The Kennedy Center

Doug O'Connor


Praised for his “seamless technique” and “sumptuous lyricism” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), saxophonist Doug O’Connor has performed across Asia, Europe, and the U.S., including appearances at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Merkin Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. He holds DMA and MM degrees from the Eastman School of Music, and a BM in Saxophone Performance from the University of Maryland. O’Connor recently served as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the Eastman School of Music, as Associate Lecturer of Saxophone at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, as saxophonist with the United States Naval Academy Band, and is currently employed as ceremonial saxophonist with the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.”

Dr. O’Connor recently performed as a concerto soloist at the 2014 and 2018 North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conferences, at the World Saxophone Congress XV in Bangkok, where he gave the world-première performance of Christian Lauba’s 15th etude, Worksong, and has been featured with the National Symphony Orchestra, Symphony in C, Musica Nova, the Eastman and University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Jazz Ensembles, as well as various college percussion ensembles. He was the 2nd Prize winner of the 2008 International Jean-Marie Londeix Saxophone Competition in Bangkok. He has won top prizes in many other solo competitions, including the NASA Classical Solo Competition, the MTNA Young Artist Woodwind Competition, the 2004 National Symphony Orchestra Young Soloists Competition, and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s Mary Graham Lasley competition. Finally, he was a winner of Astral Artists’ 2003 National Auditions and was a finalist for the Concert Artists Guild competition in 2009. Today he continues to perform and teach at various universities, and to commission new works for the saxophone.

With a passion for chamber music, Dr. O’Connor was a founding member of the Red Line Saxophone Quartet. While playing soprano saxophone in Red Line, the group won grand prizes at the Chesapeake, Coleman, NASA, and MTNA chamber music competitions, as well as gold medals at the Fischoff and Plowman chamber competitions. Red Line premiered five new works for sax quartet and electronics on MATA’s Interval Series in NYC and released a CD on iTunes, “Back Burner.” As a jazz artist, Dr. O’Connor freelances throughout the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area and recently toured with the Airmen of Note at the Lionel Hampton and Missouri State Jazz festivals on baritone saxophone and bass clarinet. He also plays soprano saxophone in the group Off on Four, a jazz saxophone quartet which gave their debut performance at the Kennedy Center in 2018.

Dr. O’Connor is a co-founder of the Global Premiere Consortium Commissioning Project, an online platform for instigating the composition, dissemination, and performance of new music worldwide. To date, Global Premiere has been able to support commissions for five new pieces of music, supported by performers across the world and authored by a diversity of composers.

Watch Past Performances

Video 8/25/2019: Saxophone Genesis

Experience the premiere of five new saxophone chamber music works by five incredible composers: Robert Hasegawa, Robert Morris, Jeffrey Mumford, Osnat Netzer, and Baljinder Sekhon. Local saxophone artist Doug O’Connor leads this performance of new works, supported in large part by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. The performers are some of the D.C. area’s most vibrant contemporary music performers, and include guest performances by Kynetic (Kenneth Cox, flute and Laurel Irene, voice).

Presented in collaboration with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Doug O'Connor