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Patrick McCulley is a saxophonist and educator in Portland, Oregon.
Patrick McCulley is a saxophonist and educator in Portland, Oregon.
Patrick McCulley is a saxophonist and educator in Portland, Oregon.

Patrick McCulley

Saxophone Instructor


Patrick McCulley (he/him) is a Portland based saxophonist, educator, composer, and creator. A student of Vanessa Sielert, Idit Shner, Jesse Cloninger, David Camwell, Patrick has received his Bachelor's degree in Music from the University of Oregon and Master’s degree in Saxophone Performance from the University of Idaho. He seeks to use his education, his more than fifteen years private teaching experience, and his twenty-seven years playing experience to help further the education, experience, wisdom, enjoyment, and musicality of his own students. Patrick has been teaching saxophone lessons in Portland, Oregon, for more than a decade, and is currently teaching with the Portland Music Collective at St. Paul Lutheran Church. His students frequently place in first chair in the top bands at their schools and the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble. He has had multiple students win first place in Solo Ensemble competitions, and All State competitions. Other students of his have won music scholarships for college and even been accepted to the University of Oregon's jazz studies program. More importantly however, he strives to make sure that his students have a strong grasp of musical fundamentals of pitch, rhythm, tempo, articulation, theory, and improvisation in multiple styles and genres.

While acquiring his master’s degree at the University of Idaho he worked with John Clayton, Paquito D’Rivera, and Anat Cohen during the 2012 University of Idaho Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. He and the University of Idaho Silver Saxophone Quartet were semifinalists in the North American Saxophone Alliance’s national saxophone quartet competition. Since graduate school Patrick’s Portland activities include multiple performances with the McCulley-Falconer Duo, Classical Revolution PDX, Muse: Forward, Cult of Orpheus, Cascadia Composers Forum, Creative Music Guild, and Portland’s premiere melodica/percussion/baritone saxophone trio; Zebra. Patrick has also frequently performs his own solo compositions all over Portland.

As a performer/composer Patrick seeks to transform the saxophone from a purely melodic instrument into an undefinable and unstoppable force of nature.  McCulley's solo compositions sculpt the saxophone's sound into transcendent metaphors for emotions not often expressed in music: the inescapable vagaries of change, the ecstatic joy of flight, and the yearning search for renewal amidst destruction. His music utilizes an array of extended techniques to defy conventional musical idioms in favor of raw, provocative, honest, and unusual sounds without abandoning the listener to the chaos of pure noise. While McCulley's master's degree focused on the performance of 20th century classical music, his heart focuses on the pushing of boundaries, the taking of risks, and openness to new musical experiences. In his 2016 EP Fierce, 2019 album Into the Day, and newest compositions, McCulley hopes to open his listener's ears, enchant their souls, and make them ponder the nature of a wholly different world.

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