August 2017 Convention
Minneapolis, MN

Virtuosity and the Modern Moving Flutist

Zara Lawler

photo by Brian Covington

This thoughtful program is one of two that explored aspects of contemporary virtuosity, in this case moving or dancing while playing the flute. All three performers—Zara Lawler, Erika Boysen, and Jane Rigler—led the audience in an interactive, movement-based activity that then turned out to embody some part of the pieces they subsequently performed. It was a wonderful way to get the audience engaged and involved.

Lawler performed a set of Andersen etudes that she has arranged, choreographed, and combined with texts by Rumi and Martha Graham; as always, her intermedia performance was both impressive and meaningful. Boysen performed Rigler’s composition “Dreaming in its Shadow,” a meditative work that utilized the “slow, articulated walk,” as Boysen described it.

Finally, after leading the audience in a t’ai chi-inspired centering exercise, Rigler gave a stunning performance of Vinko Globokar’s “Monolith,” a tour de force in which the flutist also sings throughout the piece, keeping the voice going while switching between piccolo, C flute, and bass flute. This was one of the most memorable performances that I saw at this year’s convention. It held the audience mesmerized. Afterwards, the performers took questions, and Rigler mentioned that although the Globokar did not use obvious, large movements like the other works on this program, nevertheless it was essential to be grounded and centered in the body to perform all the subtle, more internal movements required for this very difficult piece.

This was a good reminder that all of the music we play is created by movements, whether small or large, and that being more aware of and balanced in our bodies can only be helpful no matter what we’re playing.

—Wayla J. Chambo