Award winning, jazz baritone saxophonist Karl Stabnau is hailed as a “highly versatile and valuable musician…well versed in the tradition and future of the music.” He has made a name for himself as a both a leader and a sideman having toured nationally with his own groups as well as internationally with the Grammy winning “Gil Evans Centennial Project.” Karl’s many accolades include being named “Outstanding Jazz Soloist” by DownBeat Magazine, as well as being a finalist in the North American Saxophone Alliance Jazz Competition, and leading his group “Saxophonics” to a berth in the finals of the Rochester Jazz Star competition.
Karl has been a featured performer in the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, Cleveland Jazz Festival, Lewiston Jazz Festival, and the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy. He has also appeared as a sideman with Lou Christie and Bobby Rydell, Tito Allen, Johnny Rivera, N’Klabe, Lalo Rodriguez, and Frankie Negron.
Growing up in Rochester, NY, Karl played both alto and tenor saxophone before discovering his love for the baritone saxophone. His early influences spanned everything from big band jazz to gospel and R&B to classic oldies. During this time he earned numerous state-wide solo performance honors, was a featured artist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and a member of the national award winning “Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra.” He went on to receive a Bachelor of Jazz Performance and a Master’s in Music Education from the renowned Eastman School of Music before completing a Master’s in Music Business from Syracuse University.
Karl has studied with Ray Ricker, Walt Weiskopf, Jose Encarnacion and Chien-Kwan Lin, Bruce Johnstone and Joe Temperley. While at Eastman, Karl was a member of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Studio Orchestra and Eastman Jazz Ensemble where he performed with Marvin Stamm, Gary Foster, Jeff Beal, Dave Glasser, Dick Oatts, Pat LaBarbera, Adam Niewood, Lew Soloff, and Chuck Mangione.
Besides being recognized as a “gifted improviser” on alto, tenor and baritone saxophone, Karl is in demand as a woodwind specialist adding flute, clarinet and bass clarinet to his impressive list of instruments. He has played in numerous professional and community theatre productions including West Side Story, Babes in Arms, Damn Yankees, Beauty and the Beast, and The Music Man.
In addition to his active performing career, Karl also enjoys teaching. He maintains a private studio, teaching both classical and jazz saxophone, and is on faculty at SUNY Brockport College as director of jazz ensembles. During the summer, Karl teaches saxophone and improvisation at the Birch Creek Summer Jazz Camp in Egg Harbor, WI.