Rooted in jazz and classical traditions, saxophonist Steve Duke has established himself as a leading artist in contemporary music and improvisation. His improvisations and technical prowess in computer music have earned him international acclaim.
Allan Kozinn of the New York Times described his playing as, “Stephen Duke played the music with a gorgeous tone and moved easily between, … the Coltranesque leaps and the supple fluidity of the Hodges pastiche.”
He has worked with jazz artists Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Charles McPherson, Victor Lewis, Louis Bellison, Zoot Sims, and many others. In addition to his jazz work, Duke has performed with the American Ballet Theater, the Bolshoi Ballet, and other orchestras.
Duke has commissioned and premiered more than 20 solo works in acoustic and electro-acoustic music including works by Larry Austin, Kurt Stallmann, Elainie Lillios, William O. Smith, Dexter Morrill, Jan Bach, Rodney Waschka III, Cort Lippe and James Phelps. His album recordings include Monk by 2 (Sony/Columbia) with pianist Joe Pinnzaronni, Saint Ambrose (Capstone), and Passing Through (Amazon) with composer/pianist Kurt Stallmann. Other solo recordings can be heard on Centaur, SEAMUS, Equilibrium, GMEB/UNESCO/CIME and EMF.
Duke is a Northern Illinois University Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus. In 1988, he wrote the first article “An Integrated Approach to Playing Saxophone” (Saxophone Symposium,1988) on the jazz and classical multi-genre technique and developed the first curriculum in the Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education. In 2012, Duke created the facebook page The Sax Coach, and in 2021 created the website saxcoach.org.
He earned a Bachelor and Master degrees in music at the University of North Texas and is Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher.