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A native from Texas, José Barrientos is a saxophonist and educator. José Barrientos has a master’s degree in saxophone performance from the University of Iowa, where he studied under the tutelage of Dr. Kenneth Tse. Prior to moving to the Midwest, he completed his undergraduate studies of music education at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) in Nacogdoches, TX. At SFA, he was a student of Dr. Nathan Nabb and a finalist in the Concerto/Aria Competition in 2012. As an active classical saxophonist, José Barrientos has performed throughout the United States, Asia, and Southeastern Europe. In the summer of 2013, José Barrientos was selected to perform Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an
 as a guest artist with the prestigious American Festival for the Arts Conservatory Youth Orchestra. This was under the baton of, internationally-known conductor and teacher, Jeffery Grogan in Houston, TX where Mr. Grogan described José Barrientos’s interpretation of Pictures as “memorable”.

Having garnered several achievements, José Barrientos was awarded first place in the 2015 North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) Region 3 Conference Solo Saxophone Competition held at Drake University in Des Moines, IA, which led to an invitation back to Drake University to present a Guest Artist Recital in Sheslow Auditorium in Fall of 2015. During his time in Iowa, José Barrientos was a two-time national finalist at the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Young Artists Competition in San Antonio, TX (2016) and then in Baltimore, Maryland (2017).

In 2017, José Barrientos also performed as a national finalist with the ICON Saxophone Quartet in the MTNA Chamber Music Wind Competition. The summer of 2016 saw José Barrientos have the honor of performing with both the Iowa Saxophonists’ Workshop (ISW) and the ICON Saxophone Quartet. These were under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Tse in their Asia tour in Hong Kong and in Chengdu, China. During this 10-day tour, the ensemble performed at the Hong Kong International Saxophone Symposium (HKISS), where they also had the opportunity to work with all of the following: Jean-Michel Goury (National Conservatory of Boulogne-Billancourt, France), Philippe Geiss (University of Strasbourg, France), and David Nabb (University of Nebraska at Kearney). In Chengdu, China, the Iowa Saxophonists’ Workshop also performed at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music.


In the summer of 2017 José Barrientos and Reese Burgan (Professor of Saxophone at Lone Star College – Montgomery) formed the Ikigaioto Duo, the name stemming from the Japanese concept ‘Ikigai’ which roughly means “a reason for being.” The philosophy idealizes balance in one’s life - Vocation, Passion, Profession, and Mission, a philosophy these two have encompassed. After performing and teaching throughout the Houston, TX area in the spring of 2018, Ikigaioto Duo was the opening woodwind duo performance for the inauguralInternational Woodwind Duo Symposium (IWDS) at Sam Houston State University. At the IWDS, Ikigaioto Duo took 2nd place at the IWDS Young Artist Division competition performing at the closing Winners Concert.


As an educator, José Barrientos has taught private lessons and also given masterclasses to students of various age groups throughout Texas. His students have also received superior ratings at Solo & Ensemble Competitions and at the All-State level. In addition to private teachings, José Barrientos has worked several band camps such as the SFA Summer Band Camps and The Young Saxophonist’s Institute (YSI) in the Texas cities of North Houston and Ft. Worth, where he was able to coach saxophone quartets and large ensembles. José Barrientos currently holds a private saxophone studio consisting over 80 students in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and is also Director of the Texas Youth Saxophone Ensemble. As a saxophone private lesson teacher for the Timber Creek High School and Fossil Ridge High School clusters in Keller ISD, José Barrientos has taken the Timber Creek HS Saxophone Ensemble to perform at various venues. Not long after working in the studio since the Fall of 2018, the ensemble performed at the 2019 Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Convention in San Antonio, TX. Moreover, this ensemble was also invited to perform at the prestigious 2019 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.


Through the combined efforts of José Barrientos and Daniel Malacon, assistant band director of Timber Creek HS, the ensemble was able to collaborate with renowned composer, Joel Love. Commissioned by Daniel Malacon and José Barrientos, and to be world premiered at the 2019 Midwest Conference, Joel Love’s Aerial Vignette was written for the Timber Creek HS Saxophone Ensemble along with Yamaha Performing Artist, Michael Jacobson (Baylor University). This ensemble has already premiered one other new work at the Midwest Conference, March of the Forest, by composer Max Gray. The continued success of this group thrives from collaborations of friends and colleagues that push for new ideas. As a result, they contribute new music for the saxophone ensemble repertoire for all skill levels. José Barrientos plans to continue his studies at the doctoral level in the near future.


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