Connor Mikula
Connor James Mikula, Preside  nt and Founder

Connor James Mikula, President and Founder

Connor Mikula is "a fierce advocate for contemporary music, serves as a fantastic collaborator."
     --Dr. David Biedenbender, Assistant Professor of Composition, Michigan State University



 

Connor James Mikula’s passion to create new music for the saxophone and expand its influence in the musical world led him to establish Novus New Music, Inc., in 2016. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization was established to commission new works for the saxophone and also support saxophone artists.

The enrichment of the saxophone repertoire. Novus seeks to encourage and assist the creation of new music by leading the collaboration between composers and saxophonists.

Novus supports this collaborative process, from the initial creative spark to the premiere performance. The organization forms and coordinates commissioning consortiums as well as directly commissions music itself. Novus provides legal contracts between the parties, coordinates world premiere performances, and organizes the financial transactions.

The support of saxophone musicians. Novus increases the community’s knowledge and access to the saxophone by community outreach and educational activities for the instrument, by aiding commissions for community groups, by supporting young musicians, and by providing opportunities for exposure to the instrument itself.

While Novus New Music serves saxophonists and composers of all levels, Connor has a special interest in supporting both student and emerging musicians.

 
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Current Projects

In an ongoing project to support high school saxophonists, Novus New Music, Inc., launched Novus Spark, a community outreach program in Flint, Michigan. This program, initiated in 2017, provides saxophones and private lessons for disadvantaged public school students in Flint. The students participating in the program not only receive private saxophone lessons, but also have the opportunity to keep their instrument after completing a year of lessons. This program also offers benefits for others involved in the project including tax-deductible donations of saxophones and teaching opportunities for instructors.

Novus Spark wishes to thank: Saxophonists for the generous instrument donations; Meridian Winds of Okemos, Michigan for providing refurbishment of the instruments; Professor Joe Lulloff for donating reeds, neck straps and other necessary supplies; and the Rislov Foundation of Ann Arbor, Michigan and University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theater and Dance’s EXCEL Enterprise program for providing funds to help in the implementation of Novus Spark.

 

Works commissioned by Novus New Music, Inc.,
and Connor James Mikula:

  • Sonata, for saxophone and piano (2018), by Will Healy
    • World premiere - 2018, Carnegie Hall
    • European premiere – 2018, World Saxophone Congress, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Anaphora (2017), by Dr. David Biedenbender
    • For saxophone quartet
    • World premiere – 2017 by Capitol Quartet and h2 quartet
  • Down From the Halo (2017), by John Secunde
    • For saxophone and band
    • World Premiere – May 8, 2017, Holland, Michigan, Tulip Time Festival
  • SereNOT (2016), by Joe Krycia
    • For soprano saxophone and percussion
    • World Premiere – April 16, 2016, University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Speaking (2016), by Will Healy
    • For soprano saxophone and piano
    • World Premiere – April 16, 2016, University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Based on Magic Subcultures (2013, revised 2015), by Chris Newman
    • For alto saxophone
    • European Premiere - June 2015, Cortona, Italy
  • Walking on the Ceiling (2014), by Dr. David Biedenbender (Assistant Professor, Michigan State University)
    • For soprano saxophone and piano
    • World Premiere – July 10, 2015, World Saxophone Congress, Strasbourg, France
  • Concerto for Soprano Saxophone with Orchestra (2013), by Joe Krycia
    • World Premiere – 2014, Michigan State University, College of Music, East Lansing, MI
 

Additional Novus New Music projects:
  • In 2018, Will Healy was commissioned by Novus to compose his sonata for saxophone and piano. This piece was premiered at Carnegie Hall in April of 2018 and had its European premiere in July of 2018 at the World Saxophone Congress in Zagreb, Croatia..
  • In 2017, Novus New Music, in conjunction with Blue Griffin Recording, released a CD, featuring Connor performing works from composers who have collaborated with Novus over the last year.
  • In 2017, Dr. David Biedenbender, whose music has been described as “simply beautiful” [twincities.com] and “brilliantly crafted” [Times Argus] was commissioned to compose a new work for saxophone quartet, premiered by Capitol Quartet and h2 quartet.
  • In the fall of 2016, Novus New Music sponsored an informational video, hosted by Lisa Keeney of the University of Michigan Gershwin Initiative, featuring University of Michigan Associate Professor of Saxophone, Dr. Timothy McAllister who discusses the use of saxophone in the orchestral works of George Gershwin.
  • In 2016, Novus New Music concluded its successful inaugural composition competition which received submissions from over 60 talented composers from 13 countries and 17 states. The winner of this competition, John Secunde, of State University of New York at Fredonia, was awarded a prize of $1250 and subsequently commissioned to compose a new saxophone concerto for solo saxophonist and high school band. This piece, Down from the Halo, featured Connor accompanied by the West Ottawa High School Band, a Grammy Signature School program, directed by Mr. Michael Hamann. Mr. Secunde introduced his piece at its world premiere on May 8, 2017 in Holland, Michigan. This concert was an event during the Tulip Time Festival, one of the Midwest’s largest festivals, attracting over 500,000 visitors a year.