An active soloist and chamber musician, Sumner has performed concerts for audiences in North America, Europe, and Africa. He plays regularly with Unmarked Turns, a piano and saxophone duo dedicated to interdisciplinary performances using art, music, and text to create unique and exciting programs. He is also active with Dr. Ax – a drum/saxophone duo combining rock, jazz, free-improvisation, and classical music to deliver contemporary music to new audiences.
As a frequent collaborator with composers, Sumner has helped bring many new works for saxophone and saxophone quartet to life. Recently, he participated in the Global Premiere Consortium resulting in Baljinder Sekhon’s Sonata of Puzzles of which he gave the Wisconsin premiere in February. He has also worked closely with award winning French composer Christian Lauba resulting in the concert etude entitled “Bebop” which is dedicated to Sumner and was premiered at the Christian Lauba conference in Houston, TX. In addition to solo repertoire, Sumner along with the Lux Quartet has commissioned and premiered several works by young composers.
He has served as the woodwind director for the New Horizons band in Appleton, WI, program advisor at the New York Jazz Academy, and has taught privately for the Lawrence Academy of Music, and maintains a private studio teaching saxophone, flute, and clarinet students. In addition to his teaching, Sumner has programmed several educational concerts and regularly provides pre and post-concert discussions with audiences.
Sumner enjoys playing a wide variety of music and has performed and recorded with a range of classical, jazz, and rock ensembles including the Lux and East End saxophone quartets, Dr. Ax, Eastman Saxophone Project, Unmarked Turns, Love Constellation and the Stars, The Barehand Jug Band, and Fatbook. As a winner of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Neale-Silva Young Artist competition, Sumner has had the opportunity to perform live on WPR. He has also been a winner of the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, and the Downbeat student music awards.
Sumner currently teaches saxophone at Lawrence University where he serves on the performance faculty teaching applied saxophone, chamber music, and saxophone techniques. He holds degrees in performance and education from Lawrence University and the Eastman School of Music, as well as a certificate in Arts Leadership from Eastman.