The Ambassador Duo

The Ambassador Duo, formed in 1990, is comprised of saxophonist
Clifford L. Leaman and pianist Derek J. Parsons. Both members hold the
Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in performance from
The University of Michigan where they met as graduate students in the mid
- 1980's. Currently Dr. Parsons serves on the faculty of Furman University
in Greenville, South Carolina and Dr. Leaman serves on the faculty of the
University of South Carolina and chairs the South Carolina Governor's
School for the Arts and Humanities' music faculty for the five-week Summer
Honors program.
Prior to his appointment at the University of South Carolina,
Leaman served on the faculties of Furman University, Eastern Michigan
University, and The University of Michigan. Leaman is in great demand
as a soloist and clinician and has performed and given clinics extensively
throughout the United States and Canada. His recordings include Henry
Brant's Concerto for Saxophone with Nine Instruments (Redwood Records),
Ernst Pepping's Suite für Trompete, Saxophon, und Posaune (CRS), and
Benjamin Boone's Election Year (University of Arizona Recordings) on
compact disc. An avid supporter of contemporary music, he has commissioned
and given the world premiere performances of numerous pieces, including
Pulitzer-prize-winning composer Leslie Bassett's Concerto for alto
saxophone and orchestra at the XII World Saxophone Congress in Montreal,
Canada. Leaman is an artist-clinician for the Selmer Company, Inc. and
performs exclusively on Selmer saxophones.
Parsons, a native of Newfoundland, Canada, began his musical
studies at the age of four and gave his first piano concerto performance
at age twelve. He has performed extensively throughout the eastern United
States and Canada as both soloist and collaborative musician, including
performances for SCETV, South Carolina Educational Radio, and CBC Radio
and Television in Canada, and has performed with such prominent musicians
as saxophonist Donald Sinta, baritone Kevin McMillan, and the Penderecki
String Quartet. He is in demand as a pianist, orchestral soloist, clinician, and
adjudicator in the Carolinas and abroad.
Since their debut at the 1990 Southwest Contemporary Music Festival
and Conference in San Marcos, Texas, The Ambassador Duo has been active
throughout the eastern and mid-western United States as performers and
clinicians, appearing at numerous colleges, universities, and concert
venues from Green Bay, WI to Tucson, AZ. Their repertoire covers a wide
range of musical styles, from baroque transcriptions to the most recent
avant-garde works for saxophone and piano. They are regularly invited
to perform at the national meetings of the North American Saxophone Alliance,
and were invited to give the world premiere of Mark Kilstofte's Sonata
at the XI World Saxophone Congress in Valencia, Spain. Last year they
released their critically acclaimed debut compact disc recording as a
duo, entitled Brillance, on the Equilibrium label (EQ-21) which features
the music of Bassett, Bolcom, Lennon, Kilstofte, and Gotkovsky; and an upcoming
compact disc featuring music of Schumann, Heiden, Maurice and others
is scheduled to be released by Equilibrium in the near future.

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