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NFA 2016 San Diego

John Bailey | July 2016

    The 2016 National Flute Association convention takes place August 11-14, in the San Diego Town and Country Hotel and Resort. There are a wide variety of activities, including recitals, competitions, masterclasses, workshops, and lecture/recitals.

New and Exciting
•    International Participants
    While the convention has always attracted international flutists, this year’s roster is extraordinary. It includes players from China, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Ecuador, New Zealand, Australia, Iran, Turkey, and many countries in Europe.

•    Piccolo Premiere
    NFA commissioned a piccolo concerto by Seattle-based composer Ken Benshoof. Jennifer Gunn, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will perform the premiere.

•    Chamber Music
    There will be a strong emphasis on chamber music this year with concerts dedicated to music for flute and voice, flute and guitar, flute and harp, flute and percussion, woodwind quintet, and multiple flutes, plus flute and other instruments. You are guaranteed to find a new piece to love.

•    Jazz Music
    The convention will also focus on jazz artists. The Thursday evening gala concert features Jim Walker and José Valentino Ruiz performing Latin jazz, bansuri player John Wubbenhorst playing bansuri (Indian classical flute) with jazz trio in a bansuri-jazz fusion, and Nestor Torres playing salsa and Latin jazz. Other performers include Jamie Baum and her Short Stories Quintet, the jazz sextet Flutology with flutists Holly Hofmann, Ali Ryerson, and Bob Sheppard, and Los Angeles-based Damjan Krajacic bringing a Balkan folk-jazz fusion. In addition, there will be a great concert featuring crossover flutists playing bluegrass, rock, jazz, new age, and other mixed styles. The two winners of the NFA Jazz Soloist Competition will perform with a jazz trio (piano, bass, drums).

•    Youth Flute Day
    Continuing last year’s success, this feature continues with offerings on Sunday tailored to younger flutists. Presentation topics include improvisation and beat-boxing (Greg Patillo and PROJECT Trio), Piccolo for Kids (Belgian piccoloist Peter Verhoyen), a petting zoo for the very lowest members of the flute family, a flute quartet reading session (Kathy Blocki) and a flute choir reading session (Eileen Yarrison) for younger flutists.

Other Highlights
•    Performances
    The Saturday evening gala concerto concert features Walter Auer, principal flutist with the Vienna Philharmonic, performing the Reinecke Concerto, Swedish concert soloist Göran Marcusson playing the Mozart Concerto in G, plus American flutist Trudy Kane, former co-principal flutist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, performing Ellen Taaffe Zwillich’s new Concerto Elegia. Boston piccoloist Linda Toote premieres Martin Amlin’s new piece dedicated to the memory of Atlanta Symphony piccoloist Carl Hall, who passed away this year, and Adrianne Greenbaum plays a short Klezmer medley with orchestra. Friday’s recital concert features Denis Bouriakov, newly appointed principal flutist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hungarian flutist Gergely Itzzés, Canadian flutist Robert Aitken, and Bonita Boyd, professor at the Eastman School of Music.
    Other special concerts feature the flute sections of the Los Angles Philharmonic and the San Diego Symphony and performances of the works of Mexican composer Samuel Zyman, Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, Frenchman Jean-Michel Damase, and American composer Daniel Dorff. Tribute concerts will be performed by former students, friends, and colleagues of the two Lifetime Achievement Award winners, Katherine Hoover, and James Pellerite. Other highlights include a masterclass by Carol Wincenc and American composer Jake Heggie on his works for flute, plus masterclasses by Bradley Garner, Linda Toote, Denis Bouriakov, Carol Wincenc, Linda Chesis, Tadeu Coelho, Kathie Stewart, and Nicola Mazzanti.

•    Flute Choir
    There will be performances by 23 flute choirs from all over the US and several foreign countries, playing in flute showcase recitals, noon-time lobby concerts, and pre-gala featured concerts. There also will be a tribute concert to Shaul Ben-Meir, who has transcribed dozens of great pieces for flute orchestra from the colorful standard orchestral repertoire.
    For those interested in playing in a flute choir, the Pacific Coast Flute Choir, conducted by Peter Sheridan, will perform at the opening ceremonies and is open to all NFA members. Martin Melicharek and Peter Senchuk will hold flute choir reading sessions. Sonidos Profundos returns for a performance and then a reading session of flute choir works specifically written for low flutes.
At the closing ceremonies, NFA President Zart Dombourian-Eby will conduct all NFA members in a performance of the Bach Air from the Third Suite – an NFA tradition.

•    Workshops and Lectures

    Learn about such topics as Moyse’s Tone Development Through Interpretation, Telemann’s Fantasias for Baroque flute, Bach’s Partita for solo flute, Gaubert’s numerous flute works, or Martin’s two Ballades. Try circuit training for flutists or Tai-Chi stretching and participate in a World Flute Circle. Learn how to incorporate Alexander Technique and Body Mapping into your routine and get a fresh start on practice habits or improving your technique. Try vocal warm-ups, tips for phrasing and developing expression, new ways to incorporate metronome practice, improving your tuning, and advice on developing business skills for a career as a freelancer or teacher. For those applying for a university position, get expert advice on your resumé, and cover letter, masterclass and interview.
    Explore other flute instruments and styles with workships on the basics of Irish flute, Baroque flute, teaching improvisation, beatbox flute, the fujara (a very low folk instrument from Central Europe), and the bansuri from Northern India. Other features include the pedagogical works of French composer Sophie Dufeutrelle and advice from a medical expert about pain and physical injury and how to avoid it plus many more exciting options.

•    Other Events
    Everybody loves the annual Flute Lover’s Luncheon. This year’s guest speaker is Göran Marcusson who will discuss why he loves the Mozart G Major concerto. The popular Teacher’s Breakfast features Bonita Boyd who will talk about how she develops the whole artist in a young flutist.
    Competitions always have a prominent place in the convention’s offerings. This year’s competitions include the Young Artist, Piccolo Artist, and High School Soloist. For the second time ever, there will be an Arts Venture Competition, where finalists present their innovative entrepreneurial projects to a panel of judges vie for a $2,000 NFA project grant. Winners of the Convention Performers Competition present pieces that have been chosen as winners of the NFA’s Newly Published Music Competition.
    It will be four exciting, exhausting, and exhilarating days of learning, listening, and enjoying. Perhaps most importantly, NFA conventions offer a wonderful opportunity to make new friends who share your passion for music and the flute.