2018 1st Prize Classical Saxophone: Julian Velasco

Hailing from Southern California, Julian is a double major in Performance and Jazz Studies at Michigan State University. Originally a student of James Barrera in California, he is currently finishing his undergraduate work at with Joseph Lulloff and Diego Rivera. He hopes to continue his studies in a Masters department in the Fall of 2018. An award winning saxophonist, Julian has won competitions such as: MTNA Young Artist Woodwind Competition for the state of Michigan, Summer Solstice Jazz Festival Student Artist, MTNA Senior Woodwind Division, South Coast Symphony Young Stars of the Future, Musical Arts Competition of Orange County, and finalist in the NASA Quartet Competition, NASA Young Artist division and Brevard’s Jan and Beattie Wood Music Center Concerto Competition.

Julian had the rare opportunity to work closely with composer David Maslanka, and studied some of his largest works directly with him in Missoula, Montana in the summer of 2016. He described Julian as one of the “…finest young players that I know…[with a] hot intensity in his playing as his fundamental personal power.”

A multi-faceted contemporary artist, Julian performs in a wide variety of musical settings. He has performed at music conferences, festivals, and venues across the country like: Carnegie Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, the College Band Directors National Association National Conference, the Midwest Clinic, the North American Saxophone Alliance Regional and National Conferences, the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Hispanic Festival of Grand Rapids Michigan.

Through undergraduate career at Michigan State University, Julian has had over four years of experience with the premier Wind Symphony and Jazz Orchestra. This has lead to collaborations with jazz artists such as: Carl Allen, Peter Bernstein, Billy Childs, Jimmy Cobb, Robin Eubanks, Dominick Farinacci, Conrad Herwig, Brian Lynch, Harvey Mason, Russell Malone, Christian McBride, Michael Philip Mossman, Rufus Reid, and Anthony Wonsey.