VCU Music’s saxophone instructor, Al Regni, is retiring after 16 years.
Since his start at VCU in 2002, Regni has graced the Department of Music with exceptional teaching and remarkable musical skill. He taught private lessons and led saxophone ensembles, performed as a soloist with the VCU Symphonic Wind Ensemble among other ensembles, and brought stellar performances by his quartet, The American Saxophone Quartet, to VCU.
Regni’s music career has been nothing short of incredible. He began playing the clarinet at age 9 and was introduced to the saxophone at the age of 12. By the time Regni was 16 years old he had performed with with the Rochester (New York) Philharmonic Orchestra, where he worked with renowned conductors, Erich Leinsdor and José Iturbi, launching the start of his career in music. Regni graduated from the Eastman School of Music and Manhattan School of Music, where he majored in clarinet.
In 1963 Regni was asked to become principal saxophonist of the highly esteemed New York Philharmonic, where he continued to perform until 2013. During those years he also served as the principal saxophonist for the New York City Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestras. Regni has appeared as solo saxophonist with the National Symphony, American Symphony, New York Philharmonic, The American Composer’s Orchestra and The Little Orchestra of New York under a number of luminary conductors including Leonard Bernstein, John Williams, Leonard Slatkin, David Gilbert and Dennis Russell Davies.
Regni is known today as a leading saxophonist and clarinetist, prominent as a jazz, solo classical, and orchestral player, and in demand as a studio musician. His New York studio work includes hundreds of recordings on commercial, classical, pop, jazz, major motion pictures, and over 20 original Broadway cast albums in addition to numerous radio and television commercials. The TV series Twin Peaks earned him a Grammy recognition for his saxophone, clarinet, and bass clarinet contributions, and Leonard Bernstein’s TV and CD recordings of West Side Story feature Regni as principal clarinetist.
Regni’s masterful musicality and unparalleled teaching will leave a lasting impression on the students and faculty of VCU.