Published: April 25, 2024 By

Louis SaxtonLouis Saxton (BM, cello performance) attributes his decision to attend the CU Boulder College of Music to his first interaction with Associate Professor of Cello David Requiro.

Saxton was still testing the waters at different schools, evaluating where to expand and refine his role as a cellist—a status that began with music lessons at age 4 in his small northern Minnesota hometown. At his first trial lesson with Requiro, the prospective student and the professor made an instant connection. “I knew within minutes of meeting him that I had to go to this school,” Saxton recalls, citing the positive feedback, easy rapport and immediate sense of inspiration he experienced in that initial meeting.

Saxton’s commitment to our college is also rooted in more intangible factors that stood out during his visits to the only non-conservatory option he considered in deciding where to pursue his passions. His choice boiled down to the mood, the culture and the welcome he received immediately before meeting Requiro as he was sitting with his father outside the professor’s door, awaiting that first trial lesson.

“It was pretty evident that I was a high schooler with my dad and several people asked me if I needed help,” Saxton remembers. “I felt a sense of welcome, along with a sense of dedication.”

Over the next four years, the support and discipline of our college community would serve him well. 

It was hardly a typical four years for Saxton as an undergraduate: His freshman year was 2020, coinciding with the most intense stretches of pandemic lockdowns. And in 2021, Saxton was on site when shots broke out at the Table Mesa King Soopers; he fled from the tragic violence, only to return the next day to play Bach’s Cello Suite 1 in G Major to offer a degree of healing.

Through all of the challenges, Saxton relied on the spirit of solidarity, strength and kindness that he first experienced here—to great success. Earlier this year, he won the college’s Concerto Competition; in March, he was announced the recipient of the 2024 Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award; and soon thereafter, by faculty vote, he was named the College of Music’s Spring 2024 Outstanding Graduating Senior.

According to Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Enrollment Management Matthew Roeder, “Students are eligible for this College of Music acknowledgment by demonstrating a strong record of scholarship, musicianship, and an emerging record of service and leadership. 

“Obviously, Louis has made a strong impression on our faculty who hold a high opinion of his work in the College of Music.”

For Saxton, however, the rewards of his time at CU Boulder run deeper than accolades. His studies during the worst stretches of the COVID pandemic, for example, offered some unlikely chances to connect with his driving mission as a musician and as an artist. Following the quarantines, his first performance in front of a live audience was a highlight of his undergraduate career.

“It wasn’t even a full house,” he recalls. “That small audience was screaming and shouting and clapping so enthusiastically. It felt like, ‘This is why we do music.’ 

“Everyone was so excited. And we were so excited to be able to perform. That’s what we’re going to school for. That’s what we’re here to do.”

No doubt, Saxton will bring that same sense of purpose and clarity to the next phases of his musical journey—as a teacher, performer and universal musician.

Congratulations to Louis and all our fantastic graduates in the Class of 2024!