Gregory W. Yasinitsky, Principal Saxophonist with the Spokane Symphony, joined the orchestra in 1991. In addition to performing as a member of the symphony, he has appeared as a featured soloist a number of times, and has received several commissions from the orchestra for his compositions and arrangements. Yasinitsky is the winner of the American Prize for Orchestral Composition for his Jazz Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, a piece which wads also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Yasinitsky, an inductee in the Washington Music Educators Hall of Fame, is also a Regents Professor of Music and Director of the School of Music at Washington State University where he is a recipient of the Eminent Faculty Award, the top faculty honor at WSU.
Yasinitsky has an international reputation as a composer, arranger and saxophonist. A recipient of grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer West, The Commission Project, Artist Trust, Washington State Music Teachers Association (WSMTA) and ASCAP, Yasinitsky has performed with Randy Brecker, Sean Jones, Ed Calle, Alex Acuna, Kirk Whalum, Claudio Roditi, Conrad Herwig, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Louis Bellson, Stan Getz, Lionel Hampton, Manhattan Transfer, and many others. He also has written music especially for David Sanborn, Clark Terry, Dave Liebman and the USAF "Airmen of Note" big band, with over 210 musical works performed in over 40 countries around the world, published by Kendor Music, Belwin Jazz, Advance Music (a division of Schott Publications, Germany), Hal Leonard, Dorn, Walrus, UNC Jazz Press, Daniel Barry Publications and Sound Music Publications which are performed in over forty countries world-wide.
Yasinitsky’s performances include appearances at Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln center and his compositions and saxophone playing can be heard on over forty CD recordings released by Soul Note, Palo Alto Records, the Musical Heritage Society, Vienna Modern Masters, Arizona University Recordings, Open Loop Recordings and his own label, Yazz Recordings. Yasinitsky is a JodyJazz Artist and Yamaha performing artist. Under Yasinitsky's leadership, the Washington State University Jazz Studies Program has received widespread recognition including awards from Down Beat magazine, invitations to perform at prestigious conferences and top awards at major jazz festivals.
About Gregory Yasinitsky:
Hometown: San Francisco, now Pullman, WA
Schools attended: Eastman School of Music, San Francisco State University, College of San Mateo
I first started to play music when: In the sixth grade band at Alta Loma Jr. High School in South San Francisco, CA
Musical inspirations: John Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, Ernie Watts, Ed Calle, Johnny Griffin, Michael Brecker, Marcel Mule, Eugene Rousseau, Steve Mauk
Favorite Composers: Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, Beethoven, Brahms, Joseph Schwantner, Thad Jones, Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington, Horace Silver, Wayne Shorter
Favorite works featuring my instrument: Paule Maurice — Tableaux de Provence; Alfred Desenclos — Prelude, Cadence et Finale; Sergei Prokofiev — Romeo and Juliet; George Gershwin — American in Paris
Volunteer activities include: Helping school music programs
Favorite things to do in Spokane: Stay at the Davenport, shop downtown, eat at the Davenport, Onion, Mizuna, hear the Spokane Symphony and Spokane Jazz Orchestra, and attend Bravo Broadway.