Biography

“Virtuosic to the core” (Textura) and hailed as “a tight-knit ensemble exploding with power and virtuosity” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), the Sinta Quartet is on a mission to bring the versatility, homogeneity, and excitement of the saxophone to audiences everywhere. Strengthening an already palpable connection with its audience by performing entirely from
memory, the quartet provides a fresh take on chamber music that is at once beautiful, virtuosic, and a completely interactive experience.
 
The Sinta Quartet injects music and fun into the air for unsuspecting passersby by appearing in nontraditional venues such as grocery stores, bars, and other public places, but they have also performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Hall, and the Beijing Center for the Performing Arts. Since forming in 2010 as soloists for a tour of China with the University of Michigan Symphony Band, the quartet has concertized in 9 countries, 31 states, and 2 Canadian
provinces, giving diverse audiences a chance to experience a classical saxophone quartet for the first time. The Sinta Quartet made history in 2013 as the first saxophone ensemble to win the Concert Artists Guild Competition’s First Prize, and continued to achieve success on the competition circuit, winning the Gold Medal at the 2018 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, First Prize at the 2017 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, the Alice Coleman Grand Prize at the 2013 Coleman Chamber Music Competition, and 1st Prize at the 2012 North American Saxophone Alliance Competition. 
 
The quartet’s programming takes the audience on an adventure through time, geography, and genre, often mixing classics from the 18th , 19th , and 20th  centuries with commissions by today’s composers and rollicking in-house arrangements from various folk traditions. In addition to their live performances, the quartet recently released two albums featuring predominantly recent commissions and winning pieces from Sinta Quartet’s annual National Composition
Competition. The first, Collider, hailed as, "An exciting ride! The ensemble, intonation, and technique in this recording are beyond question" (The Saxophonist Magazine), was released in 2019, and the second, Ex Machina, which was praised as “tightly performed and flawlessly recorded in generous, in-your-face sound” (Musical America), was released in February 2020.
 
All four members of SQ are also passionate and dedicated teachers and relish the opportunity to play for and work with students of all ages. They carefully craft and curate programs designed for all levels of public school students and every type of community venue.  

 

While Dan, Zach, Joe, and Danny all grew up in drastically different parts of the country (NY, TX, MI, and CA), they met at the University of Michigan where they studied with the legendary saxophone professor, Donald Sinta, and decided to name the group after him for the profound influence he had on each member and the inspired coaching he gave to the group during their student years.
 
Founded and still based in Michigan, Sinta Quartet’s members are all Selmer-Paris Artists and perform exclusively on Selmer saxophones.

Soprano Saxophonist Dan Graser, originally a New Yorker, now resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he is Professor of Saxophone and Assistant Department Chair at Grand Valley State University. He teaches a full studio of undergraduate music majors of education, performance, and arts management backgrounds. When he isn't practicing notes that only dogs can hear (and love!) he can be found reading incessantly, pretending that his coffee habits are entirely healthy, heading to the gym to work off the caffeine buzz, and seeking out the next great string quartet to improve by arranging for sax quartet!

Alto Saxophonist Zach Stern enjoys a career as a saxophone soloist, chamber musician, and educator. A native of Houston, Texas, Zach currently resides in Cape Girardeau, Missouri where he serves on the faculty at Southeast Missouri State University and is in demand in the region as a saxophone clinician and adjudicator. During the summer he teaches at the South Shore Conservatory's Summer Music Festival in Hingham, MA. Aside from his musical activities, Zach thoroughly enjoys both eating and cooking (albeit very amateurishly), and spending time with his lovely wife and objectively adorable puppy. 

Michigan native, Tenor Saxophonist Joe Girard currently resides in Columbus, Georgia where he serves as Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University. He regularly engages with young musicians throughout Georgia by teaching clinics, serving on the faculty of the Schwob Summer Music Festival, and leading a statewide saxophone all-state etude day. When he’s not busy performing and teaching, he enjoys spending time outdoors training his dog, Maizey (Go Blue!), and refining his culinary skills with his fiancé, Maureen.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Baritone Saxophonist Danny Hawthorne-Foss began his musical career at the age of 5, playing Bluegrass, American Old Time, and Irish folk music on the mandolin. He now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he teaches a private studio of all ages, coaches young saxophone quartets, and runs sectionals at local middle and high schools. When he's home from teaching and performing, Danny spends his free time learning riffs on electric guitar, teaching his pet cockatiel to whistle movie soundtracks, and enjoying far too many of the pastries his girlfriend bakes. 

Photo Credit: Jason Paige