2012 in Review

IMG_0628[1]This is a little delayed, perhaps, but it’s time for a bit of perspective on the events of last year. As I went back and read through my summary of 2011, I can’t help but be reminded of how incredibly, insanely different this January is compared to last January.

Last January, I wrote my end-of-year summary while enjoying a vacation overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This January, I live over 1500 miles away from that beach and hope to see it again some time this year. Some of my goals last year were to get a full-time music gig, find a vintage Powell flute, present and perform at flute conventions, continue writing, and collaborate on more musical performances. I’m thrilled that so much of that was accomplished in 2012.

In my quest to obtain a full-time, tenure-track faculty position, I ended up going on two interviews last year. The second was successful, and I am quite happily the newest Assistant Professor of Music at South Dakota State University. My job is a blast. I’m happy to go to work every day, my colleagues are fun to be around, and I hit the lottery with my students. I’ve said this before, but the midwestern work ethic is alive and well in South Dakota.  My workload includes world music, woodwind pedagogy, music history, and applied flute. We’re starting a flute choir this semester, which I’m pretty excited about.

During the first half of last year, I was on faculty at University of South Carolina Aiken and Newberry College. There I was teaching Theory II, Theory IV, form and analysis, world music, applied flute, flute studio, and flute ensemble. It was a heavy load, but I really enjoyed being about to spend some time with theory. And it was sad to leave the flute students I had spent several years with but I know they will continue to work hard and do well.

I managed to attend and perform (or present) at several flute conventions last year, including the Kentucky Flute Festival, the Atlanta Flute Fair, the South Carolina Flute Society event, and the British Flute Society. I presented various workshops on efficient practice and the flute music of Joan Tower, performed with Ian Clarke and on a flute choir piece for the SCFS, and judged the adult amateur competition of the BFS. It was great to be able to see colleagues and friends and hear amazing players. Some performer highlights were Walfrid Kujala, Ian Clarke, Christina Smith, and so many amazing British flutists at the BFS event. I also attended some great masterclasses throughout the year with Keith Underwood, Patricia George, and the Imani Winds. Hearing players at this level is always a much-needed inspiration.

One of my goals last year was to be involved in more musical collaborations. I felt like that was something that I neglected to do in 2011, probably because my teaching schedule was too heavy. My first big collaboration of 2012 was a benefit concert for the March of Dimes. The music students at Newberry College put together a nice program, and we ended up raising over $700 for the local chapter. I hope to be able to make this an annual fundraising event. Other collaborations included several works with my new colleagues at SDSU, including Nate Jorgensen, Emily Toronto, and Mike Walsh. It was a great way to jump in and play some chamber music repertoire I haven’t played before. I was also invited to be guest artist by Heidi Alvarez at Western Kentucky University, where I joined several of the faculty members in performing music by my Twitter-friend Michael Kallstrom. Heidi is a great flutist and teacher, and I enjoyed working with her and her students.

Miscellaneous things: I recorded the soundtrack for a short animation at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta; bought a vintage Powell flute; enjoyed soaking up the country music culture in Nashville; moved across the country; got a quick introduction to Native American culture from an expert at SDSU, which I could use for my world music class; got to know the state of South Dakota through numerous recruiting trips; watched the marching band participate in the 100th Hobo Day parade at SDSU; and drove through an actual blizzard to play in a concert. This year included trips to (or through) twelve states and two countries. Good thing I like travelling!

So what’s the plan for 2013? Basically, keep going. Collaborate as much as possible, recruit amazing flute students, teach, write, travel. I’ve also found myself playing more and more new music as the years go by. I commissioned a work last year by Rob Cronin and had another dedicated to me by Rob Steadman, and I’m looking forward to performing those this year. Working with composers is pretty great, and I’m looking forward to more of that this year.

As always, I’m interested in collaborations. If you want to work together, contact me! Email or Twitter @TammyEvansYonce.

Atlanta Flute Fair

The Atlanta Flute Fair was held on Saturday, 25 February 2012 at Georgia Perimeter College in metropolitan Atlanta. We were fortunate enough to have Ian Clarke as our guest artist; he had just come from the Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair the week before. I knew some of his music after Zoom Tube was used by the National Flute Association for the 2006 Young Artist Competition but had never heard him play.

New to the Atlanta Flute Fair this year was a series of workshops. We had three great presentations this year on various editions of Mozart, alternate and sensitive fingerings, and career development. Next year, I hope to expand this portion of the event to include more workshops. (Keep an eye out for our Call for Proposals for 2013!)

We had a large number of vendors in the exhibit hall this year, and we were also treated to a short concert by the New York-based flute duo Flutronix in the hall. Unfortunately, I had to do a bunch of running around and couldn’t spend as much time in the exhibit hall as I would have liked, but it was good to see a lot of familiar faces there.

There were a number of performances this year. The annual Young Artist Competition featured three excellent finalists: Brittney Balkcom, Daniela Volkovinsky, and Thomas Wible. We also heard a recital given by last year’s Young Artist winner, David Graham. Our new competition, the Junior Artist, included a short recital as its prize, so we heard a very nice performance by Claire Della Mahon. The main performance of the day was given by Ian Clarke. His program consisted of his works with the exception of one Stockhausen piece, Xi. The program was quite varied, including older and newer works. There was also a contrast in the mood of the works, which ranged from serious to light. The entire program:

The Great Train Race
Orange Dawn
Xi – Karlheinz Stockhausen
Hatching Aliens (II. Alien Chill Out/Blue Alien)
Touching the Ether
The Mad Hatter
One of the highlights of the day was the workshop led by Ian Clarke. He took us through a very quick introduction to various extended techniques that are called for in his works. This included alternate fingerings, microtones, percussive articulation, singing and playing, jet whistle, and multiphonics. The most important idea that struck me was how he approached ideas that may be new or intimidating. Instead of reacting  with anxiety, he reacted by saying, “Good!” and by getting excited. He explained that it is an opportunity to learn something new and it might not be something you will master immediately, but the idea has been introduced and can grow from there. The more difficult or advanced the technique was, the more “exciting” is was. I think this is a fundamentally different way to look at technical difficulties, and what a paradigm shift it is! I frequently encounter extended techniques but still felt a noticeable difference in my approach to reading complex musical notation during the workshop when I thought of it as an opportunity instead of a challenge.

Ian Clarke also gave a masterclass, and two of the participants played Orange Dawn, which is another of his compositions. Since I’m unfamiliar with the work, it was particularly useful to get some perspective from the composer himself.

The next day, I enjoyed a nice chat with Ian as I drove him to the Atlanta airport. (My daughter compared his accent to those she has heard on one of her favorite shows, Keeping Up Appearances.) We have a teacher in common, Kate Lukas, so that was a fun connection to make. And I was left with a book recommendation: The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist.

Overall, it was an excellent day. It was great to make some new flute friends and meet up with colleagues. And I can’t say enough good stuff about Ian Clarke. He’s a class act – very genuine, a fantastic player, a composer with a distinct voice, and an effective teacher. He’s quite an asset to the flute community, and I encourage you to check him out if you aren’t already familiar with his work.

2011 in Review

It’s been a busy, full year. Usually, I assess what I’ve done (and haven’t managed to get done) at the end of the academic year; as a college professor, my concept of a “year” goes from August to May. However, it probably isn’t a bad idea to perform a mid-year check-up. While it’s easy to become frustrated as an ambitious, adjunct professor/classical musician, I think I’ve done a pretty decent job this year. I have several big projects in the works and will continue building on my experience, which will hopefully lead to a full-time professor gig in 2012.

Personally, there have been some tragic bumps in the road. My brother and sister-in-law had their first baby, Austin, in December 2010; she was premature. Baby number two, Cash, was born even more prematurely in September 2011. Both babies passed away this year. The March of Dimes has become my charity of choice, and I hope to be able to do some fundraising for them this year through music performance.

Professionally, things have been busy and varied. I spent a lot of time developing an online presence, finally biting the bullet and joining Twitter (@TammyEvansYonce) over the summer. I was reluctant to do so because I thought I was busy enough. However, I’ve met an entirely different group of people than I would ever meet through other avenues, and I’m able to interact with them regularly. It has definitely been worth it. I also redesigned my website this year, which I think makes it clearer and easier to navigate. I’ve also started adding blog posts to my site, with a primary focus on how to make practicing more effective and efficient. I’ve also written posts about teaching: my B-flat fingering rant is now in print, and there are posts about choosing a new instrument, how to prepare for a recital, and performance anxiety. I also started a new blogging site with the purpose of covering a wide variety of topics relating to a musician’s life: performance, music business, music education, and so forth. It has been growing by leaps and bounds, and we continue to add contributors. I’m really excited about this particular project and invite you to take a look at what we’ve done so far.

As far as performance, I’ve done less of this than I would have liked. I continued to perform as principal flute with the Ludwig Symphony Orchestra, which is based in the Atlanta area. That has been a great opportunity to play some of the real orchestral standards. I also continued playing in the Northwinds Symphonic Band, also based in the Atlanta area. I truly enjoy playing the band literature, and this is a fine group of colleagues. We also took a mini-tour through Georgia over the summer. When you play in south Georgia, they reward you with syrup! I had the opportunity to perform at Flute Festival Mid-South this spring, which was the perfect reason to take a little trip to Nashville. (Needed a new pair of boots, anyway…) Rhonda Larson was the guest artist, and I enjoyed taking part in the masterclass she led. I also participated in a concert of American music at University of South Carolina Aiken, where I’m on faculty. I never turn down an opportunity to play Charles Ives. My biggest performance was my Newberry College faculty recital at the end of the year, which included works by CPE Bach, Roussel, Jennifer Higdon, Muczynski, Enesco, and Jay Batzner. It was a heavy program but I prefer to go all out in solo recitals.

I was happy to return to my alma mater, the University of Georgia, to present at their Women’s Studies Research Symposium early in the year. I presented my dissertation research on the flute works of Joan Tower. I was also scheduled to present a workshop on effective practicing at the Carolina Flute Summit; however, the event was rescheduled for a date I was unavailable. Hopefully, I’ll be able to participate with the South Carolina Flute Society in the very near future.

I’ve continued researching the flute music of Joan Tower, and I’ve added the flute music of Jennifer Higdon as a primary research topic.

I increased my involvement with the Atlanta Flute Club when I was elected President in February. This group is a well-oiled machine, and I’m happy to be able to jump in and help brainstorm some new ideas within an already-successful group. Some of my specific goals are to increase our membership to include members of various ages and levels and to sponsor even more high-quality programs that give flutists in the Atlanta area access to teachers, performers, and information they otherwise wouldn’t have. This year we’ve instituted the brand new Junior Artist Competition for students through the 10th grade, which complements our well-established Young Artist Competition. We have several great events planned for 2012, so stay tuned!

Having an article published in the Journal of the British Flute Society was a particular highlight of the year. I was thrilled to have my research on Joan Tower, an American composer, published across the pond. It also gave me the chance, through this and Twitter, to meet some great British flutists.

My teaching responsibilities have increased this year, and I have eagerly embraced the opportunity. Being on faculty at two different colleges gives me the chance to perhaps teach a wider variety of courses than if I just taught at one place. (Of course, there are considerable pitfalls to being part-time at two colleges, but let’s focus on the positive.) This year, new teaching included: assisting with marching band, establishing a flute studio class, starting a flute ensemble, and an introduction to music literature class. I’ve also been busy preparing to fill in for the theory professor when he goes on sabbatical in January; I’ll be teaching two courses from the undergraduate theory sequence as well as form and analysis. I’m really looking forward to teaching these classes.

I’ve also done some of the other college stuff besides teaching classes. I’ve been doing quite a bit of recruiting for one college, which has included a lot of travelling and coordination with the admissions department. I’ve also been designated the chamber music coordinator, which means I schedule student performances throughout the community. Now that the big recruiting event for the year is finished, I’ll be focusing on this more in the first semester of 2012.

And the miscellaneous: I’ve got several big projects in the works for 2012. They’ve taken quite a bit of work this year and will be ready to go very soon. I was very excited to be able to judge the Newly Published Music competition of the National Flute Association. I’ve also started taking occasional lessons again with Christina Smith, principal flute of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. I can’t say enough good stuff about her – what a fantastic musician!

So what’s in store for 2012? As a musician, who knows. I’ve learned that it’s an unpredictable gig, and you just have to do the best you can. Hopefully 2012 brings a full-time job as a music professor. Regardless, I’m going to introduce three big projects and continue writing blog posts. I’m also looking for a new flute – technically, a new “old” flute – a vintage Powell. I’ll be presenting at the Kentucky Flute Convention in January and the British Flute Convention in August; I’m also organizing the Atlanta Flute Club Flute Fair along with the rest of the board. I’m going to submit proposals to perform and present at as many flute conventions as possible, and I hope to also present at several universities over the course of 2012. I also have an article under consideration that I hope is published this year. My biggest plan for 2012 is to focus on musical collaboration. Several recitals are already in the works, but I want to be able to look back on 2012 and see that performing with other musicians has been my primary focus. It took me a while to learn but the collaborative aspect of music performance is really one of the best things about this profession.

What a year! What are your goals? Want to collaborate? Follow me here or on Twitter @TammyEvansYonce.


Atlanta Flute Club stuff

This year, I have the opportunity to serve as President of the Atlanta Flute Club. The responsibilities that go along with each of the activities we sponsor are fairly well-determined, as the same dedicated folks have streamlined the process over several years. This makes my job somewhat easier, so I can focus on other things concerning the club.

It’s really interesting for me to be involved with the Board of Directors of this group because I was fortunate enough to win their Young Artist Competition as a graduate studnet at Indiana University. It was really nice to be able to come back home during my time at IU and still be involved with so many great Atlanta flutists during the competition and then when I returned to give a solo recital during our convention the next year.

Years later, my focus has changed. No longer am I feeling the stress of practicing for and then making a competition recording I can be happy with. My main focus now as President is to make sure that we, as a flute club, are reaching as many flutists as possible. I want to ensure that we have quality programs that appeal to beginners, more advanced students, players in college, graduate students, amateurs, and professionals. I also want to make sure we reach performers as well as those who may be engaging in research involving the flute. I’m convinced that a thriving supportive community of flutists just can’t be wrong.

Any suggestions for Atlanta Flute Club events? Workshops that you’d love to see us host in the Atlanta area? Flutists who you’d like to see give a recital here? I’m always eager to hear your comments and suggestions.

Also make sure you check out our website and Facebook page to keep up with our latest news. We’ve got great stuff going on this year, including (but not limited to) a new competition, our annual Young Artist Competition, opportunities to present workshops, and Ian Clarke as our Flute Fair guest artist!