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Philip Swanson (1939-2018)

compiled by editors | February 2019

    Flutist Philip Swanson died on November 30, 2018 in Tucson, Arizona. He was 79 years old. In 1970 he founded the Tucson Flute Club and two years later was a founding member of the National Flute Association. He was the NFA’s first treasurer, program co-chair for the first convention and a member of the board of directors for many years. In 2004 the NFA awarded Swanson with the Distinguished Service Award. 

    Swanson’s career was multi-faceted, including full-time appointments at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the University of Arizona, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Redlands and Northern Arizona University. As an orchestral flutist, he held positions as principal flutist with the North Carolina Symphony, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Chamber Orchestra, Arizona Opera Company Orchestra, Flagstaff Summer Festival Orchestra, Flagstaff Symphony, Redlands Symphony Orchestra, Riverside County Philharmonic, Lake Arrowhead Festival Orchestra and the Desert  Symphony. In addition, he held positions as piccoloist/flutist with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra and the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra.
    Swanson was a graduate of the Eastman School of Music (BM, Performer’s Certificate in Flute) where he was a student of Joseph Mariano. In a Flute Talk May 1985 article on the teaching of Mariano, Swanson wrote, “He was a true gentleman. In the four years I studied with him, I never heard him malign anyone or say one negative thing about people. He always had a good word to say to students when would meet them in the hall. The most important thing I learned from Mariano, and I don’t think he necessarily intended to teach this, was respect for others and respect for myself.”  
In the early 1970s, Philip and Robert Muczynski, made the first commercial recording of Muczynski’s Sonata for Flute and Piano, which has since become a staple of the flute repertoire.