When classical music gets too stiff and stuffy for its own good, someone has to knock the powdered wig brigade off its pedestal, and for more than 35 years, Steve Saugey
proudly took on that duty in Austin. He was a founding member of Esther's Follies from 1977 to 1996, mocking the masters with a satirical scalpel as sophisticated and cutting as Tom Lehrer's or Peter Schickele's, slicing his way through the classical canon, weaving sitcom tunes, pop hits, and commercial jingles through their majestic passages. Saugey played accompanist to the fractured operatics of William Dente's Dame Della Diva, made Beethoven roll over with his "Ode to Joy (Detergent)", and crammed every pop song ripped off from a Bach melody into his "Brackenridge Concerto." With his frequent partner in musical mischief, Lyova Rosanoff – also a Follies alum and an Austin Arts Hall of Fame inductee in 2003 – Saugey worked his parodic genius in independent projects such as the Austin Flops Orchestra, Beethoven's Birthday, and Forbidden Classics. Rosanoff and Saugey masterfully and riotously transmuted the lyrics for Strauss' Die Fledermaus
into a current-day Austin-centric version, The Bat
, for Austin Lyric Opera. He was capable of being serious – as evidenced by his work as musical director for Arts on Real and Penfield Theater Company, and as rehearsal accompanist for Austin Musical Theater and Ballet Austin. But Steve Saugey was always best at his worst - mockingly making fun. Note: This memorial event is free and open to all fans of Saugey's and Esther's.