Carnegie Mellon University

School of Music

Where artistry and innovation share center stage

James Houlik

James Houlik

Artist Lecturer in Saxophone

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Saxophonist James Houlik has earned international acclaim as a remarkable performer and as an uncommonly gifted teacher.  He has played a major role in the development of his instrument, particularly in the cultivation of a robust repertoire: more than 100 new works have been composed for and dedicated to him by prominent composers of our time. He has built a reputation for compelling performances combining engaging repertoire, virtuosity, and powerfully expressive playing. 

"A performance that might exhaust one's supply of superlatives."
-The Washington Post 

Houlik's numerous recorded performances have defined the role of his instrument in the concert setting. He has performed and taught in China, Brazil, Canada, Taiwan, The Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, Germany, Hungary, and Great Britain. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, with noteworthy performances in Warsaw, Berlin, Amsterdam, Phoenix, and including those with the London Symphony Orchestra, The American Symphony at Lincoln Center, The Istanbul Philharmonic, Grant Park Symphony (Chicago), The Czech Radio Orchestra, and the North Carolina Symphony at Carnegie Hall in New York.

A distinguished and dynamic teacher with unique insights and approaches to the saxophone, Houlik's students enjoy professional success in every facet of music performance and teaching. In addition to the frequent master classes he teaches here and abroad, each summer a large class of saxophonists gathers in the mountains of North Carolina for the James Houlik Saxophone Retreat, a showcase for his singular approach to saxophone pedagogy and artistry. 

With frequent international appearances as performer and master teacher, Houlik has identified himself as, "as good a classical saxophonist as one is likely to encounter" (American Record Guide).