The Red Clay Saxophone Quartet was formed in 2003 when the fates conspired to bring four internationally recognized saxophonists (Susan Fancher, Robert Faub, Steven Stusek and Mark Engebretson) together in Greensboro, North Carolina. In January 2022, Laurent Estoppey joined the quartet on alto saxophone. The RCSQ takes its name from the area's luscious red soil.
Susan Fancher is an internationally recognized classical saxophonist known for her expressive tone and poetic musical interpretations. She has inspired and premiered over 100 new compositions and continues to collaborate with composers both young and more established to create new, vibrant repertoire for the saxophone. Audiences and critics praise her ability to fill even the most complex notation with life, a trademark of her work as a champion of new music. Born and raised in Albion, New York, Susan Fancher earned undergraduate degrees in both saxophone performance and mathematics, as well as her Doctor of Music, from Northwestern University, where she was a student of Dr. Frederick Hemke. She was awarded the Médaille d'Or (Gold Medal) from the conservatory in Bordeaux, France, where she studied with Monsieur Jean-Marie Londeix. Susan Fancher teaches saxophone and coaches chamber music at Duke University, and is an artist clinician for the Vandoren/DANSR and Selmer companies.
After studying saxophone at the Conservatory of Lausanne, Switzerland, where he received a concert license (master of arts soloist) in 1994, Swiss saxophonist Laurent Estoppey, relocated to Greensboro, NC in 2010, devoting himself mostly to contemporary music, but performing and teaching classic saxophone repertoire and transcriptions of baroque music. Numerous collaborations with composers have led him to premiere at least two hundred works. Now his musical activity is divided between written music and improvisation, and it occurs throughout Switzerland, many European countries, but also in Canada, USA, Argentina, Guatemala, and South Africa. He works with the following orchestras: Orchestre de la Suisse Romande Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Basel Symphony, UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra, Timisoara, Orchestra of the State of Lithuania, Lausanne Sinfonietta, NEC - Chaux-de- Fonds-Contrechamps Geneva, and Staatskapelle Weimar.
Artist-professor of music at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Steven Stusek has built an international reputation with regular concerts and master classes throughout France, Holland, Germany, Canada, China, and the US. He regularly performs with the renowned Red Clay Saxophone Quartet, the Eastwind Ensemble (a reed quintet consisting of saxophone, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet and bassoon) and as an orchestral soloist. In addition to being a clinician for Dansr/Vandoren and Yamaha he is Past-President of the North American Saxophone Alliance.
Mark Engebretson is Professor of Composition and Electronic Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. As a saxophonist, he was a member of the Vienna Saxophone Quartet in the 1990’s, and has been a member of the Red Clay Quartet since 2003. He is baritone saxophonist, computer wizard, and keyboardist with the anti-meta band, The Difficulties. At UNCG, he recently spearheaded a push to establish an undergraduate degree in Popular Music and Technology. He studied saxophone at the University of Minnesota with Ruben Haugn, the Conservatoire de Bordeaux with Jean-Marie Londeix, and Northwestern University, with Frederick L. Hemke.