Michael Brecker International Saxophone Competition

I was recently informed about this new competition by Brian Plautz and Susan Brecker and thought I would pass on the information here on the site.  If you are an aspiring saxophonist between the ages of 16-30, are a citizen of the world (no extraterrestrials) and can burn it up on the saxophone, then this saxophone competition might be something for you to check out!  Here are the details from the breckercompetition.org website.  You can go there if you want more info and want to apply. (I am in no way connected to this event but am just spreading the word in support of Michael Brecker’s memory)

The legacy of tenor saxophonist and 15-time Grammy winner Michael Brecker is a marvel. As a result of his stylistic and harmonic innovations, Michael will forever be regarded as one of the most eminent saxophonists of this or any generation. He loved the company of musicians and especially aspiring young saxophonists. He would listen to the unsolicited tapes he received and would return with feedback and would always take time to speak to young musicians following his gigs. In his characteristically humble way, Michael had an uncanny ability to make everyone feel special. In recognition of Michael’s generosity, and to assist in providing ballast to deserving careers, The Michael Brecker International Saxophone Competition (MBISC) was created.

The Competition

Prize Money

First Prize: $12,500 (USD)
Second Prize: $7,500 (USD)
Third Prize: $2,500 (USD)

Preliminary Round

There will be three rounds in the MBISC. In the preliminary round applicants must complete the following by March 31st, 2019:
(a) Fill out an online application form
(b) Provide one letter of recommendation
(c) Upload a performance entry for review by a panel of judges

The application page will appear here.

Semi-Final and Final Rounds

The next two rounds of the MBISC will occur at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, Israel, August 25-27, 2019.

Should you be selected as one of the eight (8) semi-finalists, your airfare, hotel, and per diem for four (4) nights will be paid by the Competition.


To assist in the launch of emerging, exceptionally talented saxophonists:

  • You are a citizen of the world and between 16-30 years of age as of July 1, 2019.
  • You have never been signed to a record deal. Any records you’ve created in which you are the leader or co-leader have been financed and distributed by you and not a commercial entity.
  • You must be willing and able to attend the semi-final and final rounds of the MBISC at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, Israel from August 25-27, 2019.

Application Fee

There is a $75.00 (USD) application fee. On February 1, 2019 a link to provide payment will appear on the application page.

Musical Submission

Your audio entry for the preliminary round shall consist of your performance of a Michael Brecker solo with a live band or a-cappella and three (3) songs to include a standard ballad, medium tempo blues and uptempo standard, performed as a quartet with a piano/guitar trio. The four (4) tracks in total must collectively last no longer than 18 minutes.

Your entry will be evaluated based on a variety of criteria that includes your technical facility, rhythmic feel, imagination and your interplay with fellow band members.

Visit breckercompetition.org for more info and to apply.   Good Luck!    Steve

Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 30 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site Neffmusic.com.


  1. Avatar Seth Dantzie says

    If only I knew about jazz at a much earlier age.

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