Samuel Baron

I recently ran across this great little interview with the well-known flutist Samuel Baron (1925 – 1997). He was very active in New York as a performer, teacher, and conductor. He served as President of the National Flute Association from 1977 – 1978. He left behind a very long, impressive list of students; he studied with Georges Barrère, whose pedagogical lineage goes back to Paul Taffanel and Joseph Henri Altès. Baron also was involved with the Bach Aria Group, an ensemble made up of vocalists and instrumentalists who came together to perform the music of J.S. Bach. He first was associated with the group as a performer and later took over leadership after the original founder stepped down.

The entire interview is absolutely worth reading, but here are a few specific highlights that really spoke to me:

– The differences between playing in the orchestra (“You’re playing, really, the heart of classical music, and you must be, from the technical point of view, absolutely impeccable…”), as a soloist (“To be a soloist is really to be up there on a mountain peak…”), and in chamber groups (“The chamber music player lies between these two poles of the orchestra player and soloist… deeply involved in the study of the whole work, in the interpretation.”).

– “[J.S. Bach] sets very, very high goals, and we have to achieve them.”

– Bruce Duffie: “There seems to be a strange connection between Bach and contemporary music, leaving a big hole in the middle.”
Samuel Baron: “That’s correct. All flute players recognize that… Bach is always contemporary.”

– “… I have always been interested in new music… I have found that it’s the most vital and exciting part of being a musician.”

Check out the entire interview between Samuel Baron and broadcaster Bruce Duffie here: