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Saxophonist plays in Placitas

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A chance encounter on a San Francisco, Calif., street set the direction for Ashu’s professional life.

The 10-year-old Ashu was walking with his parents when he heard the sound of a musical instrument.

“It was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard in my life,” he recalled. “It was a busker playing this golden, curved instrument.”

Concert saxophonist Ashu performs Sunday at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church as part of the Placitas Artists Series. (Courtesy of ashuonline.com)

Concert saxophonist Ashu performs Sunday at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church as part of the Placitas Artists Series. (Courtesy of ashuonline.com)

He found out that the golden, curved instrument was a saxophone.

Soon Ashu was playing a rented alto sax. By age 16, Ashu was so accomplished that he gave his first saxophone recital as the winner of the National Alliance for Excellence Competition. The recital was at Carnegie Hall.

He was on his way to what he is doing today – working as a professional solo musician. Now 28, the Chicago-based musician has built a career performing mostly classical music on the alto and soprano sax.

Ashu will give a recital at 3 p.m. Sunday at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church as part of the Placitas Artists Series. Sunday’s program combines of some of Ashu’s favorite pieces written for saxophone, as well as music that he has arranged for the instrument.

The program includes Jacques Ibert’s Concertino da Camera for Alto Saxophone and Eleven Instruments, Jules Demersseman’s Fantasy on an Original Theme for Alto Saxophone and Piano, and Paul Creston’s Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano.

Ashu’s arrangements are three tangos by Astor Piazzolla, a suite from Ennio Morricone’s musical themes for the films “Gabriel’s Oboe,” “The Untouchables” and “Cinema Paradiso,” and the andante from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Sonata, Opus 19.

The church is located six miles east of Interstate 25 on N.M. 165 in Placitas.

Tickets are $20 for the general public in advance at placitasarts.org, at The Merc Grocery Store, Homestead Village Shopping Plaza, Placitas, and at Under Charlie’s Covers, NM 550 and Camino del Pueblo, Bernalillo, or at the door. $15 for students at the door.

At 2 p.m., one hour before the concert, there will be a reception for jeweler Dennis Lee Gomez and Bunny Bowen, a wax resist artist.

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