Expand the section navigation mobile menu

Jeffrey Heisler


Associate Professor of Music, Saxophone

Contact: [email protected]
(248) 370-2871

Award-winning saxophonist, pedagogue, and soprano chair of the 
Assembly QuartetJeffrey Heisler, serves on the faculty of Oakland University (Rochester, MI) as Associate Professor of Saxophone.  

Among his significant accomplishments is a 2005 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition 1st prize gold medal as the soprano saxophonist with the acclaimed Blue Square Saxophone Quartet. Heisler has concertized throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe appearing on the prestigious Portes Ouvertes aux Noveaux Talents concert series in Paris, France (2005). In addition, he has worked with the Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich on a transcription of her violin work Episodes for soprano saxophone and piano, a work of which Heisler gave the world premiere in March 2007.  In the summer of 2007, Heisler collaborated with electronic music composer Morton Subotnick in creating a new version of his  In Two Worlds  for alto saxophone and interactive computer (MAX/MSP). In 2008, he gave the North American premiere of Luciano Berio’s  Recit  (Chemins VII) for alto saxophone and orchestra with the Bowling Green State University Philharmonia and performed the world premieres of his composer approved transcriptions of Steve Reich’s  Vermont Counterpoint  (for saxophone(s) and pre-recorded tape), Chen Yi’s  Monologue  (for solo soprano saxophone), and Louis Andriessen’s  Elegy  (for tenor saxophone and piano).  

An advocate of contemporary music, Heisler promotes the creation of new repertoire for the saxophone by commissioning and premiering works by composers such as Louis Andriessen, Andres Carrizo, Halim El-Dabh, Anthony Donofrio, David Gillingham, Jennifer Higdon, David Lang, Marc Mellits, John Mackey, Timothy Stulman, Marilyn Shrude, Andrea Reinkemeyer, Bill Ryan, Steve Reich, Benjamin Taylor, Chen Yi, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.  In addition, he has presented the American premieres of  Recit  (Chemins VII) by Luciano Berio,  Blitz  by Vincent Dunet, Magic by Ivan Fedele,  Entfuhrung  by Karlheinz Stockhausen and in 2009, premiered  Double Image , a concerto for saxophone(s) and wind ensemble by David R. Gillingham. 

Heisler has performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre, Brave New Works, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Benny Goodman Orchestra, John Philip Sousa Band, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Midland Symphony Orchestra, and the Stuttgart Ballet Orchestra.  He is in demand as a guest recitalist and has appeared at the Bowling Green State University New Music Festival, University of Mississippi Single Reed Summit, Ball State University’s New Music Festival, the American Single Reed Summit, Grand Valley State University’s Free Play Concert Series, Way Library Young Artist Concert Series, Central Michigan University’s Alumni Concerts, BGSU's Threshold Electronic Music Festival, the CBDNA Region V Conference, the Michigan Music Conference, the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conferences, and World Saxophone Congresses.  Additionally, he has been a featured soloist with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, Motor City Symphony, Spartanburg Symphony Orchestra, Oakland University Wind Symphony, Wayne State University Wind Symphony, CMU Wind Ensemble, CMU Symphony Orchestra, BGSU Symphonic Band and the BGSU Philharmonia.  As a clinician, Heisler has presented masterclasses at Bowling Green State University, Interlochen Arts Academy, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Kent State University, University of Mississippi, Western Carolina University, University of Tennessee, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Wayne State University, University of Evansville, Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Guizhou University (China), the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Tianan University (Taiwan), Kaohsiung University (Taiwan), and the Yamaha Artist Center in Taipei, Taiwan. 

Competition successes in addition to the Fischoff National Chamber Music Gold Medal 1st prize include the Outstanding Collegiate Classical Instrumentalist in Downbeat Magazine’s 2002 Student Music Awards, Patricia Nixon Memorial Woodwind Competition (2002), Jack Saunders Jazz Award (2002), CMU Concerto Competition (2002), MTNA (Michigan) Collegiate Solo Competition (2002), and 2005 MTNA National Chamber Music Competition. Heisler’s acclaimed debut solo album “Gradient” was nominated for a Grammy Award in classical music in addition to the Assembly Quartet’s most recent CD “in search of stillness.”  He can be heard on the AMP Recordings, White Pine and Centaur music labels. 

In 2010, Dr. Heisler became the first Doctor of Musical Arts to graduate from Bowling Green State University’s contemporary music program.  He also holds a Master of Music degree in saxophone performance from BGSU where he studied with Distinguished Research/Artist Professor John Sampen.  In addition, he earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Michigan University where he studied saxophone with John Nichol.   Heisler has also served on the faculties of Kent State University (Kent, OH) as Professor of Saxophone and Director of Bands, Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH) and Wayne State University (Detroit, MI).  Jeffrey Heisler is a Selmer and Legere Performing Artist-Clinician and performs exclusively on Selmer Paris Saxophones and Legere Signature Series Reeds.  He lives in Lake Orion, Michigan with his wife I-Chen Yeh (pianist), and daughters Olivia and Mia.  For more information visit jeffheisler.weebly.com

Available Recordings: 

Gradient - Jeffrey Heisler and I-Chen Yeh - AMP Recordings 017 - Music by: Sekhon, Chen Yi, Stulman, Leroux, Wiley, and Reich 
Purchase: iTunes or Amazon 

‚Äčin search of stillness -- Assembly Quartet (Jeffrey Heisler, soprano saxophone) -- AMP Recordings 019 -- Music by Shrude, Fink, Taylor, and Rogers -- Purchase: AMP Recordings

Trope - Marilyn Shrude (CDCM Computer Music Series, Volume 38: Music from Bowling Green) Centaur - CRC 3081
Purchase: Centaur Records

Double Image - David Gillingham (Double Star: The Music of David Gillingham) White Pine Music 
While Pine Music

School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Varner Hall, Room 207
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
Academic Office: (248) 370-2030
Box Office: (248) 370-3013
Fax: (248) 370-2041