All the Flutes
The modern silver flute is the instrument most of us think of when we refer to the flute. This is the instrument we are familiar with from school band and symphony orchestras, and the one that you study in the course of classical training at universities and conservatories.
I have been privileged to study this instrument with many fine players and teachers. My first class with a master teacher was with Louis Moyse at the Courtenay Youth Music Centre when I was in high school. Since then I have worked with Julius Baker, Jeanne Baxtresser, Donald Peck, and Samuel Baron in summer programs, Geoffrey Gilbert , Robert Aitken, and Carol Winenc in masterclasses, and Nora Shulman and Paul Douglas in long term study at the University of Toronto and UBC.
I have also learned how to teach from many fine teacher trainers in the Suzuki Flute community, and continue my training regularly at summer Institutes and conferences.
Baroque flute is also known as flauto traverso, to distinguish it from the flûte á bec or recorder. This is the flute that was played up until the invention of the modern silver flute in the mid 1800‘s. I was first introduced to this instrument by my instructor at UBC, Paul Douglas. I was captivated by the gentle, fluid sound of the instrument on the recordings, and attended my first early music workshop a few days later to hear Barthold Kuijken teach and perform. I was hooked!
Now I play on a copy made by Rod Cameron of the circa 1750 Rottenburg instrument owned by Barthold Kuijken. It has a corps de rechange for playing at A=415 Hz for most early music, and A=392 Hz for the lovely old French style.
I have studied Baroque performance practice with members of the Tafelmusik Orchestra of Toronto, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, and Musica Antiqua Koln. I owe much of my training and inspiration to many summer courses with Wilbert Hazelzet at the Early Music Vancouver Summer Festival.
I have always been fascinated by music that crosses the border between the classical and the folk traditions. The older the music, the more the two traditions blend into one universal music without stylistic boundaries. The recorder is used more often than the transverse flute in the older European music, so I use the recorder to get closer to that universal “roots” music.
I have to thank Saskia Coolen and Camerata Trajectina for introducing me to the early recorder repertoire. Their approach to exploring the music of a place through popular music, classical music, art, and politics has influenced me deeply.
Since then I have explored the recorder under the guidance of many fine performers and teachers: Maurice Steger, Marion Verbruggen, Matthias Maute, Francis Colpron, Piers Adams, Alison Melville, and especially the Suzuki Recorder teaching community: Kathy White, Mary Halvorsen Waldo, Renata Pereira, and Nancy Daly.
Native American Flute:
I was first introduced to Native American music when I moved to the Prairies. When I heard the pow wow drum groups, my first reaction was fascination at the number of common elements between the native style and some of the early European music. These common elements became even more evident when I explored the flute music through the work of R. Carlos Nakai and others, and more recently through investigations of Métis fiddling.
When I play the Native American flute, I celebrate the common humanity of all people. When I combine European and North American elements in my playing, it is to recognize that all of us strive to create beauty, and we should all respect and cherish each other’s traditions.