“Ambassador of the Saxophone”
(Crescendo International Magazine – London, England – March 1988)
Paul Brodie (1934 – 2007)
Music Online. Under the Radar
Welcome to our Sunday music section called
“Notable Canadian Jewish Musicians.”
By David Eisenstadt
TORONTO. June 26/22 – Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone in the 1840s. It’s a hybrid instrument combining the carrying power and volume of brass with the intricate key work and technical finesse of woodwinds. It is still a mainstay of military, blues, and jazz bands. Apparently, Paul Brodie tried to change that.
Brodie “was a master promoter and the sax needed someone like Paul because as an instrument, it was invented late in the history of music, so it was shut out of orchestral circles,” according to Daniel Rubinoff, a former Brodie student who is a concert saxophonist and composer
Erica Goodman (Under the Radar – 30 Notable Canadian Jewish Musicians) told me that she and Paul Brodie played the harp and saxophone at a Temple Emanu-El-Beth-Sholom recital in Montreal where Sharon Azrieli (cjnonline.com | cjnonline.ca – June 12, 2022) was a cantorial soloist. Erica said, “I accompanied her on some Sephardic songs that were included, and she was very particular about the timing of every phrase.”
Montreal-born Paul Zion Brodie (April 10, 1934) was considered by many the ‘Ambassador of the saxophone’.
Suite Hébraïque No. 1 for Soprano Saxophone & Piano
>>> Click HERE to hear this video <<<
Brodie played the clarinet at an early age but switched to the saxophone earning a BMus and a Master of Music in 1958 from the University of Michigan where he studied with Larry Teal. He also took lessons in Paris, France with Marcel Mule.
My Uncle, Morris Eisenstadt (Under the Radar – 30 Notable Canadian Jewish Musicians) was a Brodie contemporary since they were woodwind teachers at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Brodie taught there from 1959 to 1960 and founded the Brodie School of Music and Modern Dance in Toronto. He remained as its director until 1979 when the school closed. He also taught at the University of Toronto from 1968 to 1973 and then at York University from 1982.
To demonstrate the saxophone’s versatility, he founded the World Saxophone Congress with Eugene Rousseau (another pupil of Marcel Mule) in Chicago as an international event held every three years. New works were commissioned by the Canada Council, the CBC, and the Ontario Arts Council. The third Congress happened in Toronto in 1972 and Montreal in 2000.
With pupils Robert Pusching, John Price, and Lawrence Sereda, he formed the Paul Brodie Saxophone Quartet, representing Canada in London, England at the World Saxophone Congress. By 1978, Marino Galluzzo and John Salistian joined with Brodie and Price, appearing in the Jules Dassin-directed film, A Circle of Two.
Brodie’s solo career took off in 1979 and he continued with the quartet playing across Canada, Europe, Mexico, and the United States, establishing himself as Canada’s foremost classical saxophone proponent. He performed and recorded original pieces and transcriptions of Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and modern works on the alto, soprano, and sopranino saxophones. He urged many musical luminaries to write compositions for the sax including Keith Bissell, Richard Henninger, Lothar Klein, Bill McCauley, Oskar Morawetz, Tibor Polgar, and others. The Canadian Encyclopedia reported that in 1977, Brodie was the first concert saxophonist to tour Australia, returning in 1984 while touring New Zealand and Southeast Asia. He also taught Master Classes in China in 1990.
La Cinquantaine (Paul Brodie, saxophone)
<<< Click HERE to hear this video <<<
Brodie’s saxophone talent was featured in Warren Beatty’s Academy Award-winning film Heaven Can Wait. Music critic Clyde Gilmour also included Brodie on Clyde Gilmour’s Favourites, celebrating Gilmour’s 25 years on one of the most celebrated CBC Radio programs ever.
Clifford Ford, writing in the Canadian Encyclopedia noted that “in 1980. Brodie commissioned Ben Steinberg (Under the Radar – 30 Notable Canadian Jewish Musicians) to write Suite Sephardi for him.” Brodie’s discography includes 27 LPs and 10 CDs. He authored A Student’s Guide to the Saxophone and three saxophone solos books published by Frederick Harris Music and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1994 for having “shown true mastery of his art through his ability to reach all ages with his music.” Paul Brodie died on November 19, 2007, at age 73.
Credits: Photo Paul Brodie, en.wikipedia.com. Video, patrickdcyau/YouTube; The Orchard Enterprises/YouTube
A complete list of David Eisenstadt’s articles can be viewed under Music Online in the category section. Do you have comments or questions about this article? Contact David Eisenstadt at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
David Eisenstadt is the author of Under the Radar, 30 Notable Canadian Jewish Musicians. He is Founding Partner of tcgpr.com and a graduate of Carleton University’s School of Journalism and the University of Calgary.
-Dear David, How thrilling to see the article about my cousin Paul Brodie. His daughter Claire Brodie and the rest of the family are so proud. Thank you for recognizing his great talents and career. He was also a fun person, down to earth and a real mensch. Many thanks. And I will get his book to you soon. Very best regards, – RM Toronto, Ontario, Canada