Albert Regni is a leading saxophonist and clarinetist, prominent as a jazz, solo classical, and orchestral player and in demand as a studio musician.
He began playing clarinet when he was nine, and from the time he first played a saxophone at the age of 12 he found he could do things he enjoyed with it that were not possible for him on clarinet. He appeared at recitals and child amateur shows, and was on the nationwide Ted Mack's Amateur Hour three or four times while a teenager.
He began to think of playing saxophone as a career when he played with the Rochester (New York) Philharmonic Orchestra at 16, allowing him to work with conductors Erich Leinsdor and José Iturbi. The latter taught him how to interpret the saxophone solo of Ravel's Bolero, which Iturbi had learned from the composer.
Regni graduated from the Eastman School of Music and Manhattan School of Music, majoring in clarinet. While singer Steve Lawrence was in the army and entertained at service clubs, he used as his accompaniment jazz octet Regni, also a soldier at the time. After the army he joined the orchestra at Radio City Music Hall and, in 1963, was asked to become principal saxophonist of the New York Philharmonic. Except for a few years around 1980 when he taught at the University of Texas in Austin, he has been a busy member of the New York City music scene.
Regni is still principal saxophonist of the New York Philharmonic, and also the New York City Ballet, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestras. This triple-dipping would be impossible for players of most instruments, but the saxophone is under-used in the classical repertoire. Still there have been occasions when only the fact that all three organizations work in New York's Lincoln Center has allowed him to cover two assignments on one night, as when he plays the offstage saxophone part with the offstage children's chorus in Puccini's Turandot in Acts I and III, and in-between played a piece with the Philharmonic that required a saxophone.
He cites one night when he played with Garrison Keillor's radio program (broadcast live from Brooklyn) from six to eight, then went to Lincoln Center to play the additional bass clarinet part in Stravinsky's Rite of Spring with the Philharmonic, and then played from 10:30 to 1:30 with a jazz group in a club.
He is one of the founding members of the American Saxophone Quartet, the sole founder remaining with the group, of which he is the leader. In that quartet he plays soprano sax. He has taught at the University of Texas, and is Professor of Saxophone at the College of New Jersey. He has appeared as saxophone soloist with the New York Philharmonic, The New York Chamber Soloists, and orchestras in Leningrad, Rotterdam, and Israel.
He was the solo clarinet player on the soundtrack of Angelo Badalamenti's score to the innovative television series Twin Peaks. The CD release of the music to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me won a Grammy Award.
He has joined Sons of Sound Recorded Music, an innovative independent label active in the New York area interested in contemporary classical music. He has appeared on the label with the American Saxophone Quartet on an album called Spanning the River, primarily including newer music including Histoire du Tango by Astor Piazzolla. Regni has also released a solo recital, El Amor, on Sons of Sound, which has also rereleased the classic jazz recording Gandy Dance by the original American Saxophone Quartet.