Gerard McChrystal comes from Derry, N.Ireland. He took up the saxophone as a second study for his RNCM audition in 1982. By 1987 he had made his concerto debut with the RTE Concert Orchestra playing the Dubois Concerto live on TV. His UK debut was with the Philharmonia in 1989 premiering Out of the Cool by Dave Heath.
He studied at the RNCM, Manchester and was the first student to graduate with three awards including a distinction in his PPRNCM. Further studies at The Guildhall School, London and with Frederick Hemke Northwestern University, Chicago followed.
Competition success includes The Royal Overseas League, RTE Musician of the Future, The Lombard and Ulster Music Foundation, Countess of Munster, The Sir James Caird Award, NFMS Award, BBC Opportunity Knocks! and The Park Lane Group. His Wigmore Hall debut came as a result of winning the intercolleagiate Ivan Sutton Recording Award.
Gerard has performed in 35 countries including USA, South Africa, Indonesia, China, Azerbaijan, Korea and Germany. He has recorded albums with BBC NOW, Ulster Orchestra, London Musici, guitarist Craig Ogden, The Smith Quartet, Yan Pascal Tortelier and record labels include Chandos, Signum Records and Silva Screen.
He has developed a repertoire of accessible new works, often with a celtic influence some of which have been published in his saxophone series by Reed Music, Australia and Camden Music, London.
Orchestras Gerard has worked with include Philharmonia, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, National Symphony of Ireland, Stuttgart Staatsorchester and the Orchestra of San Francisco Ballet. Venues include San Francisco Opera House, Baku Opera House, Royal Abert Hall, St David’s Hall, Cardiff, National Concert Hall, Dublin and a longhut in Sarawak, Borneo.
He has worked with Philip Glass, The Smith Quartet, guitarist Craig Ogden, percussionists Ensemble Bash, The Soweto String Quartet, tenorist Tommy Smith and vocal groups Anuna and Codetta. In 2010 he was invited to be an adjudicator at the Royal Overseas League Competition, London and the 5th Adolphe Sax International Saxophone Competition in Dinant, Belgium. In 2011 Gerard was Artistic director of the British Saxophone Congress in London, February and his new saxophone series was launched by Reed Music.
His new programme Stand Up has won two awards from the Arts Council. Gerard is Professor of Saxophone at Trinity Laban, London. He is an ambassador for Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013. His album Aria was released by First Hand Records in October 2011.
Such was the popularity of Saturday's Festival Coffee Concert that the event was forced to move to the Elmwood Hall in order to accommodate a larger audience than expected... Mid-morning magic.
Belfast Telegraph, Nov. 2006. Belfast Festival, Belfast.