August 2014 Convention
Chicago, IL

Baroque Flute Masterclass with Jan de Winne

Zoe Sorrell

Baroque Flute Masterclass winners Wendy Willis and Zoe Sorrell were up early on Saturday morning to perform for virtuoso traverso player Jan de Winne. A beloved teacher once told me that masterclasses are not for the performers; they are for the audience. This class was no exception.

Wendy Willis began the class with a performance of Telemann's Fantasy in E Minor. She played with a strong and vibrant sound and a wonderfully virtuosic technique. Jan de Winne focused on aspects of performance practice with her, guiding her toward appropriate types and amounts of ornamentation.

Zoe Sorrel and Shalev Ad-El performed the third and fourth movements of the Bach E Minor Sonata. Sorrel’s sound was sweet and pure, perfectly complementing the serene, almost prayerful atmosphere of the Andante. De Winne worked with her on phrasing and breathing unobtrusively, even making a reference at one point to the dark political TV program House of Cards, which left the audience first in shocked silence and then chuckling!

De Winne demonstrated freely and spoke a bit about how we, as modern musicians, live somewhere between the 18th-century ideal and the 19th-century music that we all understand so well from our orchestral listening and playing. He mentioned Quantz but made sure to mention that there is not only one source of information and not only one right answer for how to perform Baroque music. I found his statements about why it’s important not to ornament only to be unique, and to mark a piece of music as your own, to be the most insightful: embellishment must always have a point.

This masterclass was inspiring and exciting. Despite the differences between modern and Baroque flutes, performers of each are prone to many of the same issues. When it comes down to it, whether the music we prefer has extended techniques or complicated French ornaments, it's all just music, and clarity of the message is the most important part.

—Jessica Dunnavant