José Antonio Zayas Cabán






As a concert saxophonist and pedagogue, José A. Zayas Cabán has presented performances and taught master classes throughout Europe, the Caribbean and North America. These appearances include, among others, Trinity College and the Guildhall School of Music (England), the Scottish Saxophone Academy (Scotland), and the Conservatorio Real de Música de Madrid (Spain).

As a member of the trio {tres}, José has cultivated, advocated for, and developed his interest in the transcription and arrangements of chamber music by a wide range of composers, namely Villa Lobos, Fanny Mendelssohn, Poulenc, J.S. Bach, and Glinka. The original members of {tres}, Colin Young, Leah Siltberg, and José, as well as its newest member, Casey Rafn, have performed these transcription projects in Central America, the Caribbean, and throughout the United States. Some of these performances include a guest recital at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (México), the Puerto Rico Conservatory (Puerto Rico), as well as the Alianza Latinoamericana de Saxofonistas (Costa Rica).

José's interest in chamber music extends into his participation with several saxophone quartets and duos. Most recently, José has begun to collaborate with Joel Gordon and Shelley Washington, artists with whom he has performed duos by Mozart and Beethoven, as well as contemporary works like Shelley Washington's baritone saxophone duo Big Talk.

José’s involvement with saxophone quartets started at the University of Minnesota (2005-2007), where he played baritone saxophone with the Four Corners Saxophone quartet. This group was a finalist in the Coleman Chamber music competition and semi-finalist in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. Later on, while at Indiana University (2008-2009), José played baritone saxophone with the Panoptic Saxophone quartet, which was a semi-finalist at the MTNA chamber music competition. In addition, José played alto saxophone with the Missouri Saxophone Quartet (2009-2010) and played tenor saxophone while touring with Kenneth Tse’s saxophone quartet (2013).

José has also been part of several large ensembles, including the University of Iowa Saxophone Ensemble (directed by Kenneth Tse) and the World of Winds Orchestra (directed by Christian Lindbergh). As principal saxophonist, José toured parts of Norway and Germany with this ensemble.

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As a Music Theorist, José’s research focuses on the use of mathematics and data visualization to analyze symmetry in the music of 20th century composers. José also researches the cognitive perception of music, and how music theory can be used to create treatment options for individuals with communication disorders.

José has presented his research at the World Saxophone Congress, the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference and the Navy Saxophone Symposium. His article, Symmetrical Processes and Pitch Design in Jindřich Feld’s use of Form in the Sonata for Alto Saxophone, will be featured in the Saxophone Symposium's 2017-2018 issue. This article stems from the research he began during his dissertation,  Dodecaphonic and Symmetrical Processes in the First Movement of Jindřich Feld’s Sonata for Alto Saxophone.

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José has served as Instructor of Music Theory and Aural Skills at Columbia College in Columbia, MO (Fall 2018). In addition, from 2011 through 2015, José served as Teaching Assistant at the University of Iowa for both the Saxophone and Music Theory areas. As Teaching Assistant for the Saxophone area, José taught Saxophone, Woodwind Pedagogy and Literature, and Instrumental Techniques. For the Music Theory area, he taught Musicianship.

From 2012 through 2013, José served as Assistant Professor of Music at Truman State University in Kirksville, MO, where he taught Saxophone, Music Theory, and Aural Skills. José’s students have gone into music teaching positions in Missouri and Iowa schools or to pursue graduate degrees in music in programs such as New York University, Indiana University, and Ohio State University.



José has a DMA in Saxophone from the University of Iowa (2016). He the recipient of a Performer’s Diploma from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (May 2009), and holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Minnesota (2007), as well as a Bachelor in Music and Bachelor of Arts from Truman State University (2005). His primary teachers include Randall Smith, Eugene Rousseau, Otis Murphy and Kenneth Tse. He has also taken part in the European University for Saxophone in Gap, France, where he studied with Claude Delangle, Vincent David, Arno Bornkamp, Christian Wirth, Jean-Denis Michat and Julien Petit.