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NFA 2015 in Washington D.C.: Thoughts from NFA Program Chair Joanna Bassett

Joanna Bassett | July August 2015

The 2015 Convention
    The 2015 convention will take place in Washington D.C. from Thursday, August 13 to Sunday, August 16. (Selected pre-convention activities occur Wednesday, August 12.) A visit to the nation’s capital offers the chance to experience the best that our country has to offer: monuments for reflection, gardens and parks for beauty, museums for lifelong learning, people from every background and country, and the energizing center of democracy and collaboration. Special pre-convention activities will kick-start the Annual Convention, which this year offers a special focus on how today’s flutists advocate for the arts, enrich lives through music, and engage new audiences. The convention will take place at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park. (

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    Out of Many, One
is the theme of this year’s convention where flutists from around the world will gather to celebrate our varied backgrounds and our shared love of the flute. We have invited flutists who have made a difference in the lives of others to share their stories: Wissam Boustany with Towards Humanity, Terri Sundberg and the Shropshire Foundation, Mary Matthews and Cuatro Puntos among many others. A panel discussion called Pass it On: Advocacy 101 will share ideas about arts in education and community building through music. 

Youth Flute Day on Sunday
    In addition to regular convention programming, Sunday offers a fun-filled Youth Flute Day for flutists age 9-18. In small groups with helpful guides, students will experience a one day mini-convention moving from morning warm-ups and Dalcroze or Alexander Technique classes to visiting the exhibits and hearing flutes from around the world plus flute choir reading sessions and masterclasses. Many more activities are scheduled for flutists of different ages and levels, along with sessions for parents on auditions, buying a flute, and uses of technology. Everyone will have the chance to participate in the grand finale of improvisation with Ali Ryerson and Greg Pattillo. (Fee: $60, includes NFA e-membership fee and T-shirt)

Taking Chances
    The convention will also feature flutists who take chances with new ways to present music. Tabatha Easley collaborates with dancers and composers to present a Visions of Sound concert, and the Penn State Flute Choir will get Youth Flute Day off to a rousing start with its program of music and dance. Shawn Wyckoff’s trio Sonic Escape uses original music and beautifully crafted arrangements to create an interactive sense of fun. Fourth Wall never disappoints, and they will perform in the Thursday Gala. Other performances include music by NFA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Harvey Sollberger, the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drums Corps, Jennifer Parker-Harley and flutists from the University of South Carolina, Tara O’Connor, Irina Stachinskaya, and Shigenori Kudo. 

Low Flutes, Piccolo, and Flute Choirs
    This convention could easily be called the year of the low flutes. Matthias Ziegler, Chris Potter, Ali Ryerson, Peter Sheridan, Marion Garver Frederickson, Paige Dashner Long, Carla Rees, and many others will resonate in a large choir of low flutes called Vox Profundo.
    Flute choirs from around the world will share new commissions and well-loved favorites. There will be reading sessions for flute choirs, low flute choirs, and a jazz flute big band. If you would like to try something new, you can learn to play the Native American flute, Baroque flute, Celtic flute, or play side-by-side with favorite flute celebrities in duets, trios, and quartets.
    If you have always wanted to play a Baroque sonata with a harpsichordist, you will have a chance at the Baroque Breakfast Jam on Sunday morning. Piccolo players will have a chance to shine with unusual duets in Piccolo and Friends, a lecture-recital on commissioning music for the piccolo by Peter Verhoyen.

    Historical presentations center on the treasures available at the Library of Congress, from a history of Stars and Stripes to a concert of music in the collections and a lecture on the Dayton C. Miller Collection by Nancy Toff. If you arrive early, you can see special displays at the Library of Congress on Wednesday, August 12, from 1-3 pm, in the Mumford Room of the James Madison Building. 
    My favorite part of the NFA conventions is the friendships built over many years. A shared passion is what connects us all and opens the door to conversation. Borders become blurred with flutists and composers from all over the world sharing the stage and lecture room. I look forward to seeing you in August!

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New Music

    As always the convention features performances of new works for flute and piccolo. This year’s NFA commissioned composers include Michael Fiday and Daniel Kessner, and jazz arrangers Ali Ryerson and Bruce Eskovitz. 
•    Valerie Coleman
•    Robert Dick
•    Asha Srinivasan
•    Gary Schocker
•    Jonathan Kirk
•    Sora Shpack
•    Jeffrey Yost
•    Derek Charke
•    Randall Woolf
•    David Loeb
•    Alexandra Molnar-Suhajda
•    Marc Satterwhite
•    Cynthia Folio
•    Christopher Caliendo
•    Mark Olivieri
•    Truman Harris
•    Mitch Lin
•    Russel Nadel
•    Nancy Galbraith
•    Diego Vega

Guest Artists:
Evening Concerts

    The Fourth Wall, Harvey Sollberger, the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, Jennifer Parker-Harley and the University of South Carolina Wind Ensemble Flutists, Tara O’Connor, Irina Stachinskaya, Shigenori Kudo. Late Night Cabaret: Wouter Kellerman and ensemble.
    Winne Clement, Manuel Rojas and Ensemble Gurrufio, Ali Ryerson, Deepak Ram, Matthias Ziegler, Chris Norman Ensemble. Late Night Cabaret: Marco Granados with Manuel Rojas and Ensemble Gurrufio
    Mark Sparks, Demarre McGill, Paula Robison, Lorna McGhee, Aaron Goldman. Late Night Cabaret: Jazz Flute Big Band Concert with Ali Ryerson, Lisa Jelle, Greg Pattillo, Zachary Kellogg