August 2015 Convention
Washington, D.C.

Flute Smorgasbord

One of the things that I appreciated at this convention was very personal. At the opening ceremonies, when the NFA took its traditional moment to remember those deceased flutists of the past year, Frans Brüggen, who was one of my teachers, was among them.

This year’s convention was really well organized, although this hotel was not one of my favorites, with expensive meals, long corridors, and limited room for the exhibitors. It was a good decision to focus at least three events in this Washington, D.C., venue on Dayton C. Miller and his legendary flute collection, housed at the nation’s Library of Congress. The presenter of these events, Nancy Toff, offered a very cheerful and accurate lecture on Dayton’s rich life and collection. It was excellent that we could make use of St. Thomas Apostle Catholic Church. The acoustics were outstanding, and the music and historical flutes came to life in in its beautiful chamber. We heard manuscripts that are part of the collection at the Library of Congress, an enticement to explore more.

I heard Wissam Boustany perform, with both his pianist and his heart. It seems as if he isn’t even aware of playing his flute anymore: he paints with sounds and colors. Very moving.

Fourth Wall

photo by Brian Covington

One of the wittiest concerts I have ever heard—and seen—was that presented by the Fourth Wall. All three performers jumped, hung upside down, cracked jokes—all while still making music. The tempo was amazing. This is the circus as it was meant to be.

Alexander Murray

photo by Brian Covington

I was not able to hear Jeff Dening speak about the development of the modern flute—it was too crowded! His handout, however, is very clear, so information to aid in understanding how the 19th-century flute developed is available in this website’s handouts section. Dening’s session was in part a tribute to antique flutes dealer David Shorey, who died this past year. Shorey will be missed by many flute players.

Alexander Murray, at age 86, still remains pleasant and energetic! I have known him since about 1970, when he taught in The Hague in The Netherlands. I learned a great deal from both him and his wife, and I enjoyed seeing him again this summer.

—Mia Dreese