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Flute Talk Turns 30

Victoria Jicha | September 2010

    As you read through this issue of Flute Talk, you may begin to notice that there is something special about the number 30. This issue kicks off the beginning of our 30th year of publication – quite an auspicious occasion. We thought it might be fun to take a quick glance at where the magazine began and how it has developed over the years.
    Many readers write to say that they own every issue of Flute Talk, even those first couple of years when the magazine was more of a newsletter. Volume 1, Number 1 went to those readers in September, 1981.
In the early days Flute Talk usually included a focus on a flutist and a performance guide, although the readers were younger and less experienced than today’s subscribers.
    In 1984 the September issue featured Robert Dick on the cover in a true magazine format, with cover, table of contents, and advertising. It was all in black and white, but this issue was special, because it included a performance guide to Flying Lessons written by Dick. Quite forward looking for 1984! By 1986 Flute Talk sported color covers, but the rest of the magazine remained in black and white.

    A long-running feature of Flute Talk that has not changed much through the years is the New Music Review section. They  first started appearing in 1987. Stacks of newly published pieces arrive from music publishers during the year, and our dedicated reviewers plow through the scores, sometimes playing them with their pianists or sightreading them with their college choirs.


ring the past 30 years, Flute Talk has had several columnists whose articles have enriched the magazine and become highly valued by students and teachers alike.
    Michel Debost first appeared in Flute Talk in a column titled Flute Expectations in the September 1990 issue. That would grow into Debost’s Comments, a series of commentaries that have run for more than 20 years.
    Jan Gippo created the piccolo feature “Let’s Talk Picc” that began running in Flute Talk in December, 1988. He single-handedly changed the volume and depth of piccolo repertoire through commissions, lobbying for N.F.A. support, and writing articles every month for over 15 years. He turned the column over to Cynthia Ellis, who continues his work.
    More recently Patricia George has joined the Flute Talk staff, writing about teaching and performing for the past nine years. I like to think that I discovered her, but that is just a bit of egotism. In truth, she often posted to the FLUTE LISTSERV, and I just had to learn more about this person who kept suggesting such creative solutions to everyday flute problems. She is a voracious reader and is largely responsible for keeping Flute Talk readers up to date on the latest research.
    There have been some articles that shook the walls just a bit, such as the Jawboning debate between Walfrid Kujala and Michel Debost that ran for several issues. More recently Trevor Wye wrote an article on intonation that was fun to print because I knew it would ruffle some feathers. The general premise was that American flutists don’t play in tune. Well, he called it as he saw it, and for the most part, I agree with him.
    Two other aspects of the magazine stand out for me. One is the music that we print, and the other is the diversity of the artists featured in interviews. While music has been included from the beginning, we now have jazz duets three or four times a year composed by the gifted jazz flutist Marc Adler. They are offset by the occasional Baroque flute duet provided by Michael Lynn, who has an extensive library of unpublished 17th and 18th century gems that he shares with Flute Talk readers.
    Who knows what the future will bring, but looking ahead, my best guess would be more technology and expanded repertoire with 21st-century techniques that require us all to keep learning and growing.
Victoria Jicha, editor since 2001

Editor’s note: To celebrate Flute Talk’s 30th year, watch for more articles in upcoming issues and reprints of great past articles on