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Catherine Sikora

Tenor and soprano saxophonist, improviser and composer Catherine Sikora was first electrified by the sound of air vibrating in a metal tube when, as a child, she heard the wind playing tones and overtones in a metal gate. She has devoted her life to researching the magic of that sound with her saxophones, particularly in her solo work, which forms the main backbone of her creative output. Catherine’s first solo album ‘Jersey’ was released on Relative Pitch Records in July 2016. She followed this with “Warrior”, an all-soprano saxophone solo recording in 2019. Her next solo tenor recording, recorded live in Paris in summer of 2020, will be released in fall 2020. In addition to her solo work, Sikora works frequently in duo and larger settings, with Eric Mingus, Brian Chase, Ethan Winogrand, Ross Hammond, Christopher Culpo and Matteo Liberatore. She is proud to be one third of the joyful rowdiness that is Eris 136199.


Catherine plays Bari reeds and a Soprano Planet mouthpiece.


Multiple Reviews

Catherine Sikora's Paris Sessions at the Centre Culturel Irlandais: Sancturary and Things To Do In Paris

Read "Catherine Sikora's Paris Sessions at the Centre Culturel Irlandais: Sancturary and Things To Do In Paris" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Irish saxophonist Catherine Sikora, who makes New York her home, is a dynamic improviser and an innovative composer who, from the start of her career, has had a unique sound. Her mastery over her instrument as well as her expansive and multifaceted aesthetics make her albums completely absorbing. In 2020 she released two captivating, live recordings that showcase her evolving style and mature approach to spontaneous creativity. Catherine Sikora Sanctuary Sikoracat2020 2020 The ...

Album Review

Enrique Haneine: Unlayered

Read "Unlayered" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

Whether he leads from his drummer's stool or his the piano bench, drummer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Enrique Haneine is a mischievous creator, assembling different blocks to form other different blocks, stacking, unstacking, widening the fall zone with each new release. It's an aesthetic that keeps you jumping hoops but, most importantly, listening hard to the logic employed. But Haneine insists we should not be content to just sit and listen. Haneine will walk point but you have to follow his lead ...

Live Review

BAN BAM: Music Talking

Read "BAN BAM: Music Talking" reviewed by Ian Patterson

BAN BAM The Complex jny:Dublin, Ireland November 25, 2017 BAN BAM is a new, one-day festival by Improvised Music Company--an initiative to address the gender imbalance in jazz/improvised music. A related All About Jazz article covered the conversations by industry professionals around the gender issue that took place in the afternoon. This second BAN BAM article turns its attention to the music side of the festival. A wickedly varied line-up of five acts attracted ...

Album Review

Catherine Sikora: Jersey

Read "Jersey" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Saxophonist Catherine Sikora makes a bold and singular statement with her solo album Jersey. Each of the 13 tracks is both a fully realized and poignant stand-alone monologue as well as an essential link in an intimate and deeply personal artistic expression. A serene, logical progression of notes transforms the calm “The Knowing of Sums" into a passionate and blue-tinged improvisation. Energetic and crisp lines weave a graceful melody that returns to the opening quietude. The ardent and ...

Album Review

The Kora Band: New Cities

Read "New Cities" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Pianist Andrew Oliver formed The Kora Band in 2008 following a tour in West Africa and a chance meeting with a kora player, leading him to track down Kane Mathis, whom he recruited and whose presence naturally gave birth to the group's name and its idiosyncratic sound. Mathis is one of the foremost kora players in America and brings to the band a completely different dimension. The kora is a kind of traditional harp, originally played by musicians of the ...

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Catherine Sikora is a virtuosic firebrand on tenor and soprano saxophones whose star is on the rise. Untitled: after, Sikora’s 2018 duo set with drummer Brian Chase, was a scorched-earth blast of Interstellar Space-like cosmic-jazz, while Warrior, her recent solo record, saw her in arresting and meditative solo mode—Brooklyn Rail, September 2019 Sikora’s performances are passionate and commanding. If there was any doubt that she ranks among the best of today’s avant-garde jazz players, this disc is a triumphant response. No matter the pace, her sax is an absolute force. It’s not difficult to imagine more than a few accompanists shying away from an invitation to join her. Which is precisely why Chase is such a well-suited partner. There is no second fiddle in this duo. He’s with Sikora every step of the way. The interplay is inspiring. - Kevin Press, baddpress.blog "These noble musicians have performed courageous deeds on this fantastic album. To them, we should submit and yield tribute." ​ - Robert Ham, DownBeat Magazine (reviewing "untitled: after", Catherine Sikora/ Brian Chase)

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Primary Instrument

Saxophone, tenor

Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


As a teacher, my goal is to inspire students to develop a habit of excellence in all that they do in music, regardless of the genre in which they choose to work. Mastery in music is not an end, but rather a way of working, a commitment to the art form and to exploring possibilities within it. A musician must continue to evolve, to develop and to challenge themselves throughout their life, and this is a habit that can be cultivated deliberately through conscious effort. In the classroom, my focus is more on understanding than memorization; I take a systematic approach to teaching, working with each student to assess their level, their strengths and their weaker areas, and set clear goals to help each individual to improve as much as possible. We work on recovering a sense of joy in playing; letting go of judgement, re-framing the view of mistakes/ right and wrong, and viewing such occurrences as valuable learning tools. Students are encouraged to maintain a journal of their practice, to come to me with questions, and to start to generate their own material as early as is possible. One of the foundations of my work involves each student writing their own book of technical studies; I offer guidance and make suggestions, but the goal is for each student to learn how to create technical studies to break through any block or difficulty they may be having. This is how I worked with my long time teacher, and the skill has proven invaluable to me in my career. The study of history is always included in my lessons, and students are exposed to musical artists and works from across a wide range of styles and genres, as this practice expands the musical mind and imagination, offering a greater range of possibility for their own creation of new work. Above all, I strive to have an open dialog with my students, to be a supportive and encouraging presence in their lives, while still demanding their best work and instilling confidence based on true competence. Please visit my blog, https://catherinesikora.wordpress.com, where I post many articles on practice methods and ideas for study.

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Elegant Walk Records



Relative Pitch Records


New Cities

Whirlwind Recordings









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