August 2016 Convention
San Diego, CA

Kaleidoscope Closing Concert: Part 1

Clyde Mitchell conducting the NFA Professional Flute Choir

As always, the convention’s closing event—this year called the Gala Kaleidoscope Concert—was a wonderful reflection of the convention’s diversity. It opened with Clyde Mitchell conducting the NFA Professional Flute Choir in the NFA premiere of Daniel Dorff’s Fireworks. The spirited performance was followed by a beautiful rendition of Peace is the Way, a work by NFA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Katherine Hoover. As a prelude, Mitchell noted that “there is no way to peace; peace is the way.”

Carol Wincenc

Next, Eastman Professor Bonita Boyd teamed with pianist Barry Snyder in John La Montaine’s Come Into My Garden. The powerful performance honored the spirit of the work, at turns intimate and spacious. Hungarian flutist-composer Gergely Ittzés followed, explaining that the 16-minute solo he had composed for the occasion, A Most International Flute Festival,  was a tad over his five-minute allotment. He proceeded instead to give a rousing performance of his work Mr. Dick is Thinking in Terms of a Blues Pattern, an homage to composer and flutist Robert Dick.

Jennifer Gunn, Mary Kay Robinson, Brian Gordon, Donald Gottlieb

Carol Wincenc and her former student Catherine Ransom Karoly then took the stage with pianist John McDonald for the first movement of Steven Stucky’s Concerto for Two Flutes, originally written for flutists Anne Diener Zentner and Janet Ferguson of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the very orchestra where Karoly is now associate principal flutist. Conceived as an elegy for Witold Lutoslawski, Wincenc offered it as an elegy to Stucky, who died earlier this year. The flute lines wound around each other seamlessly over the stark, bell-like piano in the appropriately solemn performance.

Bill Hebert and Brian Gordon

Peter Verhoyen, principal piccoloist of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, declared prior to his performance that the convention had been great for flute and fantastic for piccolo. He and pianist Lillian Buss Pearson gave an exuberant performance of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Cappriccioso, originally for violin and orchestra. The piccolo fun continued with Donald Gottlieb, Brian Gordon, Jennifer Gunn, and Mary Kay Robinson playing a stunning, beautifully blended performance of the first two movements of Eugène Bozza’s quartet Jour d’été à la montagne. They dedicated their performance to their teacher, retired Cleveland Orchestra piccoloist Bill Hebert, who was in the audience.

Editor’s note: read about the second portion of the Gala Kaleidoscope Concert and Closing Ceremonies in this year’s convention chronicles, or here.

NFA Professional Flute Choir

—Timothy Hagen