Ton Verhiel, musician
saxophonist, composer, historian, teacher


Who is Ton Verhiel?


Ton Verhiel (Heerlen, 04-01-1956)

I studied classical saxophone and AMV (music teacher) at the Maastricht Conservatory. My saxophone professor was Norbert Nozy and besides I have visited master-classes with Leo van Oostrom, Elie Apper, Ryo Noda, Jean-Marie Londeix and Frederick Hemke.

During my almost thirty year saxophone career I have performed a lot of music. My interest took me most times to pieces and combinations that were not so well known in Saxophone Land. My recording of the Choral Varié by Vincent D'Indy on my cassette "An entertaining evening with the saxophone" was the first recording on alto saxophone at that time and I also made the first recording of Siegfried Siara's Sonatine in jazz for tenor saxophone and piano. As I performed the Lawson Lunde alto saxophone Sonata in 1988 the piece was hardly played in Europe. The same with Lunde's Duo-Sonata for alto and tenor saxophones and the Paul Gilson Saxophone Concerto.

As I started to do concerts with organ early 1980, no one was doing this! Also my duos with guitar and accordion were seldom seen on the concert stage in those days. I did recitals with harp, educational projects with string-quartet and bagpipe, composed a work for tenor saxophone and guitar and a trio for C melody saxophone, Bb tenor saxophone and cello.

I also tried to give more interest to the saxophone trio and founded the former Limburgs Saxophone Trio, which did a lot of music for soprano-, alto- and tenor saxophones and educational concerts. I wrote some interesting pieces for this nice combination as the Petit Divertissement, the  Footstamp-Rag, Deux Mouvements and Some Entertaining Music

After a slow start, composing became a larger part of my musical life. I did a lot of music for saxophone and am glad that some of this pieces are quite often performed. Roger Greenburg premiered my Solo Suite nr. 2 and Jay Easton did a first performance of "My horn can play ..." for contrabass saxophone and piano. The Partita Brève for alto saxophone and organ is one of my most performed compositions.

For saxophone I have written studies, solos, chamber music and two saxophone schools. There is a lot of educational music but some pieces are very much suited for the professional performer. My two-part Method for saxophone was one of the first new Dutch saxophone-methods during the 1990ties and in 2004 I finished my second saxophone-method SAX IS FUN.

Besides music for saxophones I have composed music for band, wind-instruments, guitar, organ, choir and a whole lot of children's songs. I have been writing about the saxophone for the last 20 years. Some articles have been published in bulletin of the German ARDESA. My article on the saxophone-music of Belgian composer Marcel Poot was published in Saxophone Journal and a story on the saxophone in the music of Gordon Jacob is published by my own little company. I have written a book in Dutch language on the history and the use of the saxophone, a book on the saxophone in the music of Will Eisenmann, who was a personal friend of Sigurd Rascher and for some years I worked as a music reporter for the local newspapers.

I was lucky to have found some composers who have written new compositions for saxophone and organ and saxophone-solo for me. In 1992 I performed during the 10th World saxophone Congres in Pesaro, Italy, premiering my own Partita Brève for alto-saxophone and organ as well as Preghiera Triangolare for the same combination by Dutch composer Gerard Sars.

As a saxophone-soloist I performed and gave master-classes in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France. I arranged the 2nd Saxophone Concerto by Paul Gilson for band and performed this version with the Belgium Airforce Band under the bateau of Maurice Dubois. I also played the first Dutch performance of the  Ballade for alto-saxophone and strings by Belgium composer Willem Kersters, the first German performance of  Carnival for alto-saxophone and band by Philip Spark and the world premiere of the  Concertino for alto-saxophone and strings by Gerard Sars. I was lucky to perform my own little  Nightsong for alto-saxophone and band on Bavarian (German) radio and did a lot of first Dutch and German performances of pieces for saxophone-solo, saxophone and organ, saxophone and harp, saxophone and accordion and for saxophone-trio.

In 1996 Ton Verhiel was awarded the Culture-price of the city Landgraaf and in 1999 he received the Needle of Honour of the Hessische Musikverband (Germany) and in 2004 the Plate of Honour from the same Musikverband.

Currently Ton Verhiel teaches saxophone at Artamuse, the institute for music-teaching in Sittard-Geleen and he worked for many years as a music-teacher with mentally handicapped children at the Catharina school in Heerlen. He is active as a composer and lecturer on all musical subjects.