Iris Collective Announces Return of Michael Stern with Saxophonist Steven Banks

Two venues, two concerts in one weekend with Avery Fisher Career Grant Winner 

Iris Collective has announced the final concert weekend of its inaugural season. The first of two concerts featuring rising star and saxophone virtuoso Steven Banks on Saturday April 29 at GPAC will feature Michael Stern’s only return to conduct this season. Named The American Experience and co-presented by GPAC, the program includes the enduring American favorite, Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Darius Milhaud’s La création du monde inspired by American Jazz culture, andSouvenirs from one of America’s most venerated 20th-century composers, Samuel Barber. Iris will also be one of the few orchestras premiering jazz pianist Billy Childs’ saxophone concerto, inspired by poets Langston Hughes, Claude McKay and Amiri Baraka, which was written specifically for Banks. On Sunday, April 30, Iris musicians will join Banks for an intimate chamber concert entitled Fantasy & Reflections at the Scheidt Family Performing Arts Center inspired by Britten’s delightful and quirky Phantasy Quartet in F minor and Banks’ own work Cries, Sighs, and Dreams.

Left to right: Michael Stern conductor; saxophonist Steven Banks; jazz composer Billy Childs

“Steven is a rapidly rising star who any Memphis music lover should get a chance to hear while they can,” said Mary Javian, Iris Collective Artist and Strategic Advisor. “Steven also plays several horns with virtuosity: soprano, alto, tenor and baritone. Most saxophonists are just not able to do what he does on all four instruments, and in both classical and jazz genres.” 

This will be the second performance at GPAC and the second performance at the new Scheidt this season. “It’s an important part of the reimagined Iris Collective’s mission, to ensure accessibility in programming, price and location,” said executive director Rebbeca Arendt. “We’ve also performed this season at Crosstown Theatre and around town from the Morton Museum of Collierville History to the Art Bar at Crosstown Arts and the National Civil Rights Museum. Each concert also has a community component that ranges from school participation to master classes and residencies and inspired by the musicians and organizations of the Collective.”

The American Experience 

Saturday, April 29, 7:30pm


Tickets $45-$70 at

Program: Aaron Copland Appalachian Spring; Billy Childs saxophone concerto for Steven Banks; Darius Milhaud La création du monde; Samuel Barber Souvenirs 

Fantasies & Reflections 

Sunday, April 30, 3pm

Scheidt Family Performing Arts Center

Tickets $30 in advance/$35 at door at

Program: Mozart Oboe Quartet in F Major; Britten Phantasy Quartet in F minor; Banks

Cries, Sighs, and Dreams 

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