Saxophonist, Arranger and Educator Jay Byrnes, is one of the most exciting personalities in the Australian music scene.

Equally at home in the performance of transcriptions, standards and new works for saxophone, Jay has become renowned for his interpretations of music from Bach to Piazzolla and beyond. Jay is acclaimed for his dynamic stage presence and rigorous attention to stylistic performance and has become a leader in the interpretation of Latin American music for the saxophone. Jay has performed throughout Europe, South America and Australasia as both a soloist and chamber musician and has developed a reputation for being a versatile and charismatic performer.

Jay is a founding member and Baritone Saxophonist of the Nexas Quartet with whom he has performed in many of Australia’s greatest concert halls and festivals including the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Recital Centre and City Recital Hall, Sydney.  Jay has also performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Simon Bolivar Orchestra, Venezuela. 

As an educator, Jay has held teaching positions in the United Kingdom, Venezuela and Australia. He has given masterclasses at the Conservatorio Superior de Musica Astor Piazzolla - Argentina, the Queensland Conservatorium - Australia; and was guest tutor for 2 years at the Conservatorio de Musica Simon Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela. Jay has been an invited teacher for the Baritone Institutes of Alcase, France (2015) and Andorra (2017). 

Jay currently teaches Saxophone and Music Fundamentals at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Saxophone at Sydney Grammar School, as well as directing the Saxophone Academy Sydney.

Jay is a founder and board member of the recently launched Orange Chamber Music Festival and currently divides his time between Sydney and Orange in regional NSW.

Jay is featured on 5 CDs including his debut album ‘El Asunto del Tango’ (2015), ‘South-duos for saxophones’ with Niels Bijl (2017) and 3 Nexas albums, ‘Current’ (2016), ‘Ballads of the Pleasant Life’ (2018) and ‘Tango de Saxos’ (2021).

Jay is a passionate arranger having created over 50 works for saxophone in many different settings. His arrangements have been performed by ensembles such as The Nexas Quartet (AUS), Orquestra Portuguesa de Saxofones (POR), The Four Baritones (NL) and the Sydney Saxophone Collective (AUS), as well as many well known domestic and international artists.

Jay is an endorsed artist for D'Addario. He has also been a Yanagisawa Saxophones Domestic Artist in Australia since 2008 and an official Yanagisawa International Artist since 2015.


Soprano Saxophone

Instrument: S6 Yanagisawa 1976
Mouthpiece: Vandoren SP3
Reeds: D'addario Reserve 3.5


Alto Saxophone

Instrument: A6 Yanagisawa 1978
Neck: Bronze gold-plate from A992 
Mouthpiece: Vandoren AP3
Reeds: D'addario Reserve 3+


Tenor Saxophone

Instrument: T900 Yanagisawa 1989
Neck: Bronze gold-plate from T992
Mouthpiece: Vandoren T20
Reeds: D'addario Reserve 3+


Baritone Saxophone

Instrument: BW010S Yanagisawa 2021
Neck: Solid silver pink gold-plate 
Mouthpiece: Selmer S80 C**
Reeds: D'addario Reserve 3+