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Farrell Vernon


Dr. James Farrell Vernon is Associate Professor of Music at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) where he teaches applied saxophone and directs the IPFW Jazz Ensemble, Sax Quartet, and Sax Choir. He also teaches Jazz Improvisation, Jazz History, Woodwind Techniques, Aural Skills, and other courses. Vernon earned a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from Indiana University where he was awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate on saxophone. He also holds a Master of Music in Jazz Performance from the University of Denver and a Doctor of Arts degree in Saxophone Performance and Pedagogy with a secondary emphasis in Jazz Studies from the University of Northern Colorado. Vernon is an active performer, educator, composer, arranger, clinician and adjudicator whose work takes him from local clubs to international venues.

He has performed with the Rome Festival Orchestra, Sempre Saxophone Quartet, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the Cheyenne Symphony, Manchester Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony of the Lakes, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, among others. Vernon also has performed in local, national, and international jazz festivals and has shared the stage with noteworthy jazz and pop performers including Ray Charles, Linda Ronstadt, Tito Puente, Bobby Shew, Ernie Watts, Denis DiBlasio, Louis Bellson, Al Jarreau, Roberta Flack, the Shirelles, Anne Hampton Callaway, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and the Temptations, just to name a few. Dr. Vernon has been very active participating in the North American Saxophone Alliance conferences since 2001.He has appeared as the alto member of the Sempre Saxophone Quartet, premiering the music of composer William Schmidt.Vernon has also premiered pieces written specifically for the sopranino saxophone as a solo instrument. In the fall of 2008, Vernon performed solo sopranino saxophone on the Gala Concert for the Eugene Rousseau Celebration at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Farrell has appeared on numerous albums, from classical, jazz, blues, and gospel recordings to salsa, cajun, and rock.His CD, The Forgotten Saxophone: New Music for the Sopranino (Arizona University Recordings, December 2007) received a highly positive review in The Saxophone Journal. He also appears on several AUR classical compilation CDs and CD box sets distributed internationally.Dozens of his instrumental transcriptions and compositions are available through Dorn Publications and Arizona University Press.Four of Vernon’s transcription books for woodwinds have been published. In both 1998 and 1999, Downbeat magazine named Vernon the top Blues/Pop/Rock Instrumental Soloist. With UNC Combo II, he won another Downbeat award in 2000. His former teachers include David Baker, Dominic Spera, Eugene Rousseau, Roger Greenberg, Gene Aitken, and Malcolm Lynn Baker.

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On the Scene with Farrell Vernon