August 2018 Convention
Orlando, FL

The Future Is Now: Electroacoustic Flute (and YouTube)

Sarah Jane Hargis

At the 2018 Orlando NFA convention, I mentioned to Anne Welsbacher, who edits NFA publications, that I had just attended an extremely impressive concert of electroacoustic flute music on Friday morning, and she immediately asked me if I would write a piece about the concert for this year’s Convention Chronicles. I said yes, I would be glad to.

Now I’m sitting at home with the program page in front. But guess what? I’m having a hard time remembering specific features of each piece and performance because I didn’t take notes. If I had known then that I was going to write a review I most certainly would have jotted down some detailed observations.

Of the program’s seven pieces, I was familiar with only the first, Judith Shatin’s “For the Fallen,” because I had just written a review for The Flutist Quarterly of Lindsey Goodman’s performance of the piece on her new CD, Returning to Heights Unseen. And it was, of course, Goodman who also played it at this concert—quite splendidly, I might add. Out of curiosity, I wondered if any of the pieces on the concert were on YouTube or Vimeo and, indeed, much to my surprise, they all were—and most of the pieces were performed by the same artists who played in this concert.

So rather than relying on my sometimes unreliable memory, I earnestly recommend that if you have any interest at all in electroacoustic flute music, please listen to these pieces. You will be absolutely astounded!

The works for you to explore online are
“For the Fallen” by Judith Shatin, performed by Lindsey Goodman
“And everything in-between” by Jacob Thiede, performed by Krisztina Dér
“On the Pivot of an Abandoned Carousel” by Kay He, performed by Nicole Riner (on YouTube by Kenzie Slottow)
“Bellow” by Sarah Jane Hargis, performed by Hargis
“Japanese Garden” by Doina Rotaru, performed by Ivana Ugrcic
“Dialectic” by Leszek Wisniowski, performed by Wisniowski.

Wisniowski also performed his own composition, “Interference,” on the convention’s gala closing concert, and I was absolutely stunned not only by his wonderful flute playing but also his deft footwork in manipulating the various pedals on his electronic equipment. He plays the same piece on YouTube, and there you can see very clearly his suave footwork.

Wisniowski also improvises a duet with Robert Dick on another YouTube piece in which he plays on a Dick-designed glissando headjoint flute and Dick plays bass flute.

—Walfrid Kujala