Christopher Bartz

Adjunct Assistant Professor

  • Program:
    Winds and Percussion
  • Division:
    Classical Performance and Composition
  • Instrument:


Los Angeles-based saxophonist Christopher Bartz is emerging as a one of the premier performing artists and pedagogues of his generation. Praised for his “incredible virtuosic skill,” Bartz is quickly establishing himself as “one of the most incredible saxophonists performing in the United States today” (Maestro Steven Kerstein). Widely regarded as an “extraordinarily talented young musician” (Sierra Madre Weekly), his “rich, varied tones” (Webster-Kirkwood Times), “hauntingly plangent” (All is Yar) and “magnificently blended orchestral sound” (Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association), along with his ability to connect with audiences keep him in high demand as a performing artist.

A concert saxophonist, jazz musician, composer and music educator, Bartz attracts attention and praise across the United States. He has received numerous performance awards in competition, garnering him regional and national acclaim as a soloist and chamber musician. As a native of St. Louis, Missouri, Bartz made his orchestral debut at age eighteen with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO). Since his professional debut, he has performed with orchestras across the United States, which most recently include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra, Colburn Orchestra, Debut Orchestra, and the Downey Symphony Orchestra. He has also been featured as a concerto soloist with the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra, Downey Symphony Orchestra, California State University, Fullerton Wind Symphony, USC Thornton Symphony, USC Wind Ensemble, University of Michigan Symphony Band and Bowling Green State University Philharmonia. His orchestral and wind ensemble playing can be seen on broadcasts of KCET, KUSC and is recorded on Equilibrium.

Active regionally and nationally as a performer and educator, Bartz embraces a diverse spectrum of music. He maintains an extensive repertoire and versatility that reaches across categorical lines through his performances at some of the premiere venues in the United States. As a highly desired performer of new music, he has premiered numerous works for saxophone, most notably those in the Los Angeles area. Bartz is a strong proponent of new music and is actively dedicated to the growing repertoire, development and promotion of the saxophone through collaboration with composers, performers and educators in addition to regularly premiering new works. He has also immersed himself in the jazz idiom and has studied with Bob Mintzer at USC Thornton, Gunnar Mossblad at Bowling Green State University, and Paul DeMarinis of Webster University. As a jazz saxophonist, he has shared the stage with Dick Oatts, Bill Cunliffe, Debby Boone, John McDaniel, Bill Carrothers, Michael Feinstein, Anita Hall, and Steve Lippia to name a few.

Bartz earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Saxophone Performance from the USC Thornton School of Music and was honored with Thornton’s prestigious Outstanding Graduate award of 2013. There, he studied classical saxophone with renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic saxophonist Jim Rötter. Bartz also holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan in Saxophone Performance, where he studied with Arthur F. Thurnau and Earl V. Moore Professor of Saxophone Donald Sinta. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Saxophone Performance as a student of Distinguished Artist Professor Dr. John Sampen. He also received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from BGSU as a double degree major. Additionally, Bartz has studied saxophone extensively with Leo Saguiguit at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Jeffrey Collins of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Bartz recently joined the USC Thornton faculty, where he serves as the adjunct assistant professor of saxophone.