41st NFA Convention: New Orleans, Louisiana, August 8–11, 2013
The convention theme, Confluence of Cultures and Perseverance of Spirit, acknowledges the diverse community that makes up the NFA, as well as the formative history and recent events of New Orleans. This most Latin of US cities offers a complex culture that includes as its role the birthplace of jazz. The city, since its inception, has expressed a jubilant love of life. From the tragedy of Katrina, the spirit and tradition of this amalgamation of cultures has come together in a rebirth. Like the lyrics from When the Saints Go Marching In, “you want to be in that number.” Come and be a part of this great celebration.
I have dreamt about this convention and its unfolding. After deep reflection, I asked friends and colleagues for their ideas of a dream convention. This route has yielded rewarding results. Flutists from different backgrounds have converged, and together we will accomplish what I conceived: a members’ convention, one that addresses the most fascinating aspects of the flute world and the joy of making music together.
I wanted to create something special for flute choirs. For years at conventions, I felt sad to notice flute choirs scrambling in the hotel corridors and halls, trying to catch the attention of passersby. This convention will celebrate flute choirs. A grand room will be assigned for flute choirs, with a true stage. Nearly forty flute choirs have been invited to perform in New Orleans from all over the U.S. and abroad, including those from Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Ireland, Japan, and Mexico.
Another focus is the amateur community. It comprises the majority of NFA members and deserves something special. As a convention first, any flutist who is interested in performing at the convention will be given the opportunity to do so through the Swamp Jazz Flute Orchestra (directed by Ali Ryerson), the Gumbo Flute Orchestra (directed by Aaron Goldman), or the Saints BeLow Low Flutes Ensemble (directed by Chris Potter). These ensembles will rehearse once daily in order to prepare for two performances each on Sunday and for the Carnaval Final Closing Ceremonies.
Gala Evening Concerts
The Thursday evening Opening Gala Jazz concert will feature Orlando “Maraca” Valle, Hubert Laws, Ali Ryerson, the Jazz Flute Big Band, and others. The Friday night Gala will present 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Barthold Kuijken in a concert for Baroque flute and harpsichord. The featured work is the J. S. Bach Sonata in B Minor, BWV 1033. The Saturday Orchestral Gala features flutists Karl-Heinz Schütz, Weiner Philharmoniker; Nobutaka Shimisu, Kyoto Philharmonic, and piccoloist Sarah Jackson, Los Angeles Philharmonic, performing their favorite orchestral excerpts with orchestra.
Repertoire and Performers
Conductor Ransom Wilson will conduct several NFA premieres including the Penderecki Flute Concerto (Marianne Gedigian), Jolivet Flute Concerto (Sophie Cherrier), and Lawrence Dillon’s Flute Concerto, 3rd movement (Carol Wincenc) plus a new transcription for flute of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in D Minor (János Bálint) and an arrangement of Gary Schocker’s Three Dances for two flutes and string orchestra (Marco Granados and Gary Schocker).
Other convention performers include Jamie Baum, Robert Dick, Patricia Spencer, Pierre-Yves Artaud, Sibel Pensel, John Barcelona, Lorna McGhee, Raffaele Trevisani, Angela Jones-Reus, Nicola Mazzanti, Virginia Broffitt, Jim Walker, Patti Adams, Fernando Brandão, Bill McBernie, Shelley Binder, Immanuel Davis, Elizabeth Brightbill, Jean-Michel Tanguy, Eva Amsler, Mikael Heslavuo, and Leone Buyse.
The Maestro Series will celebrate pedagogical trends by master teachers from around the world. The featured pedagogues are Julius Baker, Aurèle Nicolet, Keith Underwood, Lars Nilsson, and João Dias Carrasqueira. There will also be classes on health and wellness.
Masterclasses and Competitions
Special masterclasses will be given by Barthold Kuijken, Baroque flute; Nicola Mazzanti, piccolo; Jan Gippo, piccolo; and Chris Potter and Robert Dick, low flutes. Competitions include the Young Artist, Piccolo Artist, and High School Soloist competitions plus Convention Performers, Masterclass Performers, Jazz Flute Big Band, and Flute Choir (High School, Collegiate, and Professional).
There will be a panel discussion on Technology and Music and as well as discussions on organizing a flute club. Trudy Kane will share thoughts on the topic of commissioning and performing new music. George Pope has organized the yearly Remembrance and Healing concert to honor those who are no longer with us. Other events include improving improvisation skill, beginning Baroque flute, enhancing memorization skills, practicing know-how, and improving intonation, plus many flute choir reading sessions. There also will be a screening of the film History of the Flute in Jazz by Peter Westbrook.
The Carnaval Final Closing Ceremonies will celebrate our community with flute choirs reaffirming that playing music with each other is fun and builds lasting friendships, thus making this world a better place. Oh, you will want to be in that number. Don’t miss out. See you in New Orleans.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!