Iron Toys – Plays Berea Arts Fest 9/8

8 Aug

Iron Toys PR photoIRON TOYS

Iron Toys, the saxophone/woodwind quartet founded in 2004 by Tom Reed, Rich Shanklin, George Shernit and Howie Smith, performs a diverse repertoire blending classical, jazz and avante-garde styles. Because of the doubling skills of its members, the group has over twenty instruments available for any given performance.

Tom Reed (soprano, alto and tenor saxophones; and Eb soprano, Bb and bass clarinets) is Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Ashland University, principal clarinetist of the Ashland Symphony Orchestra, and bass clarinetist with the Akron Symphony Orchestra. He has performed regularly with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and has also performed with the Jazz Unit, and the orchestras of Dayton, Canton, Erie, Wheeling, Lakeside, and Mansfield. Tom has been a soloist with the Akron, Mansfield and Ashland Symphonies, and has recorded with the Akron Symphony, the Jazz Unit, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and the Paul Ferguson Jazz Orchestra. His clarinet CD “Mutually Inclusive” was released in 2008.

Rich Shanklin (soprano, alto and tenor saxophones; flute, alto flute, piccolo, and Bb and bass clarinets) has recently retired after 31 years of teaching at the University of Akron, where he taught classical and jazz saxophone, coached saxophone quartets, and taught courses in Jazz Arranging, History of Jazz, and the Business of Music. He has performed with the Jazz Unit, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Akron and Canton Symphonies, the Blossom Festival Band, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and is a first-call woodwind doubler for dozens of musical pit orchestra performances at Cleveland’s Playhouse Square.

George Shernit (soprano, alto and baritone saxophones; flute and alto flute; Bb and bass clarinets) received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theory/Composition and a Master of Arts in Saxophone Performance from Cleveland State University. As a freelance musician for 30 years, he has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Blossom Festival Band, and numerous Broadway shows and entertainers. He also toured with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and the road show of �Annie.� For the past twenty years he has worked in the wholesale music business, including 7 years in Austin, Texas, as national sales manager for Jupiter Band Instruments.

Howie Smith (soprano and alto saxophones; and Eb soprano, Bb and bass clarinets) has presented concerts and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe and Australia, and has worked with musicians, composers and ensembles as varied as Anthony Braxton, Gary Burton, Dizzy Gillespie, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Elvis Presley, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Tone Road Ramblers. His recorded performances are equally diverse and his extensive catalogue of compositions includes works for conventional big bands and combos; for string, wind and percussion ensembles; for electronics; and for mixed media. Recordings of his work may be heard on the Philips, Polydor, Albany, Open Blue, Optimism and Sea Breeze labels. Smith is a Professor Emeritus at Cleveland State University where he was the Coordinator of Jazz Studies from 1979 to 2006 and served as chair of the Art Department from 2003 to 2007. He has been an artist/clinician for Yamaha since 1971.

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