Forty years ago in 1972, flutist Mark Thomas and a small group of colleagues held the first National Flute Convention in Anaheim, California. Through the years the NFA has grown to become an established association with a membership numbering over 6,000 from 50 different countries. This year’s convention will be held August 8–12 at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Seattle-based flutists Zart Dombourian-Eby, 2012 Program Chair, and Sandra Saathoff, 2012 Assistant Program Chair have assembled some of the finest performers, pedagogues, and exhibitors in the world to celebrate this 40th Anniversary. During the 80 plus hours of the convention, an assortment of events will be presented. These include four spectacular evening concerts, headliner recitals, chamber concerts, pedagogical sessions and workshops, masterclasses, scholarly presentations, and competitions.
This year’s theme is “Rubies! Celebrating 40 Years of Artistry and Vision.” Saathoff said, “We discussed several themes and eventually settled on Ruby, as it is the traditional 40th anniversary gemstone. Rubies are thought to possess an eternal inner flame or passion. It seemed a fitting tribute to our vibrant organization, and allowed for a high degree of latitude in accepting proposals.”
New This Year
Two events have been added to the convention programming. Friday afternoon is reserved for Cirque de la Flûte. This event will group participants by special interests to mingle and network while being entertained by a troupe of Las Vegas acts. Bring your smart phone, business cards, and mix and mingle. On Saturday afternoon there will be three Masterclass Circles, one each for piccolo, flute and the low flutes. Each circle will be staffed by several master teachers who will be ready and willing to answer your questions in a casual setting. Bring your flute and questions. Master teachers include: Angeleita Floyd, Nina Perlove, Emily Skala, Johathan Snowden, Alexa Still, and Jim Walker.
Plan on arriving early on Wednesday afternoon to participate in the Flautino Royal, the annual flute orchestra event, conducted by Hal Ott and coordinated by Kathy Farmer. Flautino Royal will perform at the opening ceremonies on Thursday morning. This ensemble is open to all NFA members but requires pre-registration. www.nfaonline.org/Annual-Convention/Orchestra-Form.asp
Three Evenings of Gala Concerts and Late Night
The Generations of Excellence Gala Concert on Thursday evening will feature the Ruby All-Stars Flute Orchestra conducted by Angeleita Floyd followed by NFA archivist and the 2012 National Service Award recipient Nancy Toff narrating a multi-media presentation on the history of the NFA. The concert concludes with performances by Ian Clarke, assisted by Aaron Goldman and Gergely Ittzés, and Demarre McGill with Jasmine Choi. Jim Walker and Free Flight close the gala with arrangements and original compositions from their 30 years of collaboration. Thursday late night will feature World Flutes Ensemble performing jazz, dances, and popular songs from Argentina, Brazil, and Turkey.
The Friday evening Lifetime Achievement Award Winners Gala begins with a performance by the Imani Winds. The quintet will be performing Hardwood by Lansing McLoskey which is the winning composition of the Joint Wind Quintet Project Competition. The balance of the evening is a tribute to this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, Betty Bang Mather and Bonita Boyd. Many of Betty Bang Mather’s former students, coordinated by Claudia Anderson, will present works dedicated to or inspired by Mather’s innovative teaching in the Baroque and contemporary genres. The Gala concludes with Bonita Boyd performing works for flute and percussion, with Eastman School of Music percussionist Michael Burritt.
Friday late night offers three choices in separate venues. Jim Walker and Free Flight will be in Octavius 8, Leo MacNamara, Irish Flute in Milano 5-6, and the Gelós-Santes flute and guitar duo in the Pisa-Palermo.
The Saturday evening Concerto Gala continues the Rubies! Celebrating 40 Years of Artistry and Vision theme featuring NFA founders, presidents, program chairs, Lifetime Achievement Award winners, mentors, orchestral players, professors, and soloists, playing music ranging from Vivaldi to Mozart to NFA, US, and world premieres. Concerto soloists include Walfrid Kujala, Linda Toote, Amy Porter, Peter-Lukas Graf, Aldo Baerten, and Alexa Still. The orchestra will be conducted by Ransom Wilson.
Saturday late night also offers three choices in separate venues. Performing will be: In Milano 1-2, Andra Bohnet, Irish Flute; in Octavius 8, Holly Hofmann and her trio; and in Augustus 1, the Agnew-McAllister flute and guitar duo.
Each day there will be sessions on fitness and breathing, participatory workshops for piccolo, flute and the low flutes, flute choir sight-reading sessions, solo and chamber music performances, competitions, and lectures. Twenty flute choirs representing the United States, Korea, Puerto Rico, Australia, Mexico, and Venezuela will perform in lobby concerts, pre-gala evening concerts, or special flute choir showcase recitals.
In addition there will be 50 recitals, a Teacher’s Breakfast, a Flute Lovers’ Luncheon, the Lifetime Achievement Awards Banquet, events for amateurs, and masterclasses. Masterclass presenters include Peter-Lukas Graf, Ransom Wilson, Lisa Garner Santa and Diane Frazier, Peter Verhoyen, Carla Reese, and Bonita Boyd and Friends.
As the NFA Convention flier says: “Come Participate, Come Learn, Come Listen, Come Honor, Come Play and Come Feast.” How can you lose in Vegas?
For a complete schedule, up-to-date information and breaking news, visit www.nfaonline.org/Annual-Convention.
2013: New Orleans, Louisiana, August 8-11, Marriott Hotel at French Quarter
2014: Chicago, Illinois, August 7-10, Hilton
2015: Washington D.C., August 13-16, Marriott Wardman Park
What Are You Doing at the Convention?
University of Miami (Florida) flute professor and retired principal flute of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra shares, “I am honored to judge the NFA Young Artist Competitions finals on Sunday starting at noon. I will join Mary Karen Clardy in the collaborative concert Reunion! featuring the traditional flute repertoire of Bach, Kuhlau, Liebermann, Sancan, and Schulhoff on Saturday at 2:00 PM. Then on the Sunday at 10:00 am, I will present a lecture on my ideas on vibrato from a recent article in the NFA Pedagogy Anthology, Volume 2.”
Composer Daniel Dorff is completing his three-year term as a member of the NFA Board of Directors, so each morning of the convention he will spend several hours in meetings steering the organ-ization. He hopes to catch as many concerts as he can especially “the Sunday ‘Made in America’ concert where Cindy Anne Broz, Mark Margolies, and Martin Amlin will perform my new Perennials for flute, clarinet, and piano. On the same program Broz and Margolies will perform the Three Romances for flute and clarinet. On Friday evening at 6:00 PM Broz and I will perform three arias from our new A Treasury of Puccini Duets for flute and clarinet.”
Carl David Hall
Carl David Hall, principal piccolo/third flute in the Atlanta Sym-phony, is an Artist Affiliate faculty member at Emory University and chair of the NFA piccolo committee.
“I will be checking to be sure that all things piccolo run smoothly at the convention. On Thursday I will moderate the Orchestral Piccolo Panel (with Deborah Baron, Regina Helcher, Sarah Jackson, Walfrid Kujala and Peter Verhoyen). If there is anything you would like to know about playing piccolo in an orchestra but were afraid to ask, this is the session for you. On Saturday I will judge the final round of the Piccolo Artist Competition. Sunday morning brings the Piccolo Masterclass Circle (bring your piccolo), and later that day I will perform Frank Hannaway’s Sonata for Piccolo and Piano on the Made in America concert and perform in an all-piccolo chamber music recital.”
The Hungarian flutist and composer teaches flute in Gyor at the Szechenyi University and has recorded 10 CDs. His compositions for flute employ extended techniques based on his Chart of Double Stops. “At the convention it will be my pleasure to hear my composition Totem for Solo Flute performed by the six soloists in the High School Soloists Competition. I am also performing on the Thursday evening Gala concert playing Curves for three flutes and piano by Ian Clarke. On Saturday at 10:00 am, I will participate in a Composers Forum and later will play some of my transcriptions and original compositions.”
Double-stop Preparation Exercise
By Gergely Ittzes
Editor’s note: Ittzes performances at the NFA will include the technique of playing double stops on the flute. This exercise, written especially for Flute Talk readers, develops the flexibility of the embouchure in order to play double stops or multiphonics.
To prepare the embouchure for the extreme positions you need to play certain double-stops, practice the following simple exercise. This exercise will force you to roll the flute in or out much more than you have before.
Start by playing C#6 mf. Play a chromatic scale down to D5 keeping the left index finger up for each note. As you go down, the pitch goes down gradually until you reach G#. As you reach the G#, the sound will probably switch up to the next overtone. To avoid playing the higher overtone, decrease the air pressure and gradually, but radically, turn in the flute. For the G, you have to be even more extreme with turning the flute in. Pull the jaw down and backwards while stretching the upper lip forward. The lip may even touch the lip plate. Around this crisis point where the notes want to jump up, you need to use very little air with a larger than usual aperture. F# is almost as difficult as G and G#; however, after these notes, you can gradually return to normal playing position. Finally, you will reach another normal fingering at D5.
You also can reverse the process. Start with D5 and play a chromatic scale up to C#6 while keeping the left index finger up. It may take a few days to become flexible and brave enough to discover the correct combination of air stream and embouchure position to keep the same overtone throughout the scale. If the sound breaks, return to a successful fingering.
Surprisingly enough, you can play this exercise by turning out to extremes instead of turning in. You will also need more air to keep the note on the correct overtone.
This exercise produces a strange scale consisting of non-tempered intervals. Once you become comfortable with this scale, improvise on it and make your flute sound like a primitive flute from the Neolithic era.