Hailed as a “virtuoso” (The New York Times), “an exemplary soloist” (Gramophone Magazine), and “a titan of contemporary music and the instrument” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer), Timothy McAllister is today’s most celebrated classical saxophonist and a member of the GRAMMY® winning PRISM Quartet, with over 50 recordings and 250 premières of new compositions by eminent and emerging composers worldwide to his credit. McAllister has appeared with the world’s most prominent orchestras in over twenty countries, from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Proms. His 2022 premiere of John Corigliano’s Triathlon: Concerto for Saxophonist and Orchestra, which employs soprano, alto and baritone saxes, was a tour de force “he gave the piece the knockout performance it deserved” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Following his premiere of John Adams’s Saxophone Concerto with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the composer, he performed the Concerto and Adam’s City Noir on the 2015 GRAMMY® Award-winning recording with the St. Louis Symphony and conductor David Robertson. His recent recordings of Kenneth Fuchs’s Saxophone Concerto, Rush, with conductor JoAnn Falletta and the London Symphony Orchestra and his reprise of City Noir with the Berlin Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel both appeared on 2019 GRAMMY® Nominated albums, with the Fuchs winning for “Best Classical Compendium.” Recent performances included the China Premiere of the Adams Saxophone Concerto with Edo de Waart and the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Belgium Premiere of Guillaume Connesson’s Saxophone Concerto: A Kind of Trane under Stéphane Denève and the Brussels Philharmonic, released on the Deutsche Grammophon label.

As guest soloist, other recent engagements include the symphonies of Albany, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Seattle, St. Louis, among many others. During the 2022-2023 season, he premiered Tyshawn Sorey’s Adagio (For Wadada Leo Smith) for alto saxophone and orchestra at Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival followed by the acclaimed U.S. Premiere with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. McAllister “stood with one foot in the classical world, and the other in jazz” (ArtsAtl.org)

A renowned teacher of his instrument, he has served as Professor of Saxophone at Northwestern University (IL), a Valade Artist Fellow for the Interlochen Center for the Arts (MI) and is a clinician for the Conn-Selmer and Backun companies. In 2014 he was appointed Professor of Saxophone at the University of Michigan School of Music, succeeding his legendary mentor, Donald Sinta.

McAllister is a champion of contemporary music credited with over fifty recordings and two hundred premières of compositions by eminent and emerging composers worldwide. With acclaimed pianist Liz Ames, his Project Encore fosters partnerships with living composers representing a broad spectrum of styles and backgrounds resulting in virtuosic showpieces and vignettes as encores and dazzling concert openers. Project Encore CD Vol. 1

McAllister’s work can be heard on the Nonesuch, Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, OMM, Stradivarius, Centaur, Albany, Parma, New Dynamic, Equilibrium, New Focus, Neuma, XAS/Symphonic, and innova record labels. Discography

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CD RELEASE – Sinfonia of London, Timothy McAllister on Chandos Records. Eventide by Kenneth Fuchs. Preview

2024 PULITZER PRIZE in MUSIC to Tyshawn SoreyTimothy McAllister premiered Tyshawn Sorey’s Adagio (for Wadada Leo Smith) and we are thrilled to announce that Sorey has just been awarded the 2024 Pulitzer Prize in Music for the Adagio. Described by the Pulitzer board as “an introspective saxophone concerto, with a wide range of textures, presented in a slow tempo, a beautiful homage, that’s quietly intense, treasuring intimacy rather than spectacle” McAllister gave the world premiere with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, and the U.S. premiere with the Atlanta Symphony.
“McAllister was comfortable standing with one foot in each of the normally disparate worlds of classical refinement and hard bop intimacy.” ArtsATL
“Sorey’s writing for the solo sax establishes whole another brand of virtuosity, one wrought of long lines, where each note is given its singular identity; a procedure akin to the playing of the concerto’s dedicatee as well as the tintinnabulations of Arvo Pärt.” AIM-Adventures in Music

Commissioning Consortium: Acclaimed composer Viet Cuong will write a new saxophone concerto for Timothy McAllister for the 2026/2027 season. Viet Cuong has been commissioned and performed widely, including by the New York Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Albany Symphony, Sō Percussion, Alarm Will Sound, Sandbox Percussion,  PRISM Quartet, Eighth Blackbird, and Dallas Winds.
Commissioning partners are invited to join the Consortium for 2026/2027. Contact: email@Jwentworth.com

Premiere of Whimsical Concerto of Fanciful Birds: Concerto for Saxophone, Orchestra, and Spatialized Saxophone Ensemble by Canadian composer Vincent Ho 

Tyshawn Sorey saxophone concerto world premiere at Lucerne Festival; US Premiere with Atlanta Symphony
Tim McAllister writes: Very excited to share this news! It is a dream to premiere a new work for saxophone and orchestra by composer/performer and MacArthur Fellow TYSHAWN SOREY at the historic Lucerne Festival with Elena Schwarz in August 2022! The work is co-commissioned by the Lucerne Festival and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as part of New Music USA’s “Amplifying Voices.” The US Premiere with ASO is set for March 2023 with conductor Stephen Mulligan.

Link here for more Timothy McAllister news

“he gave the piece the knockout performance it deserved” “McAllister gave a fluent demonstration of what his instrument — all his instruments — can do. He tore his way nimbly through intricate passagework, shaped lyrical melodies with the grace of an opera singer, and gave the piece all the theatrical panache it wanted.” [John Corigliano’s ‘Triathlon’ – premiere with the San Francisco Symphony] San Francisco Chronicle

The premiere of «Adagio (For Wadada Leo Smith)» by artiste étoile Tyshawn Sorey brings a meditative contrast. Together with saxophonist Timothy McAllister, the musicians painted broad lines and dig deep into the mysteries of sound. The plucking strings are falling drops of water that keep sounding different. The mixture of bass clarinet, trombones and string basses – a hum that vibrates inside us. Lucerner Zeitung

“McAllister gives a warm and glittering performance, the timbre of the alto saxophone offering a sweet reminder of its past as a staple of the dance band era. [Kenneth Fuchs ‘Eventide’ with Sinfonia of London, on Chandos] Gramophone

“World-renowned saxophonist Timothy McAllister’s brilliant, crowd-pleasing performance was equal parts rock-star swagger and supremely polished musicianship” The Buffalo News

“McAllister’s satiny alto saxophone wafted like a mist through the wide stone halls of ‘The Old Castle.’ ” [with the Chicago Symphony]
The New York Times

“Sorey’s concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra, Adagio (For Wadada Leo Smith) (2022), was given its world premiere performance by the orchestra, with the composer’s long-time collaborator Timothy McAllister as its fantastic soloist.” AIM-Adventures in Music

“The three-part challenge for McAllister… was switching from soprano to alto and then to baritone, then back, in the course of the piece. A tremendous saxophonist, McAllister played with great strength, bright tone, and excellent intonation—including the altissimo register—on all his horns. The orchestra sounded equally solid and confident.” “…the overall energy was exciting, not just from McAllister but channeled through the orchestra, and in the end it bought the house down in cheers for soloist, orchestra, and composer.” [John Corigliano’s ‘Triathlon’ with the Albany Symphony] New York Classical Review

“Timothy McAllister flew through complicated passagework, produced high notes of arresting intensity and intoned lyrical lines with soul and playfulness” ClevelandClassical.Com

“a titan of contemporary music and the instrument in general” Cleveland Plain Dealer

“McAllister was phenomenal, giving a dazzling performance that rocked the audience to its feet for a prolonged and well-deserved ovation” St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Handling the extensive saxophone solos was guest musician Timothy McAllister, who performed the work’s world premiere and who was brought in at Adams’ request. Although seated in the middle of the orchestra, he stood for the solos and played the jazz-inspired riffs in a nervy, improvisatory style, a highlight of what was a fine performance.” The Miami Herald/South Florida Classical Review

“The [Cabrillo Festival Opening] concert’s highlight concluded its first half: Jennifer Higdon’s Soprano Sax Concerto…and it was superbly realized by soloist Timothy McAllister…This work is a significant testament to beauty.” San Francisco Classical Voice

John Corigliano: Triathlon Concerto for Saxophones – Video

Project Encore sampler with pianist Liz Ames – Video

Zoe Cutler: Obstacle Illusion with pianist Liz Ames – Video

Pierre Jalbert: Sweet & Doleful Timbres, with guitarist Jason VieauxVideo excerpt


Three Premieres from Project Encore (works of Karalyn Schubring; Chad “Sir Wick” Hughes; Andrés Eloy Rodríguez) – Video