Tom Bergeron

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

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

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 of the Tom Bergeron Brasil Band in 2012, which plays regularly throughout Oregon’s Willamette Valley and beyond. He also co-leads Vianna Bergeron Brazilian Jazz, based in Seattle, Washington.

Tom also 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 he joined the New Hampshire Philharmonic as a bassoonist, and he formed his first band — The Tom Bergeron Dance Band — which played music of the Great American Songbook and The Beatles for wedding receptions and other events throughout New Hampshire. In 1974, he co-founded the jazz collective Antares — which for a bright moment in the mid 1970s was a fixture on the New England jazz club and steak house circuit.

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, Labirynt, 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, 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 and teacher Donald Sinta – who had served as a role model and mentor 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 among the last generation of students of Marcel Mule, the French Godfather of the classical saxophone. Tom has premiered dozens of new works for the saxophone and is the author of Saxophone Multiphonics: A Scalar Model.

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.

He and his wife, Rosi, spend most of the year in the mountains of Camp Sherman, Oregon, and the rest of the year at their home in Niterói, Brazil, across the bay from Rio de Janeiro. When not working on music projects, Tom can often be found kayaking or hiking in the Oregon Cascades, or walking the beaches of Rio.