BIG OPEN – by Tina Richerson
Tina Richerson, M.M. is an internationally touring musician, freelance saxophonist, composer, woodwind clinician, and educator with over 25 years experience in private instruction.
As a saxophonist, educator, composer and author, Tina’s life aspiration is to connect, share, and create. “It is in the moment of connecting with and helping others that we can become our truest and best self.” Creating music and community is her path to connecting, and sharing knowledge and inspiring others to connect to their creative forces (talents) and share them with others.
Tina’s first love was music. At the age of 11 she began playing saxophone in the school band. Growing up in a faithful Mormon home she was supported in music but at age 13 when she realized she was Gay, it was the most horrifying moment of her life (Because how can you be Gay and be Mormon?) Music, was the glue that kept her from falling apart.
In high school she had the opportunity to study privately with Dr. Robert Miller from the University of Idaho. Her saxophone lessons where held 200 mile’s from her home town of Wenatchee, Washington, which she rebuilt a car engine to drive the 400 mile round trip alternating Saturdays.
Tina attended the University of Idaho where she received her Baccalaureate of Music in Saxophone performance. While in College, she came out as Lesbian and renounced the church and began the path of navigating her spirituality and sexual orientation, a very hard and messy and unclear path full of confusion and hurt. (No fun, I don’t recommend it- but it seems to be necessary.)
While attending the Univeristy of Washington where she earned her and her Master of Music in Saxophone Performance she returned to the church, tried to pray the gay away and become straight. This failed horribly so she took off and worked in the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay Alaska to get away from it all and practice her saxophone. After 8 months working on the north slope of Alaska, she returned to Seattle, found a wife, and left the church again. During this time her music flourished and she co-lead the Jazz Quintet Hard Bop or Naught with trumpeter Erik Esvelt, held a weekly residency at Serafina, was a member of the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra and worked as a freelance musician and private teacher.
In 2004 she joined the Tiptons Sax Quartet & Drums with Amy Denio, Jessica Lurie and Sue Orfield. in 2006 she moved to New York City with her wife to live and work as a freelance musician and band leader. A good move for Tina’s career, but her love of music and New York city ultimately ended her union with her partner. While living in New York she studied with George Garzone and Ronnie Cuber and performed with artist such as Kenny Wollesen, Pam Fleming, Viva DeConcini, Eva Novoa, Michael Bates and Rob Garcia and lead her own self titled Trio with Ruben Radding and Andrew Drury. While living in New York City she joined Circus Amok as a band member and played with a wide spectrum of ensembles ranging from klezmer, jazz, afro cuban and peruvian, latin and contemporary jazz ensembles. While backing up burlesque shows in the Lower East Side, she played in a rock band with Peter Apfelbaum To make ends meet she worked as a bicycle courier while she wasn’t teaching or performing.
“Tina Plays like she has angles and demons whispering to her at the same time. The result is always surprising and enlightening”
Music has been the constant thread through her spiritual path of leaving the church, being saved in a Pentacostal church, settling down in a long term same sex relationship, the divorce, discovering Zen Buddhism which brought her back to living a celibate life to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ as found in her Mormon roots. (What a trip!)
Today Tina lives in Beaverton, Oregon and is working to complete her book Reconciliation (life journey) as a Gay Mormon and is accepting private students. She has performed with the Quadrophonnes and the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble and the Cabin Project. Tina is a member of the Tiptons Saxophone Quartet & Drums, and tours with Singer Songwriter and Musical Composer Erin McKeown.
“Up Against the Rail!” is Tina Richerson’s only album to date, recorded with Reuben Radding and Andrew Drury. She has recorded 6 albums with the Tiptons, with Electric Viva, Geo Wyeth, Emma and others. She also recorded the music track to the Television Show “This Old House” which aired in April of 2009.