Royal Northern College of Music
Diploma, Guildhall School of Music and Drama
MA, Northwestern University, Chicago

Teaching Experience

Gerard runs annual courses for Dartington International Summer School, Aberystwyth Musicfest, The National Youth Wind Orchestra and Music at Little Benslow. In 1998 he was appointed Professor of Saxophone at Trinity College of Music and tutor at The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff.

Creative Outputs


  • Debussy Rhapsody, Chandos Records conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier
  • Meeting Point, a concerto album with London Musici
  • Shaun Davey’s A Relief of Derry Symphony with the Ulster Orchestra
  • Romances and Toccatas by Billy Cowie
  • Eric Sweeney’s Duo as featured on Imagine Another Ireland with Sinead O’Connor, Brian Kennedy and Anuna

Gerard has also written and presented for RTE’s Lyric FM and reviews saxophone music for Music Teacher magazine.

Gerard McChrystal

The Celtic - Dave Heath