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Patricia George Receives 2023 NFA Lifetime Achievement Award

Instrumentalist Editors | August September 2023

We are thrilled to share that our long-time colleague Patricia George has received a lifetime achievement award at the National Flute Association Convention in Phoenix. After attending the Texas Tech University band camp at age 10, she continued her studies with Frances Blaisdell at the National Music Camp and with Joseph Mariano, William Kincaid, and Julius Baker. As a student at the Eastman School of Music (BM, MM, Performer’s Certificate in Flute) she was chosen to join the Eastman Philharmonia for a months-long tour of Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. The tour offered the opportunity to work with conductors Howard Hanson and Frederick Fennell.

Her teaching career began at an early age. In a 2001 interview for Flute Talk magazine, she recalled: “I was 12 when I started teaching in Amarillo, Texas and I just never stopped. While pursuing a master’s degree, I taught music minors and preparatory students. Some musicians establish private studios after they fail to establish a career in performance. I have always taught because I love doing it.”

In addition to teaching in the Eastman Preparatory Department, she also taught at Idaho State University and Brigham Young University. She spent 13 summers as principal flute in the Sun Valley Summer Symphony followed by 19 summers as flute professor and principal flute at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival.

Her summer teaching once led to an unexpected example of long-distance learning in the late 1990s. “A boy came to Sewanee Music Festival for a summer and made rapid progress. Back home he had no flute teacher in the area, so he sent cassette tapes, and I continued to help him. I heard him play several times when I was teaching masterclasses, but mostly just planted the seeds from a distance, and he made them grow. This fall that young man entered Trevor Wye’s flute class in England and is the only undergraduate student to ever be accepted into the program. It takes a rare student to absorb new information quickly, make mental connections, and apply this knowledge.”

In the same interview she was asked about competition among students. “Competing with yourself is the only useful competition. How each player sounds often depends upon the music at hand. I want there to be an interchange of ideas among students in a teaching studio so the strengths of one flutist are shared with other students. Blaisdell treated every student as if they might become the first flute in the New York Philharmonic, and I feel the same way.”

After writing her first article for Flute Talk in 2002, she later served over 10 years as Editor. In addition to teaching and publishing award-winning flute pedagogical books, she contributes her regular column, The Teachers Studio, to each issue of The Instrumentalist and serves as the Senior Contributing Editor. Congratulations!