Tom Bergeron

Saxophonist | Band Leader | Recording Artist | Record Producer | Professor of Music Emeritus

Tom Bergeron has performed throughout the United States, and in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, France, Germany, and Poland.

Since 2000 Tom has been deeply involved in studying, playing, and teaching Brazilian music — returning regularly to Brazil to further explore choro, samba, bossa nova, frevo, and Brazilian jazz. This passion led to the formation in 2012 of Vianna Bergeron Brazilian Jazz, based in the Pacific Northwest, which he co-leads with Brazilian pianist Cassio Vianna.

Another long-standing passion of Tom’s is free improvisation. In 1997, he was invited to join the band Labirynt, based in Katowice, Poland — a band dedicated to open-form and loosely-structured improvisation.

Tom draws musical inspiration from the jazz heritage and other music traditions from around the world. In the 1980s, he studied with the late Zimbabwean master-percussionist Dumisani Maraire, and was a founding member of the Eugene, Oregon-based African marimba group Shumba. He has premiered dozens of new concert works for the saxophone, and is the author of a comprehensive book on saxophone multiphonics, the esoteric technique of producing several notes at once on the saxophone.

During his varied career as a performer, Tom has performed with renown artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Lynn Anderson, Hal Blaine, Anthony Braxton, Marvio Ciribelli, Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole, Robert Cray, Myron Florin, Vinnie Golia, Dick Hyman, Oliver Lake, Graham Lear, Joe Lovano, Glen Moore, Bernadette Peters, Luis Resto, Curtis Salgado, Bobby Shew, Sunny Turner, Gust Tsilis, Mason Williams, The Fifth Dimension, The Temptations, Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians, and Marin Alsop's String Fever.

Tom began his musical journey as a multi-instrumentalist in Manchester, New Hampshire, studying piano and music theory with Roland Belisle, who learned stride piano from Fats Waller. His first professional experiences date to 1968, when at age 16 he joined the New Hampshire Philharmonic as a bassoonist, and formed his first band — The Tom Bergeron Dance Band — which played music of the Great American Songbook and The Beatles for wedding receptions, anniversary parties, and corporate events throughout New Hampshire. In 1974, he co-founded the jazz collective Antares — which in the mid-1970s was a fixture on the New England jazz club and steak house circuit, and later on the college circuit in the Mid-West.

Since that time, Bergeron has performed and/or recorded as a leader or sideman with many bands and ensembles, including The American Metropole Orchestra, Cathexis Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Cascade Festival of Music, Eugene Symphony, Grande Ronde Symphony, Hagberg/Bergeron Quartet, Kansas City Symphony, Midnight Serenaders, Newport Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival, Oregon Coast Music Festival, Oregon Festival of American Music, Pittsburg New Music Ensemble, Portland Center Stage, Portland Chamber Orchestra, Sacramento Symphony, Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Tom Bergeron Brasil Band, Tone Sharks, Western Rebellion, Whirled Jazz, and Whirled News.

Tom’s academic credentials begin with BA and BM degrees in music theory and saxophone under the tutelage of David Seiler, followed by a Master of Music degree in woodwinds with the legendary concert saxophonist Donald Sinta – who had served as a mentor and role model since Tom’s high school years. Upon moving to Oregon in 1981, Tom earned a doctorate in saxophone with another mentor and good friend, J. Robert Moore, who was a student of Marcel Mule, the French Godfather of the saxophone.

In the early 1970s, Tom studied improvisation with the composer Julius Eastman and the choreographer Merce Cunningham. His undergraduate recital was entirely improvised.

For 28 years, Tom was Professor of Music at Western Oregon University, where he taught woodwinds, music theory, ethnomusicology, music business, songwriting, jazz, and Brazilian music — and served as both Department Head and Chair of the Creative Arts Division. He had previously taught at Eastern Oregon University, Lane Community College, the University of Oregon, Crescent Music Studios in Ann Arbor, and Groton School in Massachusetts.

Tom and his wife, Rosi, divide their time between Camp Sherman, Oregon, and Niterói, Brazil, across the bay from Rio de Janeiro. When not working on music projects, Tom often can be found kayaking in the lakes of the Oregon Cascades, or swimming in the sunny beaches of Brazil.