August 2017 Convention
Minneapolis, MN

The Changing Face of Virtuosity in Contemporary Times

Lisa Cella


This was a compelling program of formidably difficult works performed by a stellar group of flutists. Elizabeth McNutt opened the program with Milton Babbitt’s “None but the Lonely Flute.” While not as showy as other works on the program, the Babbitt requires not only mastery of complicated rhythms but also great finesse and control of sound, large intervals, and dynamic range, a kind of “hidden virtuosity,” as McNutt has written.

Several energetic works employing a wide range of extended techniques followed: Lisa Cella played “incompatibile(s) III-b” by Nicolas Tzortis; Jane Rigler performed her own piccolo work “Mukta”; and Michael Matsuno presented Bernhard Lang’s “Schrift 1.2,” a fast paced work that required a line of nine music stands. This was followed by the quieter “Nocturno” by Mario Lavista, which Molly Barth played with beautiful subtlety and control on alto flute. The program closed with the fast, fun, and quirky duet “unengraced” by Anne La Berge (who was in attendance), played by Cella and Matsuno.

The concert was organized by Cella, and it was clearly a very thoughtfully designed program that was effective both in terms of individual works and performances and in its overall conception and flow.

—Wayla J. Chambo