Award winning baritone saxophonist and woodwind specialist Adrian Barnett has performed all across the nation at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Lollapalooza.  He has been a featured soloist with symphony orchestras, jazz big bands, concert wind ensembles, and internationally touring rock groups. Adrian also leads his own group (The Questet) comprised of a rotating cast of musicians throughout the nation.

Adrian earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Music Education, a Bachelor of Music (B.M.) in Music Performance, Master of Music (M.M.) in Saxophone/Woodwind Performance from Minnesota State University, Mankato. After receiving his M.M., he returned to Minnesota State University, Mankato as part of the music faculty acting as Interim Director of Jazz Studies. Adrian then moved to Illinois to study with Chip McNeill and Glenn Wilson while completing a Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) in Jazz Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2011 Adrian won a Downbeat Award in the Jazz Soloist category for his featured performance on the University of Illinois Concert Jazz Band’s album “Freeplay.”

Adrian has shared the stage with Alma Afrobeat Ensemble (Barcelona, Spain), Bette Smith, Dave Barnes, Wayne Bergeron, Jeff Coffin, Denis DiBlasio, Dynamo, Everyone Orchestra, Pete Christlieb, Escort, Tom Garling, Kirk Garrison, Nachito Herrera, The Hornheads, The Jack Brass Band, JazzMN, Kevin Mahogany, Andy Martin, Chip McNeill, Nashville Composer Collective, Jim Snidero, Spoon, Sun Stereo, The Tempations, Fred Wesley, Glenn Wilson, Jim Widner, Roy “Futureman” Wooten, and many more.

Active not only as a performer, Adrian continues to be involved with music education. He has taught at every level, from beginning band students to advanced music majors. His students have gone on to participate in All-State Jazz and Concert Band ensembles, pursue music majors at universities, have successful careers as music educators, and perform professionally. His work in the music education field has also included directing small and large ensembles, composing music for a wide variety of groups and ensembles, adjudicating festivals, acting as assistant director and head percussion instructor for marching band organizations, and working with music programs throughout the nation as a guest artist and clinician. Alongside a steady performing and clinic schedule Adrian teaches saxophone and arranging at Tennessee State University, applied woodwind lessons at Nashville State Community College, and maintains a private woodwind lesson studio.

Adrian is a Yamaha Performing Artist, Vandoren Regional Artist, and Hercules Stands Artist.

Clinics and Guest Artist Info

"What a great performance!  What a fine performer!  Further, he is an educator who connects on and off the stage with kids and adults in a very real way...he made an effort to really connect with my students after the performance. They were tickled to visit with Adrian and he dealt handily with the throng of new jazz fans that rushed him after the concert.  He has a great "bedside manor" with both kids and adults and exudes a love of Jazz and live music performance. I watched Adrian reach the audience with his performance energy and his natural charisma. He's literally a "Pied Piper" creating new fans of Jazz wherever he performs."

- Dave S., Band Director, St. James, MN

​"I truly believe Adrian's visit to the Mt. Juliet MS band room was educational, inspirational, and just flat out cool for my band kids!"

- Monica L., Band Director, Mt. Juliet, TN

"Adrian is a master teacher, performer, clinician, and presenter. His clinics are not only fun and engaging, they are also very inspiring and motivational. He is able to reach all levels of ability and attitude and students leave his clinics knowing more not only about music, but about themselves. Additionally, Adrian is a complete professional, and always presents valuable information not just about woodwinds, but about concepts and processes. He is an extremely versatile musician that has the ability to reach all students of all instruments, not just of the woodwind family.” - Frank Z., Antioch HS

“I loved Adrian's presentation. As an educator of over 35 years, I have seen many clinics and presentations and Adrian’s was one of the best. His relatability to the students, his positive attitude, and access to many outlets in music was even inspiring to me.” - Greg S., Antioch HS

​From the Students:

“Dr. Adrian is very inspiring! He makes me want to practice more than ever before after hearing him speak about his life in music.” - Destinee, 10th Grade

“Dr. Barnett is very charismatic and easy to talk to. His relatability as both a musician and educator allows for him to have a very ‘easy to talk to' attitude and I felt that I was very comfortable asking him about his career and how he got to this point. I definitely see Dr. Barnett as a role-model to students like myself that have attainable goals, we just need motivators like Dr. Barnett in our lives.” - Maria, 12th Grade

Adrian is available for clinics and guest artist appearances.  If you would like to bring Adrian to your school please send an email to