2017 in Review

2017 brought some very rewarding projects, some happy surprises, and a generous handful of disappointment. Continued from last year was the constant adjustment to tripling the number of children in my house (with now-toddler twins). For next year, my plans are on a larger scale and more geographically diverse.

In terms of teaching, highlights included working with some very talented flute students in my studio at South Dakota State University. I enjoyed giving a workshop with my woodwind colleagues for band directors at our middle school All-State. I was happy to give a “Women in Music” talk for SDSU’s chapter of Tau Beta Sigma.

Finally, designing a colloquium for the SDSU Honors College was incredibly rewarding. We took an interdisciplinary look at music in the context of neurology, therapy, technology, politics, the arts, and global studies. We had some fantastic guest speakers, including Dr. Jay Batzner and Dr. Michael Hall. Fortunately, I will have the opportunity to facilitate this class again next year.

My annual Flute Day was in its third year, and we increased the attendance to over 80 young flutists from around the region. We were fortunate to have Dr. Christine Erlander Beard as our guest artist from University of Nebraska Omaha.


I continued my work on the New Music Advisory committee of the National Flute Association, which is one of my favorite service activities. I recently joined the Flute New Music Consortium and am looking forward to seeing the new compositions that come out of that group. I reviewed recordings for The Flute View and published a couple of articles: “A Summer Practice Plan” for The Flute View and “Janice Misurell-Mitchell: Commissioned Works” on behalf of the New Music Advisory committee for The Flutist Quarterly. I was also grateful to be able to contribute to Shaya Bendix Lyon’s article about the use of technology in music education for Chamber Music Magazine, “Pixels and Pencils.” In early December, former classmate and woodwind doubler (quintupler?) extraordinaire Bret Pimentel interviewed me.

Performing was good this year. (Check out my performance map here.) March marked the end of my maternity hiatus from travel, when I was guest artist (along with Dr. Catherine Ramirez) at the Montana Flute Festival in Billings.

Photo Credit: Montana Flute Association

I performed at three conferences: the soul-satisfying and energizing family reunion that is New Music Gathering, the annual bonanza at the National Flute Association, and the smaller but friendly conference of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, where I performed with my clarinet colleague, Dr. Michael Walsh.

with Andrew Rodriguez
with Michael Hall and Jay Batzner
with Clare Shore
with Alan Theisen
with Andrew Rodriguez and Andy Hudson
with Andy Lee





On the campus of SDSU, I collaborated with colleagues on their faculty recitals; my own recital was more involved than usual and introduced a new dimension to my performances. I incorporated dance, text, visual arts, and musical collaboration.

I also performed Kennan’s Night Soliloquy with the SDSU Concert Band. My annual fall tour included the southeast this year and featured collaborations with friends and colleagues at Mars Hill University, Brevard College, Emory & Henry College, and East Tennessee State University. These fall performances included four world premieres (by Aaron Jay Myers, Daniel Walzer, Alan Theisen, and Wes Flinn) and one preview performance (by Clare Shore).

My last solo performance of the year was on R. Andrew Lee’s Invisible Rail concert series, and can be heard on YouTube. I also appeared on South Dakota Public Broadcasting about my upcoming fellowship to Israel.

The beginning of 2018 brings editing the tracks for my upcoming debut CD, which features works for flute and Glissando Headjoint. I’ll be ringing in the new year from Israel. Hopefully the contacts made from this fellowship will result in plenty of collaboration carrying into the new year.

On to 2018: new music, travel, and collaboration!





Fall 2017 Tour

This fall’s tour was a whirlwind few days of friends, collaborations, and satisfying musical experiences. One big takeaway: performing multiple times within an intensely-compressed time period is really effective in keeping one on one’s toes, performance-wise. There’s no time for nervousness and no time for mistakes. The program has to be clearly thought through, and all preparation has to be done in advance.

The weekend began on Thursday, 21 September. After teaching my 8am class and leaving the 10am class’s exam with a colleague to proctor, I headed toward Asheville, NC via the Sioux Falls, SD airport. It was a full day of travel but I managed to get a proposal written while enjoying the rocking chairs during a layover at the Charlotte airport. I arrived in Asheville and made it to my hosts’ house on the north side close to midnight.

Friday, 22 September was dedicated to activities at Mars Hill University. My hosts, Dr. Alan Theisen and Misty Theisen, are on faculty there. Misty and I rehearsed several works we had programmed on that evening’s recital. We discovered that we sound great together (hooray for a new flute sistah!) and the rehearsal with pianist Brad Curtioff went well. I taught a masterclass that afternoon, and our recital was that evening. The program included a couple of world premieres and some older favorites. Afterwards, I had a great time talking with some of the most polite students I have ever encountered. It was a fantastic day.

Saturday, 23 September was a little lighter. There was some time for relaxation, and I also drove up just past the Virginia state line for a rehearsal for Sunday evening’s recital. That was going to be another world premiere, and I collaborated with my dear friend, trombonist Dr. Art Haecker. Thai food in Asheville with the Theisens rounded out Saturday.

Sunday, 24 September was an intense day. I left the Theisens’ home early and headed to Brevard, NC. At Brevard College I met with my host, Dr. Eric Peterson, as well as with their sound person; I also ran through my program. I taught a masterclass early in the afternoon and then gave my recital. It was well attended, and I was happy to get a report of the outcome of the UGA football game by someone who came backstage afterwards. After the recital, I headed directly to Emory & Henry College in Emory, VA. I arrived there about an hour before the performance, so there was definitely some anxiety about the short window of time before this second recital. It went well, including the world premiere, and the audience was particularly engaged. This day felt like a huge accomplishment.

Monday, 25 September marked the end of my fall tour. I left my hosts (Drs. Art and Allyss Haecker) early and headed to East Tennessee State University, where Art is on faculty. There I gave a masterclass/performance for the flute and low brass studios and faculty. I performed two works for Glissando Headjoint and then Art and I gave another performance of our commissioned piece for Glissando Headjoint and trombone. I gave a talk about the Glissando Headjoint and Art and I discussed commissioning. There were some really great questions from the students there. After lunch, where Art and I discussed some future plans with his new publishing company (Polymnia Music), I headed back to the Asheville airport. I arrived back home by midnight. My Tuesday 8am class wasn’t going to teach itself!

These tours are always invigorating to me. I feel like I top up on creative energy and enjoy the stimulation of travel, friends, and collaboration. I’m able to take the works I’ve commissioned to a broader audience, and it’s fulfilling to see them enjoying these new works. I’m toying with the idea of a spring tour, even though logistics are more difficult during that semester. It’s something to keep in mind, at any rate.

On to the rest of the semester!


Surman – The American Album

The American Album
Centaur CRC 3525

Patricia Surman, flute
Kostas Chardas, piano

Dr. Patricia Surman, who has recently joined the faculty of Metropolitan State University of Denver, has released a stunning album of American works on Centaur Records.

The composers represented on this album span the entire 20th century into the 21st century. I especially appreciated the inclusion of pieces from the standard repertoire as well as some new gems. The works represented on the album include:

Sonata (Three Lakes) – Daniel Dorff
  I. Lake Wallenpaupack
  II. Kezar Lake
  III. Salmon Lake

Black Anemones – Joseph Schwantner

Three American Pieces for Flute and Piano – Lukas Foss
  I. Early Song
  II. Dedication
  III. Composer’s Holiday

Antiques of a Mechanical Nature – Chapman Welch

Duo for Flute and Piano – Aaron Copland
  I. Flowing
  II. Poetic, somewhat mournful
  III. Lively, with bounce


On the first hearing, Surman’s fantastic tone is immediately evident. It is robust, substantial, and beautiful. She shows the listener a variety of tone colors throughout the various works. Her technique is masterful, and her articulation is crystal clear and communicative. The collaboration between Surman and pianist Kostas Chardas is solid. Overall, this is an outstanding album and highly recommended. 

Möst – Accento Austria

Accento Austria (Gramola 99100)

Elisabeth Möst, flute, Maroje Brčić, guitar


Flutist Elisabeth Möst and guitarist Maroje Brčić have presented a lovely collection of works that span nineteenth- and twentieth-century Austria.

While the majority of the works on this album were written in the twentieth-century, two were written by composers whose lives span the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries.


Five Miniatures – Cesar Bresgen
I. Ruhig
II. Fließend
III. Gehend
IV. Wiegend. Rascher
V. Gehende Viertel

Grand Duo concertant in A major/A-Dur, op. 85 – Mauro Giuliani
I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante molto sostenuto
III. Scherzo: Vivace
IV. Allegretto espressivo

Scherzo Capriccioso from/aus “Drei Stücke” – Alfred Uhl

Sonata semplice, op. 18 – Jan Truhlář
I. Allegretto con umore
II. Andante
III. Allegro scherzoso

Serenade in D major/D-Dur, op. 19 – Leonardo von/de Call
I. Adagio. Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Menuetto. Trio
IV. Rondo

When the listener also considers the various influences surrounding the composition of these works–which include World War II, a highly vocal bel canto style, and socialist realism to name a few–the result is a variety of styles that can be heard in the assorted works on this recording.

The partnership between Möst and Brčić is particularly well-balanced. Möst’s tone is sonorous, and her phrasing is tasteful and carefully done. Overall, this is an excellent recording of works for flute and guitar that are slightly off the beaten path. 

Clark – SoundTracked

Stephen Clark, flute

Los Angeles Screen Orchestra and Chorus

Album Title: SoundTracked

Album Label:  Voyage Records


Pirates of the Caribbean (He’s A Pirate) – Hans Zimmer

Lord of the Rings (In Dreams) – Howard Shore
The Bourne Identity (Main Theme) – John Powell

Ladies in Lavender (Main Theme) – Nigel Hess

Braveheart (For the Love of a Princess/Freedom) – James Horner

James Bond (Main Theme) – Monty Norman

Out of Africa (Main Theme) – John Barry

Forrest Gump (Feather Theme) – Alan Silvestri

Flying Themes (Return to Neverland from Hook/Fawkes the Phoenix from Harry Potter and the Chamber 
 of Secrets/Flying Theme from E.T./Main Theme from Superman/Main Theme from Star Wars) – 
 John Williams

Gladiator (Now We Are Free) – Hans Zimmer
Stephen Clark’s second solo album, SoundTracked, is a fun collection of arrangements of film music for flute. The selections, which were arranged and orchestrated by Adam Gubman, represent a wide range of movies. Older titles, such as Out of Africa, are included along with newer selections, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings. There is also a variety of moods represented throughout these selections, which keeps the listener engaged and really makes the recording seem over much too soon.

One of the more interesting arrangements weaves together “flying themes” from a variety of movies: Hook, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, E.T., Superman, and Star Wars. It’s a clever compilation of music sharing a common theme, and the seamless transition from one tune to the next makes it seem natural.

The highlight of the disc, however, is Clark’s exquisite playing. He is a fantastically talented performer, able to carry a beautiful lyrical line and execute highly technical passages in a seemingly-effortless manner. His tone is rich and warm and is always a pleasure to hear.
Overall, this is a fun album for the movie aficionado-flutist. It would also be a great recording for younger flute students, who might be inspired by some music beyond their typical experience with band, method books, and traditional solo flute literature.

Gori – The Electric Flute

The Electric Flute (MGMusic 01)

Michele Gori, flutes, effects, loop station

Beat 70 – P. Metheny
Danse de la Chèvre – A. Honegger
Just Blues – M. Gori
Summertime – G. Gershwin
Pièce – J. Ibert
N⁰24 – M. Gori
Château Rouge – M. Gori
Highway – M. Gori
xniryS – M. Gori


Michele Gori’s The Electric Flute uses various electronic means to create an album full of variety. It is an excellent example of how the loop station offers many possibilities for layering both in the context of a recorded album as well as in real time during a recital performance. Looping also allows the performer the ability to perform live on multiple instruments. In this case, Gori introduces all members of the flute family after establishing the sound of the previous one on a loop. He essentially performs as a small flute ensemble through this technology.

The album’s first track, Beat 70, perfectly exemplifies Gori’s goal of mixing flute with electronics. Gori includes a jazz standard, Summertime, as well as some of his own jazz-inspired original compositions. In particular, Gori’s Just Blues shows how he incorporates piccolo, flute, alto flute, and bass flute performed by one player.

Gori has put a new spin on some of the standards of the flute repertoire, including Honegger’s Danse de la Chèvre and Ibert’s Pièce. He adds an electronic layer to give each of these works a new sound. Finally, he disassembles Debussy’s Syrinx and rebuilds it backwards to celebrate his “admiration of its great originality.” This work is particularly intriguing. It retains the character of the work and is recognizable as such but still sounds like a newly-composed piece.

Overall, this album is very well done. It provides variety in the repertoire choices that will appeal to those that like jazz, classical, or both styles. However, the application of electronic effects acts as a common thread throughout the album and illustrates how versatile the modern flutist can be.

Shim – Pheromone

Aerocade Music, AM001

Meerenai Shim, flute
Jacob Abela, piano

Eli Fieldsteel – Fractus III: Aerophoneme for Flute and Live Electronics
Gregory C. Brown – Huge Blank Canvas Neck Tattoo for Alto Flute & Digital Delay
Emma O’Halloran – Pencilled Wings for Flute, Piano, and Stereo Playback
Douglas Laustsen – 60.8% for Bass Flute and Electronics
Isaac Schankler – Pheromone for Flute(s), Piano, and Electronics
Matthew Joseph Payne – Etude for Contrabass Flute and TI83+ Calculator

Pheromone is Meerenai Shim’s third album and the first released on her new Aerocade Music label, which she founded earlier this year. Her first two albums are fantastic but Shim has outdone herself with this latest release. Pheromone takes her playing to a completely new level. With the exception of the first track, which served as the inspiration for the album, all works were commissioned by Shim. All tracks considered, this electroacoustic album is greater than the sum of its parts.

Fractus III: Aerophoneme incorporates flute with live electronics. The electronics really vary throughout the work; at the beginning we primarily hear flute sounds and the electronics become more aggressively integrated as the track progresses. The composer states that this work explores themes of “self-exploration, transcendence, and divine retribution.”

In the next track, Huge Blank Canvas Neck Tattoo, the performer creates a backing track with loops and Ableton Live. The alto flute lends a different timbre to this work. According to the composer, this is a deeply personal work for him, inspired by “false starts and bad choices.”

Piano is included in the next work, Pencilled Wings, in addition to flute and stereo playback. It’s an intriguing work, which requires harmonics and breathy sounds from the flutist. Personally, I kept returning to this track over and over again.

Bass flute makes an appearance in 60.8%. It is combined with electronics. While I won’t give away the precise meaning of the title, it refers to political and economic situations in Greece. Consequently, this work has a Greek “feel” to it, as it was influenced by rebetiko, a type of Greek folk music.

Pheromone, the title track, utilizes flute, bass flute, piano, and electronics. The electronics take a backseat in this track; instead, the flute(s) and piano “[express] one idea simultaneously, but from diverging perspectives.”

Finally, the Etude for contrabass flute and TI83+ calculator is a fantastic and adorable ending. It clocks in at slightly less than two minutes but is chock-full of contrasting sounds (from the low contrabass flute to the high-pitched calculator) and timbres (acoustic versus electronic). It’s the chocolate truffle dessert after this substantial and highly satisfying meal of an album.

Walker – Finchcocks Schubertiade

This is a fascinating album by Elizabeth Walker and Richard Shaw. They have recorded a collection of 19th century works by Franz Schubert and Theobald Boehm (based on a Schubert waltz) on instruments of that time period; one of these works was arranged by Walker. The result is a fascinating peek back in history to what these pieces would have sounded like when they were newly composed. From a performer’s perspective, this is a significant learning opportunity. The well-researched liner notes include information about the works as well as the instruments; there are also photographs of the instruments.

Walker’s performance is outstanding. The colors and phrasing that she coaxes out of the Louis Lot flute are sensitively chosen and always interesting. This is an album you will return to again and again.

Finchcocks Schubertiade
Devine Music, DMCD003

Elizabeth Walker, Louis Lot flute no. 435
Richard Shaw, Ignace Pleyel piano

Franz Schubert – Arpeggione Sonata, D. 821

  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Adagio
  • Allegretto

Franz Schubert – Lieder

Das Fischermädchen

Franz Schubert – Trockne Blumen, Introduction and Variations, Op. 160, D. 802

Franz Schubert – Lieder

Gute Nacht
Der Lindenbaum

Theobald Böhm – Variations sur Une Valse de Schubert, Op. 21

Franz Schubert – Lieder

Am Meer
Die Taubenpost

McBirnie – Grain of Sand

Grain of Sand represents the second collaboration between Canadian jazz flutist Bill McBirnie and multi-instrumentalist Bruce Jones. On this recording, Jones serves as composer, vocalist, performer, arranger, and engineer. They collaborate on original works, which range in style from ambient to bossa nova. Jones, who was raised in Brazil, brings this musical influence to his music, while combining it with other differing styles.

The process of creating the tracks on this album is an interesting one. Jones essentially writes, plays, and records each track; at that point, McBirnie enters the picture to overlay flute melodies based on Jones’ original conception. McBirnie then goes back and improvises over each track, as improvisation is an important element in his work. These tracks are then edited by Jones and McBirnie until they have a finished product.

McBirnie’s solid technique is evident throughout this album, and he is clearly an experienced improviser, as he makes it sound easy. His tone is warm and round and lends itself well to this style. For more information about his work, visit www.extremeflute.com.

Extreme Flute, EF07

Bill McBirnie – flute, alto flute, piccolo
Bruce Jones – guitar, vocals, percussion, synths

Grain of Sand (Grão de Areia)
fado, bossa nova
Se Eu Fico Com Você (If I Stay With You)
hip-hop, samba, rock
Quando A Chuva Cai (As the Rain Falls)
Izabel (Isabel)
bossa nova
Lembrando Paul Horn (Remembering Paul Horn)
Breque Trio a Trêz (Break Samba Trio for Three)
samba de breque
Carnaval Blue (Blue Carnival)
funk, samba
Vai Bem Devagar (Proceed with Caution)
6/8 bossa
Cê Tá Com Tudo (You Are Everything)
samba, rock
A Ponte Para Carlton (The Carlton Bridge)
6/8 afro brasil
Na Quinta Esquina (On the Fifth Corner)
Motel Cê Que Sabe (…Who Knows Motel…)
flowing samba
Com ou Sem Você, Meu Amor (With or Without You, My Love)
hip-hop samba
Grão de Areia (Grain of Sand)

RighteousGIRLS – gathering blue

gathering blue, the debut album by New York-based RighteousGIRLS — flutist Gina Izzo and pianist Erika Dohi — features works by nine new music and jazz composers. This album seems less a collection of disparate works and more a cohesive experience, as the occasional interlude and the postlude help to thread each piece together.


The duo collaborates with other musicians on this disc, incorporating the sound of steel pan, trumpet, and drums. These partnerships further expand the sonic experience of the album.


The music itself is interesting to the ears; most of the works on this recording were either commissioned or adapted by the duo. Among the pieces there is improvisation, an open-form work, overdubbing, and prepared piano, all of which bring fresh sounds to the listener and variety to the overall album.

This is an adventurous album that succeeds. Learn more about RighteousGIRLS at their website www.RighteousGIRLS.com or Twitter @RighteousGIRLS.


gathering blue

New Focus Recordings


GIRLS – Pascal Le Boeuf
Accumulated Gestures (feat. Justin Brown) – Vijay Iyer
Anzu (feat. Ambrose Akinmusire) – Ambrose Akinmusire
Robe Threader (Interlude) – Pascal Le Boeuf
… nobody move… – Randy Woolf
non-poem 1 – Jonathan Ragonese
KARakurENAI (feat. Andy Akiho) – Andy Akiho
gathering blue (Interlude) – Pascal Le Boeuf
etca’rtnE – Pascal Le Boeuf and Mike Perdue
Entr’acte – Mike Perdue
For Milton – Christian Carey
Edge – Dave Molk

…Out Of The Blue (Postlude) – Pascal Le Boeuf