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
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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,
"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)
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.