School of Music

Lawrence Gwozdz, Saxophonist
Lawrence Gwozdz

Professor of Saxophone

School of Music
University of Southern Mississippi
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-5081 USA
Telephone (601) 266-6934; Fax (601) 266-6427
  • B.M.E., State University of New York, Fredonia
  • M.M., University of Nebraska
  • D.M.A., University of Iowa

Sample the music:

Beyond These Hills, from "An American Tribute"
Meditation from 'Thais', from "Rascher International"
Claremont Concerto mvt. III, from "American Concerto Tribute"
Sonata for alto saxophone and piano (S. Dankner), from "Simply Gifts":
Handel, Flute Sonata No. 1, mvt. II, from "Special Hand'ling"
Glazunov Concerto, from Concertos for Saxophone (MMO)

Video link:

Eccles: Sonata


          Born to Polish-American parents in Niagara Falls, New York, Lawrence Gwozdz has achieved an international reputation for his success in revealing the qualities inherent in the classic saxophone as intended originally by its inventor, Adolphe Sax.
          Lawrence Gwozdz's concerts have included major cities in Asia, Europe and North America: Beijing, Chicago, Leipzig, London, Los Angeles, Manchester, New York, Prague, St. Louis, Warsaw, Xi-an, Zagreb, Zurich, and others.  His festival appearances - the Menuhin Festival, the International Chamber Music Festival of le Touquet, Spoleto USA - have received critical acclaim.  European reviews declare, "Gwozdz is a most highly versed soloist" (Neue Zürcher Nachrichten), with "amazing technique and tonal beauty" (Bündner Zeitung).  His performance with I Solisti di Zagreb motivated the press to write, "Gwozdz uses his instrument with superiority and virtuosity" (Vjesnik).
     His debut in New York's Weill (Carnegie) Recital Hall was described in Musical America as an "extraordinary performance of contemporary music" with "the kind of timbre Adolphe Sax most likely had in mind ... always with subtlety and taste" (The New York Concert Review).   On television Gwozdz appeared with famed organist Diane Bish on "The Joy of Music", and has performed concerti and recitals on radio for the Dame Myra Hess series (Public Radio International), Czech Radio-Prague, Croatian Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, and other networks.
     His CD, "An American Tribute to Sigurd Rascher" (Crystal Records) has won high praise from critics.  American Record Guide wrote, "The sound is first-class ... Lovers of the saxophone will be pleased;" the reviewer in Fanfare penned, "It would be impossible to praise the performers too highly.  Lawrence Gwozdz is an extraordinary saxophonist, bringing out a tremendous range of colors and effects in his instrument.  I absolutely guarantee that you will enjoy it."  Albany Records has just released his four new CDs, "Rascher International", "An American Concerto Tribute," with the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, "Simply Gifts" and the Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra with The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra on the CD "Hurricane!". His latest solo release is entitled "Special Hand'ling" (Roméo Records, distributed by Qualiton Imports). Gwozdz has also recorded "Glazunov and Erland von Koch: Concerti" with the Plovdiv Philharmonic, Nayden Todorov conducting. This recording was released by Music Minus One in 2000.
     Gwozdz is also known for his annotated translation of the German book, Das Saxophon by Jaap Kool (Egon Pub., Baldock, England).  Various composers - Samuel Adler, Walter Hartley, Zdenek Lukas, Armand Russell, Robert Starer, Roger Vogel, John Worley, and others - have dedicated new works to him.
     As Professor of Saxophone at the University of Southern Mississippi, he has established a studio that continues to receive worldwide attention.  His student soloists, quartets, and the Sax-Chamber Orchestra have performed by invitation in major cities - Atlanta, Birmingham, Kansas City, Memphis, Montreal, Nashville, New Orleans, Washington, DC (the Kennedy Center) - and for major music organizations, such as the College Music Society, the Music Teachers National Association, the Music Educators National Conference, and the World Saxophone Congress.
    Having been born with spina bifida, Gwozdz is also an advocate for arts for the handicapped and Very Special Arts.  He is also active in the Campus Crusade for Christ's Christian Faculty/Staff Forum and freely shares his story.
     Gwozdz has studied saxophone with Ronald Tyree, Robert Fought, Laurence Wyman, and the renowned artists Sigurd Rascher and Jean-Marie Londeix.  His degrees include the DMA from the University of Iowa, the MM from the University of Nebraska, and the BME from Fredonia State University College of New York.


"Lawrence Gwozdz quite justly is hailed internationally as a renowned, illustrious saxophone virtuoso and a sensitive musician."

"There was a distinguished soloist, Lawrence Gwozdz. Bestowed with immense sensitivity, the saxophone virtuoso produced deep, individual creativity. Not only were the joking, fragments of colossal agility imagined warmly, but the resonant tones from his instrument produced lovely, singing passages, embracing aural reflections."

"Performances are all of a high caliber … beguiling … marvelously powerful in its simple lyric elegance … “

"Saxophonist Lawrence Gwozdz drew a standing ovation for his extraordinary performance of contemporary music ..."

            ~ MUSICAL AMERICA
"Gwozdz plays with a soft, mellow, fluently articulate tone. He has developed the altissimo register into a fine art, transforming the saxophone into a new and even more vibrant instrument ... superb saxophonist Lawrence Gwozdz has one of the finest alto saxophone sounds since his mentor, the legendary Sigurd Rascher. His tone and technical ability complement each other perfectly - luscious, chocolate sound, and immaculate technique ... "

"It would be impossible to praise the performers too highly. Lawrence Gwozdz is an extraordinary saxophonist, bringing out a tremendous range of colors and effects in his instrument ... American saxophonist Lawrence Gwozdz can well look after himself, and he performs the technical aspects with suitable brio. He can also provide any amount of sugar-and-cream tone ... the most refined quality."

            ~ FANFARE
"... smooth, even tone and cultivated vibrato, the kind of timbre Adolphe Sax most likely had in mind ... always with subtlety and taste."

"... a most highly versed soloist ..."

"... virtuosic and mature performance ... very impressively and sensitively recited."

            ~ DAS ORCHESTER
"... never has ‘classical music' sounded so sexy.  And talk about an instrument with a range of expression ... heart-wrenchingly gorgeous.  In my next life, I want to be a saxophone."
             ~ CLASSICAL disCDigest
"Now that is the way it is supposed to be done! The artist has a dark, rich sound, quite supple and totally under control. Mr. Gwozdz's fluency and accuracy in the extended range is incredible ... The lyricism that Lawrence Gwozdz spins into the melodic lines is pure magic that embraces and totally surrounds the listener's imagination."

"The melody of the saxophone with its characteristic softness, charm and romance intoxicated the audience. In Gwozdz's performance there seemed to be hundreds of thousands of amorous feelings; and in its abundant contemporary colors, there were rich classical 'flavors', giving the audience a lasting 'aftertaste'."

"Here are vigorous, clean lines radiantly played by Gwozdz ... glowingly realized ..."

            ~20th CENTURY MUSIC
"The interpreter mastered the finger-breaking passages and already could prove his high standards.  A soft, subtle tone that was especially captivating through its cantabile was his trademark.  It was an excellent concert full of surprises."

"... incredible precision and seriousness ... The performance was full of excitement and melodramatic."

"With a lively, expressive and very personal manner, Lawrence Gwozdz and his excellent accompanist were able to render the "hot off the press" compositions with a special intensity. They managed to arouse not only lively interest in their music, and recognized admiration, but also thrilling, new dimensions of experiencing music."

"... amazing technique and tonal beauty ..."

"With I Solisti di Zagreb, Gwozdz performed with superiority and virtuosity."

          ~ VJESNIK, ZAGREB
"... a lovely, refined tone with a soft, controlled vibrato ... first-quality soloist."

"Gwozdz is a pupil of Sigurd Rascher, which is easily heard as his playing is beautifully in the tradition."

"Very smooth and facile playing ... the saxophone at its best."

"The Psalm of praise comes to mind: ‘The Lord is my shepherd ... He leadeth me by still waters.' I also think of the eyes of the chosen maiden, ‘deeper than the blue of the calm waters in the evening.'  That is due to Lawrence Gwozdz ... Superb tone quality--sweet, consistent, and full."

"Gwozdz plays with such subtlety, refinement, and control that the sound emerges as quite beautifully expressive ... he keeps his formidable technique completely in the service of the music."

"... excitingly played ... unusually rewarding."

            ~TUROK'S CHOICE
"Fire fingers seemed quite effortless ... delightful."

"The performances are first rate.  Lawrence Gwozdz's performance is truly a tribute to Sigurd Rascher."

"Gwozdz captured the audience's attention with the musical acrobatics of the first two movements and astounded his rapt listeners with a soulful and hypnotic ballad leading into the rousing finale [of the Idlewood Concerto].  The velvet tones exuding from his 24-carat gold plated instrument evoked all members of the musical family ... a colorful splash ... introspective interpretations ..."

            ~  ALBANY HERALD
" ... a lovely, clear tone that was modified by a smooth, well-controlled vibrato ... played soulfully."

" ... dramatic and emotively colorful ..."

" ... top-notch premiere ... The sax becomes the voice of the angel, singing a sweet, siren-like song ... simply lovely ... breathtaking high notes ... played with verve ..."

"Lawrence Gwozdz was absolutely marvelous, like a soft-shoe dancer his sonorous sounds glided along gracefully ... effortless, clear playing."

            ~ THE NEW LONDON DAY
"... luxurious tone and supreme musicianship ... His attention to detail is arresting.  Gwozdz has the ability to coax just the right sound, volume and degree of expression out of every note he plays.  If velvet has a sound, Gwozdz could patent it."

"Gwozdz revealed himself to be a true master of the saxophone ... sensitive and technically brilliant performance."

           ~ THE MERIDIAN STAR
"His silken smooth sound, technique, and phrasing reminded us of his former teacher, virtuoso Sigurd Rascher."


Back to College of The Arts Home Page
Back to USM's Homepage
Created 1 May 1998 | Updated 6 August 2008