The past few weeks have been pretty busy and musically very gratifying! After a few years of sitting endlessly at a computer in completion of my doctorate, I’ve now had a chance to get back to flute playing again. There have been a series of truly wonderful opportunities in 2012 for which I feel incredibly grateful. So, here are the highlights:
In January, I directed the Queensland Summer Flute Workshops at the Music Teachers’ Association of Queensland Auditorium in Taringa, Brisbane. I was delighted to welcome flute teachers, and a group of fine young flute players from all over South-East Queensland to this event. My colleague Anna Lu presented morning workshops on aural, theory and general knowledge, while I took classes on flute history, flute-specific general knowledge and performance. Kathy Sander was our ever reliable and wonderful accompanist for the workshops. We received some really encouraging feedback from participants, and decided to run the workshops again during the Easter break. These Autumn workshops were held at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, and we were thrilled that David Leviston from Flutes and Flutists came up from Sydney to display a collection of exquisite flutes, piccolos, low flutes and head joints by Haynes, Powell, Burkart, Altus, Di Zhao, Mancke, Azumi, and Resona. The response to both events was fabulous, and we hope to run this or a similar event in the June/July holidays. Kathy Sander and I performed two recitals, which consisted of selected pieces that our delegates were preparing for their 2012 AMEB exams. Additionally, we performed some of Kerin Bailey‘s Five Dances for Flute and Piano, a jazz inspired piece that is a fabulous addition to the flute repertoire, and in the new flute syllabus.
In February, I had the great honour of being invited again to tutor the Brisbane Regional Youth Orchestra flute section at their annual orchestral camp at Bornhoffen. The rain was so heavy that weekend, we wondered if we’d get flooded in, but fortunately all was okay in the end! I was really impressed that members of the youth orchestra came to the carpark to meet me with an umbrella, then walked me into the venue. It was incredibly thoughtful of those young musicians, and I want to take the opportunity here to thank them again for their kindness. The BRYO flute section has improved out of sight over the years. They sounded tremendous, and were a joy to work with.
A couple of years ago I adjudicated the Ipswich Junior Eisteddfod, where I met many lovely people, including the vocal adjudicator and wonderful operatic soprano, Peta Blyth. I was thrilled when Peta invited me to play principal flute with the Mimosa Orchestra, conducted by Phoebe Briggs (Opera Australia) for the outdoor spectacular Opera in the Paddock. Peta has been producing this event for many years, and audiences come from all around the country to hear some of Australia’s best operatic talent. This was one of the most beautiful gigs I’ve done in my life because all of the company and orchestra were so pleasant to work with, and the repertoire was divine. For example, we performed excerpts from the opera I love most, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, which I have played principal flute for in two Opera Queensland seasons, both conducted by one of my favourite colleagues and another Puccini fan, Peter Robinson.
The Mimosa Orchestra wind section consisted of musicians I worked with years ago in the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and other ensembles, as well as a couple of New South Wales based players I hadn’t met before. I’m so grateful to my 2nd flute and principal piccolo player, Wendy Champion, for being such a musically and otherwise supportive colleague. It was a complete joy to be a part of this fabulous event, and I really hope there’s another opportunity to play at Opera in the Paddock at some time in the future.
Here’s a photo from the Opera in the Paddock Facebook page:
While I was in Inverell for Opera in the Paddock, I received an email from the Queensland Pops Orchestra asking me to play principal flute for the Michael Bolton concert at Jupiters Casino on Saturday, April 14. Bolton and his band were lovely to work with, and it was a great experience. I was really impressed that Michael Bolton was at our entire 3-hour rehearsal (which hasn’t always happened in my experience of playing for celebrity performers!) To top it all off, I got to play some more Puccini (Nessun Dorma)! Wonderful memory!
Over the next few months, I will be performing the Vivaldi Concerto for Two Flutes in C major, Debussy’s Syrinx, and a beautiful concert in Lismore, New South Wales, with some fabulous opera singers. More about that when I get another chance to post!