Saxophonist Amy Dickson began lessons at the age of six and made her concerto debut ten years later. Recognized widely for her remarkable and distinctive tone and exceptional musicality, she has performed in Europe, Africa and Australasia, in venues such as the Wigmore Hall and the Sydney Opera House. She has also performed as a soloist with many orchestras throughout the world including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra.
Born in Sydney, Dickson made her concerto debut aged 16, playing the Dubois Concerto with Henryk Pisarek and the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra, and subsequently became a recipient of the James Fairfax Australian Young Artist of the Year award. On her 18th birthday she recorded the Dubois Divertissement with John Harding and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The following year she moved to London where she took the Jane Melber Scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music with Kyle Horch, and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Arno Bornkamp. During this time she became the first saxophonist to win major competitions including the Gold Medal at the Royal Overseas League Competition, the Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year Competition, and the Prince’s Prize.
In 2005 she performed for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at the Teatru Manoel in Valetta, Malta. She has also performed at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh; St James’ Palace, London; and for former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard at Parliament House, Canberra. In great demand as a recitalist, she has worked with pianists Catherine Milledge and Martin Cousin in venues including the Wigmore Hall, the Bridgewater Hall, and in festivals throughout the world.
An exclusive recording artist for Sony Music, Dickson has now released two critically acclaimed recordings on the RCA Red Seal label. Her first, Smile, was released in 2008, and led Ivan March of Gramophone magazine to write:
She has a individual and unusual tone, luscious, silky-smooth, sultry and voluptuous by turns; her phrasing is beautifully finished, her control of dynamic infinitely subtle. She plays very songfully, is often gentle and restrained, at times sounding like the chalumeaux of a clarinet. But she can rise to a passionate climax, as in Danza de la moza donosa, or slinkily respond to Debussy's La plus que lente.
Her second album, Glass, Tavener, Nyman, comprises of the Violin Concerto by Philip Glass and The Protecting Veil by John Tavener, both arranged by Dickson, and Where the Bee Dances by Michael Nyman. She has also made recordings of McDowall’s concerto Dancing Fish, Larsson’s Konzert and Dubois’ Divertissment, and has appeared on Bollywood composer Mithoon Sharma’s album Tu Hi Mere Rab Ki Tarah Hai
Dickson is deeply committed to the development of new repertoire for the saxophone, whilst also championing existing repertoire. She regularly commissions new works, and makes arrangements of existing works from other instrumental repertoire. She has made a substantial contribution to the orchestral, chamber and solo repertoire. Composers who have written for her include Graham Fitkin, Steve Martland, Huw Watkins, Martin Butler, Michael Csanyi-Wills, Cecilia McDowall and Timothy Salter. A concerto by Ross Edwards is currently being commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In 2008 she gave the first performance of the Violin Concerto by Philip Glass arranged for soprano saxophone with Otto Tausk and the Auckland Philharmonia, and subsequent performances with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Her arrangement has been published by Chester Novello. In 2010, she will perform Harrison Birtwistle’s Panic with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as part of the Metropolis Series.
Amy is an ambassador of the Prince’s Trust, and is a Selmer Paris Performing Artist. She has a great love of fashion and is dressed by Armani, and she is also endorsed by REN skincare.
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