Australian Flute Festival 2013 – An interview with the festival director

With the 2013 Australian Flute Festival happening in Canberra in October of this year we were thrilled to catch up with Lyndie Leviston (Australian Flute Festival Coordinator/Director) to find out a little more about what to expect from the biggest flute event in Australia!



The Australian Flute Festival 2013 is on in Canberra in October, what can attendees expect to gain from this event?
Each Festival seems to take on an individual character or flavour. The impression I have is that this Festival is going to be an enormous amount of fun.  Marianne Gedigian, Roberto Alvarez and Jim Walker are all phenomenal musicians.  Each of them have a sense of humour to match!! While we can expect some serious music making, we can also except some serious fun!


Are there any opportunities for non-performing festival attendees to get their flutes out and play?
Peter Sheridan will be running a Flute Choir, Shaun Barlow will be teaching us how to beatbox, Prue Farnsworth will teach us some Irish tunes, Jim Walker is going to run a ‘Learn to Improvise” 101 workshop, so yes, plenty of opportunity to get your flutes out and do some playing.


What is different to previous years this year?
Although Jim Walker has a distinguished career as a classical musician, he has also been very successful as a jazz musician.  This Festival sees the introduction of jazz flute playing as well as an Irish element, so it’s not just about main stream classical flute playing, but incorporating other styles/genres of flute music.


When did the festival start?
The first Festival was in 2006.  The original plan was to run it every year, so the second one was in 2007.  After the second Festival, it became clear that it was only going to get bigger and it was decided to run it biannually.


What can you tell us about the evolution of the AFF over the years?
The first year, the Sydney Flute Festival was run by a dedicated and enthusiastic team of volunteers. With David Leviston and Alexa Still at the helm, the Festival was held at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with 150 people attending.  The 2007 Festival was also held at the Sydney Con.An artist’s impression of the Sydney Opera House had been used in the logo and when we applied to register the logo, the Opera House wanted to charge us an annual fee to use the image!  Elizabeth Koch OAM had also approached us about holding the Festival in Adelaide.  With the growing international interest in the Festival, we decided to change the name to the Australian Flute Festival and the Festival moved to Adelaide in 2009.Canberra in 2011 proved to be a fantastic venue.  With most people flying in to Canberra for the Festival, evenings were spent catching up with friends and colleagues from around Australia creating a lovely family kind of vibe.I do need to mention here, that we have had an incredible lineup of musicians at AFF.  Emily Beynon, Felix Renggli, Alexa Still, Michael Cox, Marianne Gedigian, Tara-Helen ‘O Connor, Jean Ferrandis, Denis Bouriakov and Aldo Baerten.  Australia has produced many of it’s own fabulous flutists and each Festival we showcase about 30 Australian musicians. Margaret Crawford agreed to be the Patron of the Festival and together with Vernon Hill and Virginia Taylor as Artistic Advisors, the Festival continues to attract Australian and International interest.  We expect to have 500 flutists attend the 5th Festival in Canberra:  October 5th – 7th, 2013.


There are 3 main international artists featured in this year’s festival.  Who are they and what can participants look forward to hearing them play/talk about?
Jim Walker, Marianne Gedigian and Roberto Álvarez are the invited guests this year.  Jim has taught and played at the highest level in classical and jazz arenas and brings a wealth of experience and advice on how to survive as a musician in 2013. We had many, many requests to bring Marianne back to Australia. She is a real dynamo on the flute.  You will leave feeling inspired an motivated from any recital or masterclass that you attend of hers.  Roberto brings some Spanish flair to the Festival.  A piccolo specialist, he will focus on the quirky peculiarities  of this instrument.


Is there anything else you would like to add?
It was only after the Festival in 2007 that we discovered that Marianne’s husband Charles, played the tuba.  She describes him as a ‘freak’ on the instrument.  So, we couldn’t let the opportunity pass again, without somehow including him in the Festival programme.  Charles will present a programme of flute repertoire on the tuba!!  I have listened to a CD of his and all I can say is make sure you are there to hear this recital!!  


Thank you Lyndie for your time and for sharing this information with us!



Anyone wishing to attend the 2013 Australian Flute Festival or wanting more information about it should follow the below link to the Festival’s website to view programs, find accommodation, register to attend and more.



We look forward to catching up with old friends and colleagues and to making many new friends and connections in Canberra!!!


Please feel free to post a comment or ask questions regarding this topic.


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