Gerard McChrystal comes from Derry, N.Ireland. He took up the saxophone as a second study for his RNCM audition in 1982. By 1987 he had made his concerto debut with the RTE Concert Orchestra playing the Dubois concerto live on TV in the final of RTE Musiciaan of the Future. His UK debut was with the Philharmonia in 1989 premiering Out of the Cool by Dave Heath.
He studied at the RNCM, The Guildhall School, London and Northwestern University, Chicago followed. He has worked with Philip Glass, The Smith Quartet, guitarist Craig Ogden, percussionists Ensemble Bash, The Soweto String Quartet, tenorist Tommy Smith, Uilleann piper Liam o Flynn and vocal group Anuna.
Gerard has performed in 35 countries including USA, China, South Africa, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Korea, Sweden and all over Europe including Italy, France, Spain and Slovenia. He has recorded albums with BBC NOW, Ulster Orchestra, London Musici, guitarist Craig Ogden, The Smith Quartet, Yan Pascal Tortelier and record labels include Chandos, Signum Records and Silva Screen. He has developed a repertoire of accessible new works, often with a celtic influence some of which have been published in his saxophone series by Camden Music, London and Reed Music, Australia.
Orchestras Gerard has worked with include The Philharmonia, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, National Symphony of Ireland, Stuttgart Staatsorchester and the Orchestra of San Francisco Ballet. Venues include San Francisco Opera House, Baku Opera House, Royal Abert Hall, St David’s Hall, Cardiff, National Concert Hall, Dublin and a longhut in Sarawak, Borneo. His album Aria was named as one of the best classical CDs of 2011 by Classic FM and was chosen as one of David Mellor’s Connoiseur’s Choice. It was also RTE Lyric FM’s Album of the week in November 2011.
Gerard was an ambassador for Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013. His new solo programme InterFuse for saxophone and electronics has won two awards from the Arts Council. In 2014 Gerard premiered a new work for sax and loop station in Ireland. The new work, Mid-term Break was commissioned from Gerard in memory of the poet Seamus Heaney. He has been invited to be on the jury of jury of many international competitions including The Royal Overseas League Competition, London and The 5th Adolphe Sax International Saxophone Competition, which was held in Dinant in 2010. In 2015-16 season he will perform in Milan, Paris, Vienna, Lisbon and London.