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Carrie Koffman

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Lecturer in Applied Saxophone Yale School of Music
At YSM Since: 2016
Great musical experiences involve being in the moment and staying present in the creative process. The higher the level of control that one achieves over the executive skills necessary to play an instrument, the greater the degree of freedom one will have to make unique, creative choices about the music one wishes to play. This balance is constantly in flux. The lifelong endeavor is toward complete mastery, which theoretically allows for complete freedom of expression. However, the paradox is that the more one grasps for perfection, the less likely it is to happen. The work of an artist is creating moments that bring these seemingly opposing elements into union and connection.

Carrie Koffman

Great musical experiences involve being in the moment and staying present in the creative process. The higher the level of control that one achieves over the executive skills necessary to play an instrument, the greater the degree of freedom one will have to make unique, creative choices about the music one wishes to play. This balance is constantly in flux. The lifelong endeavor is toward complete mastery, which theoretically allows for complete freedom of expression. However, the paradox is that the more one grasps for perfection, the less likely it is to happen. The work of an artist is creating moments that bring these seemingly opposing elements into union and connection.

Saxophonist Carrie Koffman has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in 26 states in 15 countries and on five continents. Fanfare magazine has described her playing as “suave, subtly nuanced, and technically secure in its every gesture” with a “melting tone and touching sensitivity.”

Koffman is part of the Yale School of Music’s Jazz Initiative, where she teaches undergraduate saxophonists. She is also a longtime member of the faculty at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford and previously taught at Pennsylvania State University, the University of New Mexico, and Boston University. Koffman’s students have placed in more than 120 performance competitions and have won 23 concerto competitions at all five of the universities where she has taught.

Koffman is a founding faculty member of the American Saxophone Academy, an annual educational program designed for advanced college students and those with more experience. She earned a bachelor of music degree with high honors from the University of Michigan and a master of music degree from the University of North Texas.

She has an ongoing recording and performing series titled Pink Ink that is dedicated to promoting the music of living women composers. Koffman herself has commissioned and premiered 54 compositions. She is a certified Kripalu yoga teacher and teaches yoga for musicians. She is also a Conn-Selmer artist/clinician and performs exclusively on Selmer Paris saxophones.