Just To Be Asking: Lindsey Welp


Lindsey Welp

Lindsey Welp is a saxophonist performing at 6 p.m. June 25 at the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center. The Jasper native has performed at concerts, festivals and competitions across the country. Her cultural center performance will interpret the music of famous composers, such as Claude Debussy, but will also draw from modern influences.

You’re living in Ohio now, but you’re from Jasper, right?

I was born and raised in Jasper, and I graduated from Jasper High School in 2015. I got my undergraduate (degree) at a school in Indiana, but now I just actually graduated for my master's at Bowling Green State University. So I’m in Ohio for the time being, and then I’m going to head down to Georgia for a doctorate.

How did your passion for the saxophone begin?

I started saxophone when I was in sixth grade with the Jasper Middle School band program and I just really enjoyed it. When I was in elementary school, music classes didn’t really click with me, and my parents aren’t musicians. But for some reason, I started playing saxophone, and I got really into it. I started taking lessons with the now-retired band director at Jasper High School, James Goodhue. It’s kind of a weird thing because my family is not musical at all. It’s just something that once I started doing it, I didn’t stop.

Are there certain composers or mentors that you look up to for inspiration?

Saxophone is kind of an interesting instrument because it was invented in the mid-19th century, so we actually don’t have music that is by some of the really major composers, like Mozart or Bach. So for me, I really draw inspiration from living composers.

With my program that I made for the cultural center, I tried to encapsulate what classical saxophone music is in one program. When someone thinks of a saxophone, it’s mostly jazz. I wanted to show the saxophone in a different light, so I'll be playing some classical music that people know, and then a lot of the program is from composers who are still alive today. There’s a great 94-year-old composer from Paris named Betsy Jolas, and then a composer who is only 25 years old who is currently out of NYU writing some music that is a little more representative of what saxophonists are playing today. It’s kind of a weird genre, but in terms of drawing inspiration, I think it’s people who are my age and are pioneering music that hopefully, one day, people will look back on like how we look at Bach or Mozart or Beethoven.

What moment or accomplishment are you most proud of in your career so far?

The moment I look back on, kind of as not even the most reputable thing but just as the proudest moment in my career, was getting to perform in front of an orchestra as a soloist. Saxophones aren’t in a traditional string orchestra, so growing up, I didn’t get to play in an orchestra or perform in any setting with strings. So that was the coolest opportunity.

Do people need to know the artists you’re drawing from or understand the saxophone in general to appreciate your music?

No, I don't think so. And especially for this concert at the cultural center, it's kind of an interesting situation because it’s going to be in the art gallery. I’ve done recitals in art galleries before, and they’re really successful because you don’t have to just sit and watch a recital, and you’re not trapped in your seat if you don’t like it. People can walk around and look at the galleries, and I have no problem if they want to whisper a comment to someone while I’m playing or if they want to look up something on their phone because they don’t understand a thing that I say.

I would like people to come who have never heard either classical music or live saxophone or they’ve never come in the cultural center. I’m trying to make it as encompassing as possible for people to come in and experience the new building but also hear music that they’ve never heard before. I think people leaving with an appreciation for, ‘Wow, this new cultural center is really cool,’ will accomplish what I set out to do. And another important thing about the performance is that it’s free, but donations are being accepted to the cultural center, which will go to improve the space and bring in more performances.

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