Soprano chair of the renowned PRISM Quartet and one of the world’s most celebrated classical saxophonists, TIMOTHY McALLISTER has been hailed as “a virtuoso” (The New York Times), an “exemplary soloist” (Gramophone Magazine), and “a titan of contemporary music and the instrument, in general” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer). Since his concerto debut at age sixteen with the Houston Civic Symphony, his career has taken him to over 20 countries, with solo performances in many of the world’s most prestigious venues including Prince Royal Albert Hall in London, the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.
McAllister’s critically acclaimed, internationally released recordings can be heard on the Nonesuch, Stradivarius, XAS/Symphonic, Summit, OMM, Einstein, NAXOS, AUR, New Dynamic, Albany, Equilibrium, New Focus, Centaur, G.I.A. Publications, Parma, and Innova labels. Mark Stryker of the Detroit Free Press recognized his over 50 albums as the top classical saxophone recordings in the industry, and he has been featured on three GRAMMY-winning albums.
McAllister has premiered over 250 new works by today’s most eminent and emerging composers ranging from solo compositions by Gunther Schuller, Caleb Burhans, Jennifer Higdon, Kati Agocs, Nina Shekhar, Mischa Zupko, Matthew Evan Taylor, Roshanne Etezady, Kristin Kuster to saxophone quartets and chamber works by William Bolcom, Martin Bresnick, Viet Cuong, Juri Seo, George Lewis, Emma O’Halloran, Nathalie Joachim, Fang Man, Erik Santos, Steven Mackey, Lee Hyla, Libby Larsen, Lei Liang, Huang Ruo, Bright Sheng, David Rakowski, Zhou Long, Chen Yi, Joel Puckett, Ken Ueno, Donnacha Dennehy, David T. Little among many others.
In October 2009, he appeared as saxophonist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Gustavo Dudamel’s Inaugural Gala concert performing the World Premiere of Pulitzer Prize and GRAMMY Award-winning composer John Adams’ major work, City Noir (released on DVD by Deutsche Grammophon), and performed the work with the orchestra throughout its 2010 U.S. Tour, culminating in an appearance in New York City’s Lincoln Center. In March 2015, he reprised his City Noir role with the LAPhil and Dudamel for an acclaimed Asian Tour, including concerts in Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo. He reunited with Dudamel in June 2017 for a performance of the work with the legendary Berlin Philharmonic, which currently appears on the orchestra’s acclaimed Digital Concert Hall and was recorded for the 2019 GRAMMY-Nominated “John Adams Edition” Anthology.
In August 2013, he gave the World Premiere of John Adams’ Saxophone Concerto - described by The Sydney Morning Herald as “an astonishing performance” - with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the composer in the Sydney Opera House. Subsequent United States premieres and international performances followed throughout 2013 and 2014 with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore and Sao Paulo State (Brazil) symphonies, along with a recording of the Concerto and City Noir for Nonesuch Records with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony, which won the 2015 GRAMMY Award for “Best Orchestral Performance.” Other engagements with the Concerto have included the BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Croatian Radiotelevision Symphony, and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. As part of the 70th Birthday celebrations worldwide honoring Adams in 2017, he performed the Concerto with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Indianapolis Symphony, along with other performances of the composer’s music with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, and the Berlin Philharmonic.
Other recent performances as soloist and recording artist include the London Symphony Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Sinfonia of London, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, Reno Philharmonic, the Hot Springs Festival Orchestra, Texas Festival Orchestra at Round Top, Dallas Wind Symphony, United States Navy Band, Hong Kong Wind Philharmonia, Tokyo Wind Symphony, and the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, of which he serves as a core member. In great demand as an orchestral saxophonist, he has appeared in the wind sections of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Houston Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, New World Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Seattle Symphony, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
During the 2021-2022 season, he gave the World Premiere of American icon John Corigliano’s Triathlon for Saxophonist and Orchestra with the San Francisco Symphony, under the baton of GRAMMY-winning conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, and was featured in Adagio (For Wadada Leo Smith) for alto saxophone and orchestra by the virtuoso performer/composer and MacArthur Fellow Tyshawn Sorey at the historic Lucerne Festival in Switzerland.
As a member of the PRISM Quartet, he has collaborated with The Crossing, Pacific Symphony, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Opera Colorado, Columbus Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Ocean City Pops (NJ), Augusta Symphony, Cantori New York, Talujon Percussion Quartet, SO Percussion, Partch Ensemble, and the Nashville Symphony, in addition to numerous chamber music engagements and festivals nationwide such as the SONIC Festival, Bang On A Can Marathon and the Big Ears Festival. He has been a featured soloist at the national/international conferences of SEAMUS, the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial meetings, the New England Saxophone Symposium, and the U.S Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium. Additionally, he has appeared as a concerto soloist at three World Saxophone Congresses in Minneapolis, Strasbourg, and Zagreb.
Recent seasons have involved innovative crossover collaborations between the PRISM Quartet and major jazz artists/composers including Melissa Aldana, Arturo O’Farrill, Greg Osby, Tim Ries, Tim Berne, Ben Monder, Anthony Pinciotti, Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Steve Lehman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Miguel Zenon. Upcoming PRISM collaborations, commissions, and recordings include Hannah Kendall, Marcos Balter, Flannery Cunningham, Arturo O’Farrill, Michael Gordon, Melissa Aldana, Martin Bresnick, Juri Seo, Bright Sheng, Roberto Sierra, Adam Silverman, George Lewis, Jungyoon Wie, James Aikman, Susie Ibarra, Tyshawn Sorey, Ravi Coltrane, Chris Potter, Nina C. Young, Emily Cooley, Terell Stafford, & Robert Capanna.
A dedicated teacher, McAllister is Professor of Saxophone at The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, following the legacies of Larry Teal and Donald Sinta. This followed the same post at Northwestern University, succeeding the legendary Frederick Hemke, where he also served as Co-Director of the inaugural Institute for New Music from 2012-2015. Other faculty positions have included Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute School of Music, The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music, and SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. He spends his summers as a distinguished Valade Fellow/Instructor of Saxophone for the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He has given clinics and recitals at many of the nation’s elite universities and conservatories, and in 2003, he was invited by French virtuoso Claude Delangle to serve as a Guest Professor at the famed Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris. In 2013, he was a co-founding faculty member of the annual American Saxophone Academy first convened at the Eastman School of Music, and he is the first American saxophonist to serve as an instructor at the European University for Saxophone in Gap, France in 2015. He holds regular summer workshops at the Arosa (Switzerland) and Orford (Quebec, Canada) Music Academies and for the University of Michigan MPulse Program. In 2018, he was appointed to the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester UK, as International Visiting Tutor in Saxophone.
He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts and other degrees in music education, conducting and performance from The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, where he studied saxophone with Donald Sinta and conducting with H. Robert Reynolds. Upon graduation, he was the first saxophonist to ever receive the SMTD’s most distinguished performance award—the Albert A. Stanley Medal. Alongside composer Derek Bermel, acclaimed tenor Nicholas Phan and New York Metropolitan Opera coach Howard Watkins, McAllister has been honored with the Paul C. Boylan Award from the Michigan School of Music Alumni Society for his significant contributions to the field of music. He and his PRISM Quartet colleagues received the inaugural Christopher Kendall Alumni Award, bestowed upon chamber groups or individuals who have demonstrated great achievement in performance, outreach, innovation and entrepreneurship. As a student, he was the featured soloist for the University of Michigan Symphony Band Centennial Anniversary Tour in 1997 and soprano chair of the Ninth Circle Saxophone Quartet, the first of its kind to be awarded the Grand Prize at the 2001 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.
Timothy McAllister is on the artist roster of Jonathan Wentworth Associates, Ltd. Additionally, he is a Conn-Selmer artist/clinician, while also serving as a Backun Woodwind Artist, assisting with research and mouthpiece design. He endorses Key Leaves and Peak Performance Woodwind products.