We have our winners!

1st Place: Alex Hahn
2nd Place: Alex Weitz
3rd Place: Artem Badenko

The semifinal and final rounds of the inaugural Michael Brecker International Saxophone Competition took place at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, Israel on August 26, 2019. The eight semifinalists: Artem Badenko, Niall Cade, Nathan Bellott, Alex Hahn, Sheridan Hitchcock, Sean Payne, Daniel Varga and Alex Weitz played in front of our semifinal round judges: Dan Gottfried, Marquis Hill, Donny McCaslin and Marcus Ratka. Three finalists were chosen to perform on the big stage at the Festival at night: Artem Badenko, Alex Hahn, Alex Weitz. In front of a huge festival audience and our final round judges, Ron Carter, Eli Degibri, Kenny Garrett and Donny McCaslin, the finalists performed exceptionally and made the decision difficult! Congratulations to our winners, and to all of the players who came to the Red Sea and participated. We are so pleased and proud of your accomplishments.

Thank you all for your support of this competition and of jazz and a heartfelt thank you to Herb Alpert for making this competition possible.

Michael Brecker

The legacy of tenor saxophonist and 15-time Grammy winner Michael Brecker is a marvel. As a result of his stylistic and harmonic innovations, Michael will forever be regarded as one of the most eminent saxophonists of this or any generation. He loved the company of musicians and especially aspiring young saxophonists. He would listen to the unsolicited tapes he received and would return with feedback and would always take time to speak to young musicians following his gigs. In his characteristically humble way, Michael had an uncanny ability to make everyone feel special. In recognition of Michael's generosity, and to assist in providing ballast to deserving careers, The Michael Brecker International Saxophone Competition (MBISC) was created.

The Competition

Prize Money

First Prize: $12,500 (USD)
Second Prize: $7,500 (USD)
Third Prize: $2,500 (USD)

Preliminary Round

There will be three rounds in the MBISC. In the preliminary round applicants must complete the following by April 30, 2019:

(a) Fill out an online application form
(b) Provide one letter of recommendation
(c) Upload a performance entry for review by a panel of judges

Semi-Final and Final Rounds

The next two rounds of the MBISC will occur at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, Israel, August 25-27, 2019. Should you be selected as one of the eight (8) semi-finalists, your airfare, hotel, and per diem will be paid by the Competition.


To assist in the launch of emerging, exceptionally talented saxophonists:

  • You are a citizen of the world and between 16-30 years of age as of July 1, 2019.
  • You have never been signed to a record deal. Any records you’ve created in which you are the leader or co-leader have been financed and distributed by you and not a commercial entity.
  • You must be willing and able to attend the semi-final and final rounds of the MBISC at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, Israel from August 25-27, 2019.

Application Fee

There is a $75.00 (USD) application fee.

Musical Submission

Your audio entry for the preliminary round shall consist of your performance of a Michael Brecker solo with a live band or a-cappella and three (3) songs to include a standard ballad, medium tempo blues and uptempo standard, performed as a quartet with a piano/guitar trio. The four (4) tracks in total must collectively last no longer than 18 minutes.

Your entry will be evaluated based on a variety of criteria that includes your technical facility, rhythmic feel, imagination and your interplay with fellow band members.

MBISC is made possible by the generous support of Herb Alpert, the City of Eilat and the Brecker Family.