Biography

photo by Nicolás Arnáez

photo by Nicolás Arnáez

Internationally recognized as an ambitious contemporary saxophonist, Allison Balcetis has studied and collaborated with artists from around the world.  Her international performance career includes concerts throughout North America, Europe, Brazil, Thailand, and Taiwan. Recent projects include partnering with André Mestre to create Curto-Circuito, a yearly workshop for young Brazilian composers, which has seen the creation of over 30 new pieces for saxophone and piano since 2014.  Other creative partnerships include Colin Labadie, Ian Crutchley, Nicolás Arnáez, Thierry Alla, Rodrigo Bussad, and André Ribeiro.  Her work as a soloist and chamber musician has produced over 70 world premieres. 

As a faculty member of the University of Alberta since 2009, Allison trains the next generation of thoughtful, artistic musicians, teaching saxophone, chamber music, woodwind techniques, and aural skills.  Outside of the university, Allison helps develop the contemporary arts community as co-curator of SubArctic Improv and Experimental Arts, a monthly concert series pairing dancers, musicians, text, and visual artists in a totally improvised context.  Co-curating with dancer Jen Mesch, the first season welcomed over 50 artists to the stage in 2015/2016.  She has also been an Executive Board Member of New Music Edmonton, Alberta’s premiere new music concert presenters, since 2010.

Allison's recent chamber activities include performing with pianist Sandra Joy Friesen as the Bent Note duo, the Edmonton Saxophone Quartet, improvisation ensemble Damn Magpies, New Music Edmonton's in-house ensemble Violet Collective, and work with Edmontonian musicians and dance companies such as the Jen Mesch Dance Conspiracy and Mile Zero Dance.

In 2007 Allison co-founded Anubis Quartet, a Chicago-based ensemble with more than 30 commissions and premieres of provocative new music, performing with them until 2014.  During her undergraduate degree, Allison won first place in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in 2005.

While earning her Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Alberta under the direction of Dr. William Street, Allison produced her first solo recording, Zeniths and Nadirs. She also holds degrees from Bowling Green State University where she studied with Dr. John Sampen, and is the first – and only – saxophonist to earn a joint degree from the Université de Bordeaux and the Conservatoire National de Région de Bordeaux where she studied with Marie-Bernadette Charrier.