August 2009 Convention
New York, NY

Impressions of a British Newcomer

This was my first time visiting an NFA convention, and I was delighted to have been invited to play. The convention venue was located in the heart of Times Square, allowing visitors the opportunity to explore the city, wonderful local restaurants, and nearby Broadway theatres.  I came to the convention with the aim of performing, making and re-connecting with friends new and old, and hearing great music. It was not difficult to achieve these aims. The atmosphere was welcoming and friendly, and the trade area proved to be the optimum place for running into friends. I was impressed by the range of companies displaying their products, and welcomed the opportunity to try some of the brands we are not used to here in the UK.  As a British player, I was one of a number of foreign visitors to the convention, and there was a truly international feel to the proceedings.

The performances were numerous and varied, and I didn’t attend as many as I would have liked, as I had a number of meetings arranged during my time in NYC. However, I was impressed with the variety of programming, including early flutes, standard repertoire, new music, electronic music, Klezmer, and jazz. There was something for everybody, and also the opportunity to hear something new, which to me lies at the heart of any convention. I want to hear the things I enjoy hearing, but I also want to go home inspired to explore new areas of repertoire or new techniques, and in this respect I wasn’t disappointed.

Memorable performances and works included Tallis’ Spem in Alium arranged and conducted by Trevor Wye, a concert of wind chamber music including a fine performance by Amy Morris, Johnathan Keeble’s performance of Stephen Andrew Taylor’s Agoraphobia for flute, harp and electronics, Mathias Ziegler’s demonstration of the wonderful new Kingma-Brannen alto flute, Jean-Louis Beaumadier’s spectacular and humorous recital, and the wonderful concerto Gala concert. Robert Dick’s playing in that concert will stay in my mind for a very long time. 

—Carla Rees