5 Minutes with Shaun Barlow in the BiG APPLE

Shaun Barlow – Interview

by Jennifer Bradstreet

(Originally published by The NSW Flute Society Blog in October 2012 and published on Flute Tutor Australia at the request of the NSW Flute Society in February 2014)

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Right now, where do you call home?

New York City!!! Increasingly, I’m finding a home in the Big Apple. I also travelled through the US and UK during my Masters research. Getting to know the people and the music in cities like New York and London has just been phenomenal!

 

How has the move from Australia to the US helped your career so far?

Living in New York City is just a whirlwind! I’ve seen and met so many great and iconic musicians here and I seem to have my mind blown by one concert or another at least twice a month.

While moving here has been fabulous, it certainly takes time to get to meet everyone in the music scene, plan gigs and learn where everyone hangs out, but it’s a really exciting process!

The biggest treat has been meeting and playing with other young musicians. There are a lot of people here with a thirst and an energy to do amazing and innovative things, and I love working to be a part of that.

 

Tell us what you’re working on! Take us through a typical week in NYC …

*Practicing as much as possible

*Seeing some phenomenal concerts of new music, jazz combos and classical rep – anything that’s cheap and amazing!

*Working on my jazz playing (learning to really internalise chord progressions) and hanging out at the weekly midnight jam sessions at this great little bar on the Lower East Side where everyone squeezes in really tight and plays 20s and 30s swing tunes.

*Getting stuck into playing in small ensembles, performing new pieces by composer friends. It’s so thrilling to get stuck into learning something new, working together with the composer and the other performers, really trying to get to the heart of a piece in a short period of time. The process of negotiating new musical challenges with other musicians is one of my greatest pleasures.

*For the concerts I’m playing during the next few months, there’s a lot of work planning stuff like fundraising, promotion, finding more venues, players and composers.

*Teaching a few days a week at an early childhood school which involves a heap of singing and dancing and making art projects with little kids. It’s the first time I’ve worked with under 5 year olds before and it’s just so exciting to see how they learn!

 

What sparked this contemporary focus and what do you love most about this music?

I love so much about the sounds and the scene and the history of 20th and 21st century music. There’s so much engagement right now between popular music styles and the classical art music tradition. The lines between jazz, blues, classical music and dance music are so blurry now that it’s just so much fun playing mix and match. Somehow, I’ve always been drawn towards weird stuff. I remember the first time I heard Gavin Bryar’s “Jesus Blood” in my first few weeks as an undergrad at the Sydney Con. I just had this light bulb moment – “You mean doing weird stuff on a recording is a thing that people do?!”

As I progressed through the undergrad program, I was always drawn into the “serious” discussions that the composition students were having about spectralism, serialism, neo-classicism and other “isms”. I really wasn’t sure what it all meant at the time, but I became more and more excited as I slowly began to explore the music behind all these words.

The biggest spark though, has definitely been Alexa Still’s encouragement and amazing knowledge of everything on the spectrum of flute-playing. It is thanks to her that I decided to come to New York for the 2009 NFA Convention and first met Robert Dick, Greg Pattillo, Ian Clarke and countless other phenomenal people.

 

What do you want people to take from your performances and workshops?

That it’s fun to play in the metaphorical mud! I really just want everyone to see that the flute is one of the most versatile instruments ever, and that it’s sounds and roles are so diverse – of course it’s a great melodic instrument but it’s also a rhythm instrument and a polyphonic instrument, too! I also want people to see that it’s really easy to get started with improvisation, beatboxing, extended techniques and extended notation.

 

You’re obviously doing well since finding your niche. What are your long-term plans?

It’s been almost a year since I finished my Masters at the Sydney Con, and living life outside of music school is really, really different! All of a sudden you’ve got so many choices to make and it definitely has its ups and downs – but the freedom to take a different view of things is great

I’d like to further develop my skills that weren’t necessarily the focus of my classical training. I’m also learning to get up and running with some looping and other electronic bits and pieces – the sort of the thing where I can manipulate the sound of the flute through the computer to build textures and grooves on stage.

I’d like to further develop the musical relationships that I’ve begun in the US, fostering long-term collaborations. Travelling has been really fantastic for seeing a lot of different things, but the time has come to try and stay in the one place for a little while…

 

There has been a lot of talk about the “relevance” of the classical music genre. Francis Merson of Limelight magazine recently commented that it is simply “to be enjoyed” (whilst drawing a parallel to the “relevance” of a delicious macaroon)! As a classically trained, not-so-classical musician, what do you think?

It’s a tough subject to get into in a short answer. I’ll comment on the “classical” music that is being written now, (which is a difficult thing to define with a broad brush stroke. There are just so many diverse things being written and the blurring of lines between classical music and popular music has almost made this sort of debate a moot point.

Some of the music being written today is really accessible to a popular audience (and/or able to be enjoyed as a delicious macaroon by a great number of people). Some of it is interesting to a smaller audience.  And, some of it is only interesting to the people writing and playing it.

I don’t think this is a problem at all.

Should we really expect everyone’s musical expression to be a successful commercial venture? Perhaps the aim for everyone (especially those holding the purse strings) should be to foster their own personal musical practice. If everyone played or sang or wrote a little bit of music once a week, just for the pleasure of doing it, unashamedly, then it might become apparent that each piece of music has a different purpose (and relevance) to different people at different times. I often come back to something that Richard Gill said – “Don’t tell me whether you like it or not. Tell me what you hear.”

All articles and reviews published on this website are representative of the opinions of the author/s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FTA or it’s affiliates
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Where Everything is Music – Reza Vali

Where Everything is Music – Reza Vali

Tuesday 19 June 2012, 7pm

The Goethe-Institut Sydney

Review by Angus McPherson

www.angusmcphersonflute.com

(Originally published by The NSW Flute Society Blog in June 2012 and published on Flute Tutor Australia at the request of the NSW Flute Society in February 2014)

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Tuesday night’s lecture and concert with Reza Vali provided a fascinating insight into the composer’s work and music. The evening began with a lecture by Vali discussing his musical development and the different periods in his compositional career. Although Vali’s musical training was in Western art music, he has always been passionate about Persian folk music and more recently has become interested in Iranian traditional music. Vali finished the lecture with a recording of a string quartet from his Calligraphy collection, composed in his ‘Post-Western,’ period, in which he used the Iranian modal system rather than the Western system.

In his lecture, Vali described how he began collecting Persian folk songs as a student at the Conservatory of Music in Tehran. In his career as a composer, Vali wrote so many sets of folk songs that he soon ran out of titles for his compositions and was forced to catalogue works by number and letter. Hence the title of the first piece on the program, Persian Suite: Folk Songs Set No. 12 E (2002), performed by Marie Irene Heinrich on flute and David Miller on piano. Originally scored for voice, string quartet and piano, the piece began with an Armenian folk song and ended with a fast, strident dance from Northern Iran.

Song for solo flute (1987), performed by Laura Chislett Jones, used the technique of singing and playing to imitate the sound of the traditional Persian flute, the Ney. According to Vali, the overtones produced by singing and playing create a timbre that is very close to that of the Ney. This technique also allowed Vali to write two different melodic lines, creating a duet between the flute and the voice. Driven by a building tension between two musical styles, Persian folk song and European avant-garde music, this piece reached a dramatic climax during which the voice part was almost a scream.

The evening concluded with the Sydney World Premiere of Vali’s homage to Johannes Brahms, Three Romantic Songs (2011). This piece was written for and dedicated to Vali’s wife, and was performed by Thomas Jones on violin with David Miller once more on piano. The final movement, in 7/8, was described by Vali as a “limping tango” and the composer invited the audience to imagine a corpulent Brahms attempting to dance with Clara Schumann.

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Matthew Hindson – House Music (Flute Concerto)

A Review by Angus McPherson

www.angusmcphersonflute.com

SCM Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Imre Palló
Soloist: Alexa Still

Friday 4 May 2012, 6pm
Saturday 5 May 2012, 4pm
Verbrugghen Hall

(Originally published by The NSW Flute Society Blog in May 2012 and published on Flute Tutor Australia at the request of the NSW Flute Society in February 2014)

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On Friday night, Alexa Still performed the Australian premiere of Matthew Hindson’s flute concerto, House Music, with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Symphony Orchestra conducted by Imre Palló.

The first movement of the concerto, entitled “Kitchen, Garage, Workshop,” opened dramatically with a strident cacophony of sound from the orchestra before giving way to a virtuosic flute cadenza of extended techniques and high-speed technical passages. The dynamic range of this movement stretched from a ghostly whistle-tone in the cadenza to full orchestral fortissimos and the influence of electronic dance music was clearly apparent in the driving beat of the orchestra. Named for rooms that imply the frequent use of appliances, gadgets and machinery this movement was exciting and dizzyingly frenetic.

“Foyer, Swimming Pool (Interlude),” provided some welcome relief from the frenzied activity of the opening movement. Showcasing the flute and harp, this movement was languid and, at times, almost eerily still. The flute part was full of idyllic melodies adorned with the shimmering and burbling of timbrel trills and smooth, glassy glissandi that Alexa played with a seemingly effortless, fluid grace.

The final movement, “Nursery, Games Room,” saw a return to the upbeat energy and dance influences of the first movement, but this time the music locked into a more playful, repetitive groove. While still fast-paced and virtuosic, the children’s domain seemed to brim with a positive energy, free from the stresses of adult life.

Alexa performed with her usual flair, masterfully executing both the extended techniques and the technical gymnastics that make this piece a formidable and exciting contribution to the flute repertoire. She will be performing House Music again at the Annual Convention of the National Flute Association (USA) in Las Vegas later this year.

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MATTHEW HINDSON – An Interview

 Matthew Hindson: Flute Concerto to Premiere 4th May

MATTHEW HINDSON

On his flute concerto House Music in the lead up to its Australian premiere on 4th May in Sydney…

by Jennifer Bradstreet

(Originally published by The NSW Flute Society Blog in April 2012 and published on Flute Tutor Australia at the request of the NSW Flute Society in February 2014)

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It’s been almost six years since the world premiere at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, with American flautist Marina Piccinini and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. What convinced you these performers were right for the work? Did they help you in the writing process?

Any composer would love to write music for the LPO – they are a truly outstanding orchestra.  So when the opportunity arose, and Marina Piccinini was the soloist – I definitely could not say no.

Marina did help in the writing process.  I was aware of the strength of her playing as well as her phenomenal technique.  It certainly helped writing for such a fine player.

 

Is the title House Music a reference to electronic dance music? You’ve written for the Sydney Dance Company; and your chamber and orchestral works are known to feature popular influence, huge dynamic range and driving rhythms. With the performance of this flute concerto, what kind of journey do you intend for the audience?

Actually, the title is a bit of a play on words – each of the movements relates to part of a house.  The popular music influence is not always obvious in this piece.  I tried to write music that evoked a sense of fun and also some familiar things – just like being at home.

The outer movements are intended to be pretty exciting – people should be able to recognize them as being in my ‘style’ if they have heard some of my music previously.

 

In what ways do you find the instrument most communicative? Which of these qualities did you incorporate into the piece and how?

My background is as a string player rather than a wind player, and this was my first real opportunity in writing an extended work for flute.  It was an altogether enjoyable experience.  Marina told me that in the long version of the concerto, which is about 30 minutes, it is a bit of a stamina exercise in some ways.

I would like to think that I’ve tried to work with the strengths of the instrument in terms of its technical feats as well as its sheer beauty at times as well.

 

Who will perform at the Australian premiere on 4th May? Is there any reason for waiting almost six years since the world premiere in London?

Alexa Still will be performing the solo part on this occasion.  She is certainly an amazing flautist.  Her performance of Corigliano’s Pied Piper Fantasy a couple of years ago was off the charts – quite extraordinary.

The reason for the delay in the piece being re-performed is because due to UK union regulations, there was no recording made of the premiere performance.  It is very difficult to have a piece programmed without a recording.

 

What’s happening next – what are you working on at the moment?

Actually one of my next pieces will be a flute and guitar duo.  That will be an interesting challenge and I am looking forward to revisiting writing for the flute in a soloistic capacity once again.

 

WHEN Friday 4 May 2012, 6pm

WHERE Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

COST Adult $30; Concession $25; Friends $15; Student $10

BOOKINGS via City Recital Hall, Angel Place

www.cityrecitalhall.com.au or 1300 797 118

 

Find out more about Matthew Hindson at www.hindson.com.au

 

All articles and reviews published on this website are representative of the opinions of the author/s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FTA or it’s affiliates
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Meet Lamorna Nightingale

Meet Lamorna Nightingale…

An Interview

By Jennifer Bradstreet

(Originally published by The NSW Flute Society Blog in January 2011 and published on Flute Tutor Australia at the request of the NSW Flute Society in February 2014)

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LAMORNA Nightingale’s plan to bring the flute society of NSW into the 21st century is already in progress. The November ‘11 appointed President has been involved with the society for a few years, and is keen for it to continue opening up as an accessible forum for flautists across all levels. She stresses a no snobbery policy, that a student recital is as important as a Sydney Symphony concert.

Building a greater online presence has been a priority, in particular, her creation of the new society website and the launch of a regular e- newsletter (sign up here), facebook page and blog.

Throughout her notable career, Lamorna has witnessed some of the greatest musicians feeling isolated and unsupported at some point. She feels that many musicians struggle to find a practical and creative balance, whether it is to sustain a career or hobby. She insists that the society can offer many benefits to flautists at any stage:

• A network for students, professionals, teachers, music-lovers, entrepreneurs • A forum: discussion online and at events/meetings • Hear about everything going on in the scene from one source • Provide a sense of camaraderie across all levels

• Performing opportunities at events

LAMORNA’S love of music was sparked early on and the same can be said for musical siblings Oliver, Lucie and Chloe. She was born in Sydney, to hard-working musical parents, flautist mother Suzy Miller (nee Powell) and Richard Miller, Timpanist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She studied with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Piccolo player Jenny Andrews, before attending the Sydney Conservatorium High School, where she describes the one-year-family- overlap as “an interesting experience” – this includes both parents on staff!

After completing a Bachelor of Music in Canberra with Virginia Taylor and Vernon Hill, Lamorna was fortunate to win a job with the Miss Saigon Production in Sydney. She explains, “There was a lot of learning on the job!” You can imagine so – playing eight shows per week on flute, piccolo and four (sometimes temperamental) Asian flutes!

Fifteen months into Miss Saigon, Lamorna decides to commit to formal study once again, gaining her Masters in Performance at the Sydney

Conservatorium of Music under the tutelage of Margaret Crawford and Geoff Collins. Focused on new music, she presents a portfolio of programmes based around Asian influences on Australian flute music, all whilst participating in the Sydney Symphony Sinfonia scheme. She believes she learnt valuable lessons not only about flute playing, but also about how to behave as a young professional.

Despite quickly picking up casual work with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and enjoying a freelance orchestral career over the years, Lamorna has also pursued other projects in fields such as new music, publishing and teaching.

She suggests that her parents’ project choices and work ethic have influenced her own. Her father was a member of Synergy as well as SSO, so new music was an early experience for Lamorna. Her mother Suzy was very active in maintaining a varied freelance playing career and finding gigs – all whilst running a teaching studio and being a mother to four!

In 2007, Lamorna took up the position of flute/piccolo with Ensemble Offspring, Australia’s premiere new music group. See them live on March 30th at the Sydney Opera House Utzon Room.

Teaming up with fellow flautist Christine Draeger in 2009, the pair saw a need for a list of new Australian repertoire, for students and teachers to draw upon for HSC performance. The list of pieces they compiled has been published by Reed Music Publishing, and recorded in collaboration with pianist Jocelyn Edey-Fazzone, on their disc Eat Chocolate and Cry.

Following on from this recording, Lamorna, Christine and Jocelyn launched their publishing business Fluteworthy Publications with three publications released in 2011: Lamorna’s Beginner Flute Book, 99 Solos and Studies for Flute, and Repertoire Book for the Beginner Flautist

Right now… Lamorna is excited for the Flute Society of NSW to be a major focus for her and she looks forward to seeing you at the next event!

 

All articles and reviews published on this website are representative of the opinions of the author/s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FTA or it’s affiliates
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HOW TO PLAY Greg Pattillo Style

 by Shaun Barlow

(Originally published by The NSW Flute Society Blog in September 2010 and published on Flute Tutor Australia at the request of the NSW Flute Society in February 2014)

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By now, almost every flute player has taken a look at a few of Greg Pattillo’s flute-beatbox YouTube clips – should you fall outside of this category, run immediately to the nearest computer and type that name into google! His arrangements of popular tunes, honed whilst busking on the streets and in the subways of New York City have led to an incredible following. Like many young flute players, I was blown away by Pattillo’s playing. I had to try and work out how to make all those crazy noises!

In August 2009 Angus McPherson and I took a trip to New York City for the 2009 National Flute Association Convention. Before this I’d been messing around with a few simple tunes, trying to get some basic beatbox sounds happening. The idea of contacting Greg Pattillo and asking for a lesson had been mentioned here and there for a while – everyone I spoke to, including my teacher Alexa Still, had expressed an enthusiasm.  So all of a sudden, sitting in the hotel room on West 51st, I took a look at Pattillo’s website, sent an email asking if he might have time to meet up whilst we were in town, et voilà – he replied! Gus and I had a lesson!

The lesson kicked off with Greg asking for a show of where each of us were at with beatbox-flute. My first attempt at a beatbox arrangement was upon the theme from Paganini’s Caprice No. 24 in A minor. Pattillo guided us through some of the basic beatbox sounds – /b/ kick or bass drum, /p/ snare, /k/ handclap or rim shot and /t/ hi-hat cymbal. We spent time refining each sound, plenty of spit flying, repeating /b/, /b/, /b/… against the metronome ticking at 60bpm, Greg encouraging and describing what needed to be tweaked to get the sounds sounding super.

We covered a bunch of techniques – inhaled /k/ and /p/, adding /s/, /f/ and /sh/ to the drum sounds, how to string sounds together into grooves and some pretty hip ways of vamping and arranging tunes.

 

Greg Patillo“We finished the two hour

session jamming on the Paganini theme

and a Piazzolla tune”

 

Needless to say, the rest of our stay in NYC was punctuated by beatbox practice whilst walking the streets and plenty of jamming back in the hotel room.

Back in Sydney, with little to do and little income over the summer break, the idea of taking Pattillo’s lead and heading out busking was way more favourable than waiting tables. I began pairing up with other musicians mainly playing jazz standards and improvising our own grooves. People reacted enthusia-stically to the music, often stopping to chat, or to sing along in the case of one homeless guy. The music was great but of course, the cash was pretty thin…

So, how do you get this beatbox thing happening for yourself? Easy!

1.  Go and grab your Moyse “Tone Development Through Interpretation” or any old beginner method. Pick out a simple tune, something consisting mostly of crotchets like “Mary Had a Little Lamb” – this works perfectly.

2.  Take a pencil and write a “b” under the first note in each bar and a “k” under each note that falls on the third beat.

3. Taking everything at a really, really slow tempo, play the tune on the flute, but replace each of the/b/ and /k/ notes with a really strong /b/ as in “boots” and an exaggerated /k/ as in “cats.” Sure, it might be tricky at first, but that’s nothing a bit of slow practice can’t fix.

So you’re thinking, “But my /b/ doesn’t sound like Pattillo’s. How do you get it to sound like a real bass drum?”

Like regular flute playing, beatboxing takes practice and instruction. Luckily, there’s a tonne of instructional material available for free on the internet. The “HumanBeatbox.com” website has a fantastic section called “Learn”, containing written tutorials and videos on almost every imaginable method of spitting and clicking like a drum machine. For a great step-by-step introduction to beatboxing aimed at the complete beginner, type “www.humanbeatbox.com/lessons” into your web browser.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, flute-beatboxing is an open door. There are a couple of really great performers putting their own spin on things. Greg Pattillo, alongside his prolific collection of YouTube videos, has released three albums with his group “Project Trio” (I got my copies from www.cdbaby.com).

Dirko Juchem, a German jazz musician, has produced an album of his solo beatbox-flute performances, it comes with an instructional booklet containing a great deal of info on how he makes it all happen. There’s even a few songsheets in there. For more info, see: www.myspace.com/flutelounge

A few other noteworthy players to check out on YouTube are Nathan “Flutebox” Lee and Tim Barsky. Watching some of the thousands of videos on YouTube of beatbox performances quickly broadens one’s conception of what might be possible on flute.

Guys like Rahzel and Roxorloops provide some pretty amazing examples of how to pack a lot of sounds into a bar, appearing to barely ever stop for breath!

Many beatbox websites feature free tutorial and “how to” articles. These provide a great way of expanding one’s vocabulary of beatbox sounds.  Some lend themselves really well to flute whilst others may not immediately appear to work at all. There’s always something to be learnt whilst undergoing a new bit of vocal gymnastics, though. For example, try the “click roll” technique described at humanbeatbox.com (typing “Click roll” into the search box on the humanbeatbox.com homepage should lead you there pretty swiftly). Whilst it doesn’t resonate as well as a good, loud /k/, if you cover the tone hole with your lips and perform a click roll into the flute there’s some interesting possibilities for resembling a creaky door or some weird creature from Jurassic Park.

It’s early days for beatbox-flute yet. Give it a go and see what crazy new sound you’ve got up your sleeve!

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About the author

Shaun BarlowShaun Barlow is a professional flute player based in Sydney. He specialises in contemporary music, flute beatboxing, collaborating with composers and exploring the vast cacophony of sounds available to the flute player. Shaun is studying with Dr Alexa Still at the Sydney Conservatorium, completing a Masters of Music (Performance). His current research is a study of the development, notation and practice of flute beatboxing.

For upcoming concerts, workshops and free music downloads, check out:

www.shaunbarlow.com

 

All articles and reviews published on this website are representative of the opinions of the author/s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FTA or it’s affiliates
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Linda Vogt AM – An Interview

 Linda Vogt AM

28 September 1922 –

THE recent world premiere performance of Three Pictures for Linda for flute ensemble was commissioned, written and performed in honour of Linda Vogt. Here, we take a look over a lifetime of musical contribution and the birth of The Flute Society of NSW.

By Jennifer Bradstreet (September 2010)

(Originally published by The NSW Flute Society Blog in September 2010 and published on Flute Tutor Australia at the request of the NSW Flute Society in February 2014)

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When Linda Vogt was nominated as an extra for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at age 18, she started out on a path that would lead her to become the second female woodwind player in any Australian symphony orchestra, and later a Member of the Order of Australia for her contribution to music.

Born into a musical family in Melbourne, Vogt developed an early appreciation for classical music. “We had a piano, music was always playing in the home where I grew up… my family had access to an old Rudall Carte 1867 system wooden flute and it all started from there,” she says. Joining the Preston Girls High School Orchestra, she enjoyed ensemble playing from a young age. Her school orchestra director Mr Wilke contacted the Melbourne Symphony’s then second flute player Leslie Barklamb to assist Vogt with fingerings on her old Rudall Caret model flute, which led to an ongoing teaching arrangement.

Encouraged by her family to pursue a suitable office job, Vogt began working as a typist in 1938, earning 35 shillings a week and continuing lessons with Barklamb. Once becoming an extra flute for the MSO in 1940 – despite never having studied at a conservatorium – her office colleagues were impressed, often supporting her at performances. “They took an interest in my flute playing, coming along to the symphony concerts,” Vogt remembers. Her enthusiasm and ability as a flute player grew as she worked alongside Barklamb and other flute greats. On the orchestra’s then principal flute Richard Chugg, she remarks on his French style of playing, “Dick was playing with vibrato… I wanted to sound like that!”

Only two years later, Vogt was invited by Professor Bernard Heinz to join the ABC Sydney Studio Orchestra, which later became the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In 1942, she became the second female woodwind player in any Australian symphony orchestra, after Constance Pether who was appointed principal flute in the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in 1936.

In Sydney, she faced the challenge of changing flute systems on the job – from a Rudall Carte 1867 to a Boehm model. Vogt puts it simply, “I’m a survivor, I’ve always been a head down kind of person.” She performed piccolo parts in the orchestra despite having never held a piccolo until the day she boarded the train to Sydney, “Leslie Barklamb lent me his piccolo, I remember him handing it to me through the train window!” Not only a survivor, but also one of the only flautists who can speak from personal experience about such a challenge.

While holding her position with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for 10 years, she played alongside principal flute Bert Anderson and later Neville Amadio, participating in concerts and live broadcasts almost every week. In 1942, Vogt was one of 45 players in the orchestra. Only 12 were women. Within three years, the orchestra almost doubled, comprising of 82 players by 1945.

It was through also music that Vogt found friendship and marriage. A close friendship with SSO third flute and piccolo player Colin Evans, led to their marriage in 1952, and the birth of their two children Deirdre and Peter.

After a short period away from the orchestra to enjoy motherhood, Vogt swung back into the music world already well respected in the orchestral context. She was determined to explore creative projects again, eventually gaining recognition as a soloist for Musica Viva and the ABC. As an accomplished chamber musician, she performed in groups with Don Andrews, Carl Pini and Robert Pikler.

Making many friends along the way, Vogt crossed the divide from classical, to music for film and television, to jazz.  She participated in many film recordings, and played in backing groups for various performers and television commercials before the time synthesizers were allowed into Australia by the Musician’s Union. In 1958, she joined the Charlie Munro Jazz Quintet. Initially, the multi-instrumentalist band members approached Vogt for help with their flute tone production and embouchure technique. However, she ended up playing and recording with them for six months and having the time of her life. She quickly built up a good reputation as a jazz flautist. “I’d never played jazz before… I made them write out my solos to start with… I was nicknamed hot lips!” she laughs. “It was such great fun… I have enjoyed jazz ever since.”

In 1966, the great French virtuoso Jean-Pierre Rampal travelled to Sydney to give the first ever Sydney masterclass. Held at the NSW Conservatorium of Music, the event was co-ordinated by Nicola Snekker. Strangely, the event did not attract many performers. This prompted Vogt to initiate a group of professionals to meet regularly in a masterclass setting.

The Flute Night was born – a monthly get-together in private homes. “A work was set for study, anybody could perform and mistakes were accepted. It was great fun… performances were followed by cups of tea and lots of chat,” recalls Deirdre Greatorex (Hall). The Sydney flute scene flourished. “There was a great sense of camaraderie,” says Vogt. As a result, friendships were formed. “When I was fifteen it was my privilege to receive my first flute lesson from Linda. She has been one of my dearest friends ever since,” says Greatorex.

Fittingly, Vogt’s career took an educational focus between 1969 and 1970, when she took up teaching positions at the Canberra School of Music, ABC Training Orchestra, Pan Pacific Music Camps and The University of NSW Music Department.

Continuing to demonstrate a commitment to excellence in her own flute playing, in 1973 she became Associate Principal Flute with the Sydney Opera House Opera and Ballet Orchestra, which later became the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. She enjoyed two years with the orchestra, playing alongside best friend Greatorex.

Meanwhile, the success of The Flute Night continued and prompted Vogt to convert the group into an official society, The Sydney Flute Society, in 1973.

Now eligible for an Australia Council grant to fund their next big event, Vogt began organising a fully funded three-month residency for the distinguished American flute player James Pellerite at the NSW Conservatorium of Music.

With Vogt as Executive Director, the 1973 National Flute Seminar took place: the first flute convention held anywhere in the world. Featuring a series of recitals, masterclasses and lectures, the convention was a huge success. The national convention movement was born – Vogt had begun to shape a bright future for flute playing across Australia, connecting flute players in Australia with the rest of the world and vice versa.

In his article, Linda Vogt, Australia’s Great Lady of the Flute, Pellerite describes Vogt as not only a friend, but a pioneer of the flute. “Her playing has elegance, charm and conviction… (she was) not only receptive to the ideas expressed by foreign flutists… but equally anxious for the opportunity to learn from other musicians as well.”

Despite her reputation and prestigious teaching posts, Vogt did not limit herself to advanced students. She enjoyed teaching flautists of all levels and ages. “She gave confidence by building up, not bringing down,” says Greatorex.

A firm believer in Alexander Technique, Vogt’s breathing philosophies became well known. Greatorex recalls Vogt’s words: “playing the notes is a technical achievement, but it is the shaping of the phrase and the energy imparted to those notes that makes the musician”.

As a result of the national convention movement, illustrious flautists from all over Australia travelled to Adelaide in 1976 to compete in the first National Flute Competition. The Australian Flute Association was formed in 1981, for which Vogt was instrumental, and by 1983 the fifth Australian Flute Convention had taken place at the NSW Conservatorium, with Vogt as Executive Director once again.

In support of the growing national flute movement, Vogt became founder and director of the educational and classical sheet music company Zephyr Music in 1976, making classical sheet music easily accessible. Currently, Zephyr is still Sydney’s leading supplier of classical music, now under the direction of Vogt’s two children, Peter and Deirdre (named after Greatorex).

In a simultaneous effort to reach out, Vogt also looked to expand The Sydney Flute Society, officially renaming it The Flute Society of NSW in 1984. The Flute magazine was launched in 1983 with Vogt as editor – but it was only with the support of a bigger society of 600 members one year later – that the magazine became available in a glossy format, bringing flute news across the whole of NSW.

But Vogt had yet another pursuit in the pipeline. Over the years, she documented a legacy of flute playing in Australia: A database of flute memorabilia and a collection of valuable flutes including those of distinguished players of her era. This invaluable historical resource is now in the hands of curator Michael Lea at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, for preservation and display. Appointments can be arranged.

On how she managed it all, Vogt insists it was a sense of camaraderie that kept her going. “It’s impossible to name all the wonderful flautists who have supported the flute movement throughout Australia since 1966 – there were many generous workers who provided the structure for others to enjoy. However, the strength of the movement was in the amazing coming together of so many flautists. Not only did it create enormous pleasure, but I believe it was a movement which raised the expertise and standard of flute playing for all of us!”

On Australia Day, January 26th 1989, Vogt was appointed a Member of The Order of Australia in recognition of her contribution to Music.

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After detailing her entire musical story over many laughs and cups of coffee, Vogt reflects, “I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way. I’ve had a good life.”

On 24th July, 2010 – still very much full of life – she travelled from her Blue Mountains home to be guest of honour at the sold-out world premiere performance of Constantine Koukias’ Three Pictures for Linda.

Held at the Sydney Conservatorium Verbrugghen Hall, the work for flute ensemble was performed by an elite group comprising the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra flute sections and other distinguished players. Commissioned by The Flute Society of NSW, Three Pictures for Linda acknowledges Linda Vogt’s lifetime of contribution to the flourishing flute landscape of Australia.

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Tributes

for 

LINDA VOGT2010

I believe Linda has been the greatest influence on the ‘coming of age’ of flute playing in Australia of any teacher or performer; in fact her influence has reached far beyond Australia.

The original Sydney Flute Society, formed by Linda, was the first of its kind in the world – its formation was a germinal event.

But Linda’s nurturing of the flute and its players goes further than meets the eye. Not just in the public arena, but also in private and unsung ways. My own experience vouches for this. In the early 1960s, as a flute student at the Melbourne Conservatorium, I recorded some music for an ABC broadcast. Shortly afterwards, to my surprise and delight, I received, from a stranger in Sydney, a letter in the post with warm words of encouragement and appreciation. It was from Linda Vogt, a person I had never met. What an utterly rare and thoughtful thing to do!

So I am most happy to send an expression of my own appreciation and gratitude to this great lady. What we all owe her is incalculable.”

Margaret Crawford

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“Congratulations Linda!

You are such a wonderful example to us as a flautist, teacher, generous person and female role model. I have appreciated your support and generosity over the years.

You have enriched the lives and experiences of professionals, students and amateur flautists alike for so many years.  We thank you.”

Janet Webb

……………..

“Linda Vogt’s legacy to flute playing and music reaches far and wide. Those who have known Linda as a performer, teacher and colleague, are touched by her integrity and example. Apart from Linda’s generosity in sharing her vast expertise, she embraces new ideas and challenges in music and life.

Linda, you’re an inspiration!  Thank you and congratulations on a much deserved tribute.”

James Kortum

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“LINDA has been an inspiration across several generations of Australian flute players. Her fine playing, innovative teaching and ongoing mentoring have really progressed flute playing in this country – in a quite remarkable and distinctive way.

Her keen enquiring intellect, combined with an indomitable drive to make things happen no matter how many obstacles present themselves – these are very special qualities that have profoundly influenced and motivated so many flute players at all levels.

From all of us to you – thank you Linda. May you continue to keep doing all of these special things that we love and admire you so much for.”

Geoffrey Collins

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“When I was fifteen it was my privilege to receive my first flute lessons from Linda.

She has been one of my dearest friends ever since.”

Deirdre Greatorex (Hall)

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“LINDA was one of the really noted teachers during the period of my student days… she took a great interest in all of us. I remember well going to her for several breathing lessons, one of her speciality areas, in which we were lying on the floor undertaking some extraordinary moves – all to the greater goal of conquering the instrument. Linda was an enormous inspiration to us, showing such dynamism, enthusiasm & leadership, particularly within the flute society.”

Jocelyn Fazzone

……………..

“I HAVE KNOWN LINDA since 1968 when I first moved from Melbourne to Sydney to play in the ABC Training Orchestra. I was struck by her remarkable sense of style, her enthusiasm and her dedication to the flute in Australia in all its genres. Linda has been a great teacher, player and role-model to me and no doubt countless other Australian flute players, but of particular significance was her initiative to start the first Australian Flute Convention in 1973, a world first.

This had the effect of profoundly changing flute playing and teaching in Australia, and accelerated the greater process of Australia connecting to the world and the world becoming aware of Australia.

The dedicated work by Constantine Koukias to Linda is a fitting tribute to a lifetime of outstanding contribution and I will be forever thankful and grateful.”

David Leviston

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All articles and reviews published on this website are representative of the opinions of the author/s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FTA or it’s affiliates
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Nicolet Flute Competition – Beijing, 2010

– Event Review –

by Janet Webb

(Originally published by The NSW Flute Society Blog in September 2010 and published on Flute Tutor Australia at the request of the NSW Flute Society in February 2014)

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The Venue

Concert Hall, China Conservatory, Beijing

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The Repertoire

Preselection

a) JS. Bach – Corrente & Sarabande from Paritita in a-minor for solo flute

b) N. Paganini – Capriccio No. 4 from 24 Capriccios

First Round

1) H. Holliger – écrit for solo flute (Schott edition)

2) A.Honegger – Danse de la Chèvre for solo flute

3) One of the following:

a) F. Kuhlau – Ariette con variazioni from Fantasy in D-major op.38

b) F. Kuhlau – Romanza con variazioni from Fantasy in C-major op.38

Second Round

1) R.Schumann – Romance no. 2 from Three Romances op.94

2) One of the following:

a) A. Roussel – Joueurs de Flûte

b) A. Caplet – Rêverie et Petite Valse

c) C. Debussy – Prélude à l’après-midi d’un Faune

d) Ph. Gaubert – Ballade

3) One of the following solo works:

a) G. Benjamin – Flight

b) T. Hosokawa – Sen 1

c) B. Ferneyhough – Cassandra’s Dream Song

d) F. Donatoni – Nidi (piccolo)

e) X. Dayer – To the Sea (flûte alto)

f) I. Fedele – Donax

4) Chinese piece (composed for the competition)

Third Round

1) One of the following:

a) P. Boulez – Sonatine for flute & piano

b) I. Yun – Garak for flute & piano

2) JS. Bach Corrente & Sarabande from Partita in a-minor for solo flute

3) One of the following:

a) F. Schubert – Sonata in a-minor for flute & piano (Arpeggione)

b) G. Pierné – Sonate for flute & piano

c) Ch.M. Widor – Suite for flute & piano

d) Th. Boehm – Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Schubert for flute & piano

Final

1) W.A. Mozart – Quartet in C-major KV 285b for flute and string trio

2) J. Andersen – Konzertstuck Nr. 1, op.3 for flute & orchestra

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IT WAS AN HONOUR to be invited to be a jury member for the Nicolet Flute Competition held in Beijing this April.

As the volcanic ash cleared from the skies, the 11 jurors (all from different countries) arrived, as did the 52 contestants. The jury included esteemed colleagues such as Felix Renggli, Andrea Lieberknecht, Phillipe Bernold, Petri Alenko, Hiroaki Kanda and Clara Novakova.

We all got on famously. Of course, we had differing opinions at times – but secret ballot, and no discussion, meant we kept our own convictions. We were all very happy with the final outcome.

My first job was to learn the huge amount of difficult music that the competitors had to prepare. With four rounds, including chamber music and a concerto with orchestra, the competitors had to learn 11 pieces, and with all of the possible choices, I had 25 to learn!

The competition lasted 10 days. For 8 to 9 hours of each day, we marvelled at some amazing performances. To name a few highlights: JS Bach’s flute works, the Boulez Sonatine (on half an hour rehearsal with the pianist), a Chinese piece composed especially for the competition, the Mozart flute quartets and a concerto by Andersen.

We all remarked at the high standard of the competitors. I am very proud to say that our two Australian competitors did very well. Lina Andonovska made it to the final 22 competitiors, and Jessica Gu won 5th place – and a reasonable amount of money! The winner was Argentinian, 2nd – German, equal 3rd – Japanese and Chinese, 4th – Japanese and 5th – Australian! All of these players were great musicians, as well as being good flautists. Every competitor said they enjoyed preparing for the competition and meeting, hearing, and being inspired by fellow competitors. Overall, the competitors felt it was a very worthwhile experience.

It was equally interesting to hear different styles of playing in the juror’s final concert. Yes – we had to play too!!!! I even heard one of them say, “I can’t wait to get back to the hotel to try some new ideas I heard today!”

But, it wasn’t all hard work for the jurors. Every night was a different, amazing dining experience. I had no idea there were so many different types of Chinese food! At lunch times, we enjoyed noodles made by hand in front of us – all for AUD $1.30 a bowl! It was great to experience the city of Beijing.

Back on a flute note, I hope to see more of our very talented flautists in the next Nicolet Flute Competition in 2013. Start practising!

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About the Author

Janet WebbJANET WEBB has occupied the Principal Flute chair of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra since 1985. Throughout her distinguished 25 year career , she has received high praise from conductors as notable as Maazel, Dutoit, Jansons, Jarvi, Robertson, Nezet-Seguin, van Sweedan and of course Maestro Ashkenazy. This was preceded by the Principal Flute position in the Singapore Symphony  Orchestra in 1980 at the age of 21.

She holds an Arts/ Music degree from the Canberra School of Music. Studies with Andras Adorjan in France followed.

Janet has performed numerous concertos with the Sydney and Singapore Symphonies, as well as other orchestras. These range from CPE Bach to Honegger and include a performance of Bach’s 4th Brandenburg concerto for 2 flutes with James Galway. Her solo recitals, chamber music performances and masterclasses across Australia have been widely acclaimed.

Janet has appeared as guest principal with most of Australia’s premier orchestras. She is regularly heard on radio both in solo performances and with the Sydney Symphony and on their numerous recordings released regularly.

Her solo CD -“‘Tango and All That Jazz”, features a number of works composed for Janet and her accompanist, Jocelyn Edey-Fazonne, by Australian composer, Andy Firth. They enjoy collaborating with composers on their compositions.

Janet has taught in many institutions including the Singapore, Sydney and NSW Universities and Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

As an inaugural tutor at the annual Australian International Summer Orchestra Institute she has played an important role in shaping the course and working with aspiring orchestral musicians over the last three years.

Janet is a Powell Flute Master.

 

All articles and reviews published on this website are representative of the opinions of the author/s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FTA or it’s affiliates
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