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Patrick Cornelius

After 18 years in New York City, alto saxophonist and composer Patrick Cornelius has cultivated a substantial body of work as a composer and bandleader, and performed his original music in some of the world’s top jazz venues. Hailed as “self-assured" and “resourceful" by The New York Times, “Elegant" and “Extraordinary" by DownBeat Magazine (in whose annual Critics Poll he has been listed among the “Rising Stars" multiple times), and “Bold and Gifted," by All About Jazz, Cornelius’ discography of six albums as a leader (and two as co-leader) features established masters (like Jeff Ballard and Frank Kimbrough) as well as rising stars (including Gerald Clayton, Kendrick Scott, and Miles Okazaki).

As a composer, Cornelius has earned an array of awards and commissions, including four consecutive ASCAP “Young Composer Awards," (now Herb Alpert Award) and Chamber Music America’s “New Jazz Works" in 2012, and has been commissioned to compose and arrange original music for ensembles across the globe. Cornelius’ latest album, This Should Be Fun (Posi-Tone 2019) sees him coming to terms with who he is as a musician, and embracing his own aesthetic after a career of being many things at once. He is joined on the album by veteran musicians Ben Allison, John Escreet, Nick Vayenas, and Mark Ferber.

An active music pedagogue, Patrick (who received a Bachelor’s Degree from Berklee College of Music, a Masters Degree from The Manhattan School of Music, and an Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School), has appeared as visiting artist or guest lecturer at many international institutions, including The Royal Academy, the Birmingham Conservatoire, Guildhall, Hull University, Trinity College, and Edinburgh University in the United Kingdom, St. Mary’s University and UTSA in Texas, The Centro Culturale and San Jose University in Costa Rica, The University of North Carolina, The Juilliard School, and Snow College in Utah. He is currently an adjunct professor of saxophone at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, and a music faculty member at The United Nations International School in New York City. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, two children, and seven neon tetras.


ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Awards: 2005, 2006, 2007, and Honorable Mention 2008. Billboard Magazine Endowed Scholarship: 1999 Downbeat Student Music Award, Best High School Soloist: 1997


Alto: 1958 Selmer, Yanigisawa 7 Rubber mouthpiece, Rico Jazz Select #3 Hard Reeds
Soprano: 1995 Selmer, Bari .65 rubber mouthpiece, Java #3.5 reeds
Tenor: 1939 Selmer, B&N Rubber Custom mouthpiece, Rico Jazz Select #4 soft


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“Patrick Cornelius has devoted the bulk of his second recording to original works. The seven examples given here show a dusky elegance that owes much to Wayne Shorter while retaining a unique identity.” — Forrest Dylan Bryant, JazzTimes

“...Enjoyable, clever music, which does interesting things with what it inherits from the jazz tradition... Well-schooled music, but music played with feeling, commitment and imagination,” — Glyn Pursglove, MusicWeb international

“...In an impressive debut by one of the new young lions of jazz, Patrick Cornelius crafts a captivating and engaging recording... Lucid Dream is a disc worth more than a listen and sure to garnish critical acclaim.” — Ed Blanco, eJazzNews

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Primary Instrument

Saxophone, alto


New York City


    BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, full scholarship, graduated 2000, Magna Cum Laude
    MM in Jazz Studies, Manhattan School of Music, full scholarship, graduated 2006, Summa Cum Laude
    Artist Diploma in Jazz Studies, The Juilliard School, full scholarship, graduated 2011
    Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance (1999)
    Studied with George Garzone, Hal Crook, Dick Oatts, Shannon LeClaire, Garry Dial, Justin DiCioccio, Ron Blake, Kenny Barron, Carl Allen, Rodney Jones, Greg Hopkins, Billy Pierce

    Music faculty in saxophone at PolyPrep Country School in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
    Given private saxophone (all levels), jazz improvisation (all levels), flute (beginners), and piano (beginners) Since 1997 in Boston, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Washington DC, New York
    Visiting artist in jazz and saxophone at St. Mary’s University (TX), UTSA (TX), Texas State University (TX), Royal Academy of Music (London), Edinburgh University (Scotland)
    Workshops and clinics in jazz at public schools in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Antonio, London, Jersey City
    Published author on jazz improvisation in Saxophone Journal

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Episodes Of Grace

Posi-Tone Records


Feel The Love

Posi-Tone Records


Acadia: Way Of The...

Whirlwind Recordings


This Should Be Fun

Posi-Tone Records


While We’re Still...

Whirlwind Recordings


Infinite Blue

Whirlwind Recordings


Christmas Gift

From: Maybe Steps
By Patrick Cornelius



Dave Liebman
saxophone, soprano
Gretchen Parlato
voice / vocals
Walter Smith III
saxophone, tenor
Joel Frahm
saxophone, tenor
Bob Reynolds
saxophone, tenor
Dino Govoni
saxophone, tenor
Tia Fuller
Brian VanArsdale
saxophone, tenor
Dick Oatts
saxophone, alto
Keith Pray
Jeremy Zmuda
guitar, electric
Jeff Antoniuk
saxophone, tenor

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