This article comes from my former flute professor, Dr. Roger Martin, the Professor of Flute at Tennessee Techonological Unviersity in Cookeville, Tennessee, where I got my Bachelor’s in Flute Performance. During my last few years there, we knew he had started to develop a strange problem – his fingers wouldn’t do what he “told” them to do. We knew he was immensely frustrated with this and I am so glad he has written about his experiences. Focal Dystonia is a mysterious and much misunderstood problem and I reprint his article here with his permission.  You can find out more about the TTU Flute Studio by going to their website: ttuflutestudio.yolasite.com

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Those of you who follow this blog regularly are likely familiar with IPAP favorite Claire Chase, the ever-increasingly legendary flutist and founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). We couldn’t be more pleased about this. As you know, things usually first happen here on IPAP so, at the bottom of the article, underneath the photo, there are additional links to our past features on Claire, including an extensive interview conducted last year by Laura Lentz. Congratulations again to this amazing musician and person!

A brief bio from WQXR

Write-up and interview with the Chicago Tribune

Selections from Claire’s most recent album Terrestre (from the great New Focus label) can be streamed at her web site

The album is reviewed here

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On Friday, April 20, the Rochester Flute Association welcomed Guest Artist Rhonda Larson in an intimate solo-flute performance entitled “One Woman, a World of Music,” at the First Unitarian Church in Rochester, New York. Accompanied by her “virtual band” (a sound system that provided backing tracks during the performance), audience members enjoyed a journey based on her travels, weaving stories and inspirations from her life, combining her classical training with musical traditions and flutes from the globe over, including C and alto flutes, a crystal flute, panpipes, a Scandinavian overtone flute, bamboo flutes and penny whistle. The musical selections—many composed by Ms. Larson—varied from Armenian folk songs (“Armenian Allure”) to a boat song from Nova Scotia (“The Boatman”), to pieces inspired by walks (“The Gift”), rivers (“The Way of the River”) and the openness of America’s West (“Montana”).  They were verbally announced from the stage by Ms. Larson whose charm, sincerity and wonderful story-telling combined with her flair and virtuosity as both flutist and composer made for a truly memorable evening.

Opening the performance was “Armenian Allure,” a mid-eastern influenced piece that she played on a bansuri, a bamboo flute.  Ms. Larson followed this with a welcoming piece she wrote for C flute that depicted the big skies of the West (“Montana”) by its long traveling phrases played with a clear resonant high register.  “Sweet Simplicity” featured joyful, beautiful articulation and phrasing combined with gorgeous soft high notes.  An infectious melody which she wished to rename “Dreadful Difficulty,” it is a piece to be added to any flutist’s library.  Ms. Larson shared a Scandinavian overtone flute with us on the next piece from 13th Century Spain made of pear-wood with a haunting quality in timbre that fit perfectly within the context of the piece.

“Movin’ On”, the second piece she ever wrote, was played on C flute which featured fast leaping beautiful jumps down to her resonant low register, followed by a sad Celtic love song from Nova Scotia called “The Boatman” that was played on crystal flute. Ms. Larson finished the first half with “The Gift”, a melody that came to her following a three day walk in the New Hampshire White Mountains.

The second half of the concert opened with “Spirit Maiden,” a Native-American inspired piece she performed with three flutes which required an enormous embouchure (Ms. Larson humorously added, “It’s like going to the dentist!”).

Returning again to Nova Scotia, the next piece came to her while she was sailing in Cape Breton and featured crystal flute, penny whistle and C flute.  Ms. Larson lives part of the year one hour north of Rome, Italy, and shared with us a piece from 14th Century France she often plays for lute and recorder in a medieval festival there.  She performed it on an 1869 Meyer Flute with an ivory headjoint that had a woody, warm sound.  The second half also included “Be Still My Soul”, a piece Ms. Larson wrote a few years ago while practicing in a quintessential New England Church in Connecticut with a particularly beautiful moment when she sang and played simultaneously, and a tune from the Celtic region of Northwestern Spain which she performed with the ensemble Milladoiro. The last piece, “The Way of the River,” performed on C flute and written by Ms. Larson, was Celtic-inspired and homage to her love of rivers.

As I left the performance, I thought about Ms. Larson’s piece titled “The Gift.”  This flutist’s ability to combine incredible virtuosity with a unique voice that is only hers is truly a gift for all of us, and the Rochester Flute Association would like to extend a special thank you to Ms. Larson for such an unforgettable and inspiring evening.

Photos courtesy of Rochester Flute Association

© 2012 Laura Lentz

TEXAS TOUR OF “THE FLUTE ON ITS FEET”
March 27-30, 2012; features Zara Lawler and C. Neil Parsons


The Flute on its Feet is a virtuoso tour de force that includes classics of the flute repertoire, new works by American composers, and pieces choreographed for flutist/dancer Zara Lawler (www.zaralawler.com) by innovative choreographer C. Neil Parsons (www.cneilparsons.com). The Flute on its Feet offers audiences a new and truly unique experience within the world of classical music: instrumental performance of the highest quality fully integrated with dance, theater and storytelling. The Flute on its Feet will be in residency in Denton, TX from March 27-30, with public performances on March 29 and 30.

Zara Lawler has created a new genre of performance that defies definition, and never fails to engage and delight her audiences.  Dance and story create new entry points into the music for the uninitiated; for the experienced concertgoer, they illuminate the music in a profound and moving way.  At once groundbreaking and inviting to new audiences, Lawler offers a new performance standard for the 21st century.

SCHEDULE OF DENTON RESIDENCY:

March 27-29:  Zara Lawler and C. Neil Parsons will be guest artists at Texas Woman’s University Arts Triangle, Denton, TX, teaching workshops and leading master classes on interdisciplinary performance with drama, dance and music students, culminating in a performance they will co-create with students on March 29.

On Thursday, March 29 from 5-7pm as part of the Arts Triangle (www.twu.edu/triangle/) event, Lawler and flute students will lead the audience from station to station in processionals from Lawler’s E Pluribus Flutum. It is a walking tour, and the processionals are scheduled to lead people from the Pioneer Woman Statue (Texas Street and Oakland Avenue on the campus of TWU in Denton) to the Margo Jones Performance Hall for a final performance at approximately 6pm. The program will feature Lowell Liebermann’s 8 Pieces for flute, alto flute and piccolo, choreographed by Parsons; Fantasies (music by Telemann, choreographed by Parsons) and a mini-performance piece co-created by Lawler, Parsons and selected students (to be based on a haiku by Japanese poet and haiku master Matsuo Basho).  All performances on this day, and a reception afterwards, are free and open to the public.

On Friday, March 30, Lawler and Parsons will conduct a performance/workshop from 1-3pm at the University of North Texas, Denton, TX. The event will take place at the Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theater on the UNT campus, on Avenue C between Highland and Chestnut Streets.  This event combines performance with interactive activities designed to introduce music students to the world of interdisciplinary performance. Audience members will get an inside look at how Lawler and Parsons’ unique performance style is created.  The duo will perform the same pieces as at the Arts Triangle (minus the student-created work), as well as This Floating World, a solo for flute by American composer Edie Hill. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://cemi.music.unt.edu/places/meit

 

“…Once every generation there comes along a transformative force that breaks all the industry rules. Larson wields her instrument like a blow torch, breaking down our Victorian preconceptions of what the classical flute should be, how it should sound and where it should take us…This intensely gifted flutist needed little more than her native Montana charm to win the hearts of the packed house.” –Connecticut’s VOICES review

“One Woman, a World of Music” Recital

Friday, April 20, 7:30 pm, First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Rd. South, Rochester, NY

Tickets: $15 adults ($12 members), $10 students/seniors ($8 RFA)

Rhonda’s intimate, multi-faceted solo flute show features an assortment of flutes from around the world, as well as the European

flutes, in a soulful mix of sacred, classical, folk, Celtic, and ethnic music. Read the rest of this entry »

The title of this post is my vision statement. My 5 year goal is to create a new identity for myself as a physical therapist, Andover Educator, flutist, teacher and writer. How did I get on this path and how do I plan to do it all?

Musicians are quite accustomed to wearing many hats. In addition to just loving music and wanting to engage with it for a living, I’m also attracted to how my routine isn’t so routine. I can be doing any number of different things in a normal day, and I love that. It keeps things fresh.

So maybe you’re saying, “OK. I get that you’re a flutist, teacher and writer but what’s an Andover Educator and how is physical therapy related?” Read the rest of this entry »

The 2012 Cortona Sessions for New Music will be held from June 17 – July 1 in Cortona, Italy.
This 2 week festival in bella Tuscany brings young composers and performers together from all over the world.

Its mission is:
-To encourage new relationships between composers and performers
-To offer exciting new ways of thinking about and expanding the role of music in the 21st Century
-To inspire future future musical collaborations
-To provide the highest level teaching possible and help each participant further develop their individual gifts

Participation in the Sessions includes:
private lessons – masterclasses – group coachings – nightly recitals – excursion to Florence – optional wine tour –
daily lectures – symposiums

Please check out the festival website: www.cortonasessions.com for more info. The application deadline is March 15.

From Mary Fukushima
Cortona Sessions Artistic Director & Flute Faculty
DuoSolo Foundation VP
Lecturer of Flute – Pittsburg State University

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