Fukio Ensemble

Joaquín Sáez Belmonte , soprano saxophone

Xavier Larsson Paez, alto saxophone

José M. Bañuls Marcos, tenor saxophone

Xabier Casal Ares, baritone saxophone

Widely considered as one of the most thrilling young saxophone quartets on the modern scene in Europe. The Fukio Ensemble has devoted itself, since its foundation in 2007, to the exploration of the chamber music repertoire for the saxophone.

In addition to appearances at major concert venues in Germany, the UK and Spain including at the Fundación Juan March and Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, the Fukio Ensemble has performed at numerous festivals such as Austria’s IMPULS Academy, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Mallorca’ Saxophone Festival and Encontre Internacional de Compositors, at Spitzentöne and Romanisches Sommerfestival in Cologne, at Freunde Junge Musiker in Düsseldorf and Frankfurt and at Young Euro Classics in Berlin.

The Fukio Ensemble has won prizes at distinguished international competitions including the Jeunesses Musicales Spain, the Yamaha International Chamber Music Competition in Spain; the Gold medal at the UGDA Competition in Luxembourg, the first prize at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Hochschulwettbewerb, the first prize at the Coop music awards in Milano, first prize at the Karlsruher Wettbewerb für die Interpretation Neue Musik and the first prize at the 20th Illzach International Chamber Music Competition.

In 2015, the Fukio Ensemble was awarded a CD scholarship by the WDR Radio, the ARS Produktion, the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Köln and the Friends Association of Cologne University of Music. The ensemble has been broadcast for Deutschlandfunk, WDR, Resonance FM, La2, Radio Catalonia and RTVE.

Commissioning new pieces and education work are two central pillars of the ensemble’s activities. The Fukio Ensemble is specialised in contemporary music with Prof. David Smeyers at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln. The ensemble coursed Erasmus studies of chamber music within the class of Prof. László Hadady at the CNSMD Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris.

The Fukio Ensemble is supervised by the Cuarteto Casals and is supported by the Werner Richard–Dr. Carl Dörken Foundation.

Joaquín Sáez Belmonte , soprano saxophone

*1988 in Bigastro, Spain. Bachelor of Music at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de les Illes Balears (2011). Master of Music at the Hochschule für Musik Basel (2013). Erasmus Program in Chamber Music at the CNSMD in Paris (2015/16). Master of Music Interpretation Neue Musik at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (2016).

Xavier Larsson Paez, alto saxophone

*1991 in Ciutadella de Menorca, Spain. Bachelor of Music at the Conservatorio del Liceu, Barcelona (2011). Master of Music at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (2013). Erasmus Program in Chamber Music at the CNSMD in Paris (2015/16). Master of Music Interpretation Neue Musik at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (2016).

José M. Bañuls Marcos, tenor saxophone

*1986 in Bigastro, Spain. Bachelor of Music at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de les Illes Balears (2010). Master in Performance at the Royal College of Music London (2012). Erasmus Program in Chamber Music at the CNSMD in Paris (2015/16). Master of Music Interpretation Neue Musik at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (2016).

Xabier Casal Ares, baritone saxophone

*1988 in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Bachelor of Music at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Castilla León (2011). Diploma at the Conservatoire Jacques Thibaud in Bordeaux (2013). Erasmus Program in Chamber Music at the CNSMD in Paris (2015/16). Master of Music Interpretation Neue Musik at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (2016).

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