Jonathan Helton is Professor of Saxophone at the School of Music of the University of Florida. As a concert saxophonist he has been heard in performance throughout the United States, Canada, in Europe and the Far East, appearing with orchestras and wind ensembles, in recital, and in numerous chamber concerts. He has performed in Chicago, Montreal, Paris, Bordeaux, Marseille, London, Bogota, Mendoza, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Brasilia, Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Tokyo, Singapore, Bangkok, Taipei, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Miami, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and New York City's Lincoln Center. His performance credits include concerto appearances with the New Philharmonia of Riverside in New York City, Winston-Salem (NC) Symphony, the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Iowa Center for New Music Ensemble, the United States Navy Band, and the Twelfth and Fifteenth World Saxophone Congress Wind Orchestras.

In recent years, Helton has been selected to present concertos and featured lectures at many of the most prestigious international conferences and festivals. He has performed concertos at the World Saxophone Congresses in Bangkok and Montreal, the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) conference in Singapore, the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conferences in Iowa City and Athens, and at the 33rd US Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium in Washington, DC. He appeared as a featured lecturer/clinician at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago and for the National Conference of the College Music Society in Miami.

Dr. Helton has performed at the New Music Chicago Spring Festival and has been a resident artist at the Music for the Inner City festival in Washington, DC. He has appeared in concerts sponsored by the Chicago Composers' Consortium, the University of Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players, the Wisconsin Alliance of Composers, and the Society of Composers Incorporated. In addition, his performances have been heard on North Carolina Public Radio, on WFMT in Chicago, in Israel, and in national syndication. He is featured in solo and chamber music performances on compact discs from Centaur, Navona, Elf, Innova, and Mark Records. His recording of the Dahl Concerto was a "Top 100" Grammy-nominated album.

His orchestral experience includes performances with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Grant Park Symphony, the Lake Forest Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, the Savannah Symphony Orchestra, the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, the Winston-Salem Symphony, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.

Helton is a past President of the North American Saxophone Alliance. He served on the Editorial Board for The Saxophone Symposium for over 20 years. He has served as Membership Director, Director of Scholarly Publications, and Listserv Manager for the North American Saxophone Alliance and as Illinois State Chair for the Music Teachers' National Association Collegiate Artists Performance Competitions and the MTNA Collegiate Chamber Music Performance Competition. He has also served as a member of the Governing Board of the Illinois State Music Teachers' Association. His analytical articles and music and book reviews have appeared in The Saxophone Symposium, Saxophone Journal, and the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors Journal.

Dr. Helton received his Bachelor of Music degree from the North Carolina School of the Arts and earned the Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees from Northwestern University. Helton's principal teachers included Frederick Hemke and James Houlik. As a two-time recipient of the Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship, he spent two years in France where he studied with Daniel Deffayet, professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, and with Jean-Marie Londeix, professor at the Conservatoire National de Région de Bordeaux.

He developed and presented over 300 performances, demonstrations, master classes and lectures to diverse audiences during a two-year residency with the North Carolina Arts Council's Visiting Artist Program. From 1992 to 1999, he served on the faculty at Northwestern University teaching saxophone and chamber music, and held an administrative appointment as Coordinator of the Wind and Percussion Program. Dr. Helton joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 1999.
Dr. Helton is an Artist/Clinician for Conn-Selmer, Inc. and for Henri Selmer, Paris, France.


Steven Thomas was appointed to the University of Florida's School of Music in 2007, following a 13-year tenure at the Hartt School, where he had chaired both the String and Chamber Music departments.

Dr. Thomas brings to the University of Florida an unusually vast wealth of performing experience, having appeared as soloist and recitalist, orchestral and chamber musician and conductor on four continents. His repertoire includes classical and non-classical music from Baroque to newly-commissioned works, as well as Broadway shows and popular music. Whether playing a Bach suite, conducting a Beethoven symphony, or narrating his own version of Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale, his performances are consistently described as having "...everything to do with art." (The Birmingham News)

A top prize-winner in the Villa-Lobos (Rio) and Bach (Washington) International Cello Competitions, as well as the Hudson Valley and Charleston Competitions, Dr. Thomas has appeared as soloist with orchestras in North and South America and throughout Europe. As a member of the Cantilena Piano Quartet, he toured and performed in most of the major concert halls of Europe and the U.S. He has performed as recitalist and chamber musician at festivals such as Windsor (England), Gstaad (Switzerland), the Israel Festival (Jerusalem), Prague, Tivoli (Denmark), Itu and Fortaleza (Brazil). As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with such renowned artists as Yehudi Menuhin, Erick Friedman, Donald MacInnes, Jesse Levine, Joseph Robinson, David Shifrin, Peter Frankl, Boris Berman and the Miami String Quartet.

Steven Thomas has served as the Principal Cellist of several symphony and chamber orchestras, including the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra New England, and has given over 1,500 concerts in that role in the last 25 years. He is also the Music Director and conductor of the Saybrook Orchestra at Yale University.

Having received his early training at the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School in England, Dr. Thomas was a student of Maurice Gendron and William Pleeth. He holds degrees from Cambridge and Yale Universities, including a Doctorate from the latter, where he studied with Aldo Parisot. He also earned a Performer's Diploma from the Royal College of Music (London) at the age of 17.

As a result of his extensive solo, chamber music and orchestral background, Steven Thomas is widely regarded as one of the foremost teacher-pedagogues and chamber music coaches of his generation, and is regularly sought-after for classes in orchestral audition preparation. He has also enjoyed a long relationship with underpriviledged students in many parts of Brazil.

He has recorded for the MVL, Point, Delos, Koch International and MMO labels.

"Steven Thomas' [...] command of the score was admirable in every way [...] painting sound-pictures in delicious detail..." (New Haven Advocate)
"...sensational..." (Jornal do Brasil)


Download a pdf document with short and long biographies: Helton-Thomas Bios