Flute Stories: 101 Inspirational Stories from the World's Best Flute Players
Edited by John D. Sinclair
Published by Windplayer Publications
In these pages, the most celebrated flute players in the world offer their personal stories and experiences, from the lighthearted to the deeply emotional. Their words, touching the many highs and lows along the rocky road to success, will inspire and empower any artist or musician attempting that same difficult journey.
Who knew that the path to success as a world-class flute player could involve working at Pizza Hut or picking strawberries? Or having to teach yourself bass violin just to get a spot in an orchestra? Or being told by your musical idol that you don't stand a chance as a professional flutist and should start looking for another line of work?
These are the stories from the people at the top – the flutists who met the challenges, struggled through the tough times, and ultimately made it in the competitive world of professional musicianship. Without exception, every flute player in this book has a place somewhere among the world's most talented, brilliant, respected, and successful msuicians.
That is not to say that this collection is exhaustive, and there are various reasons why some outstanding flute players could not be included. Some were impossibly busy, on the move, or otherwise difficult to contact, and a few politely declined to be interviewed. If someone's name isn't here, that doesn't mean it shouldn't be.
But of the 101 world-renowned flutists who do appear in this book, each gave generously of their time, insight, experiences, and the results are priceless. Their backgrounds cover the spectrum from Alabama to Zurich, from thronging Beijing and cosmopolitan New York to the tiny mountain villages of Venezuela. There are flutists who fought in World War II and others who were still in school when the Berlin Wall took a tumble. There are legends like Julius Baker, celebrated for a lifetime of accomplishment, and young artists such as Catherine Ransom and Davide Formisano who have just begun blazing trails. There are those, like Jeanne Baxtresser, who have earned top chairs in the world's most distinguished orchestras, and others, such as Robert Dick, who risked everything to find fulfillment on the independent pathway. There are pioneers like Frances Blaisdell, the first female flustist for the New York Philharmonic, and Herbie Mann, who was playing jazz back when no one thought the flute could be a jazz instrument. There are revered conservatory teachers like Robert Willoughby and popular artists, like Ian Anderson, who were schooled on stage.
Their stories range from lighthearted to deeply emotional from the many struggles of studenthood to the serious issues that a musician can face at any point in his or her career. Here you'll find great and horrible teachers, failed auditions and sudden windfalls, overwhelmed parents straining to balance kids and career, crooked embouchures and agonizing technical problems, minimum-wage jobs and career breakthroughs, battles with life-threatening illness, the patient triumph of nursing an injury back to health, and the sheer joy of living a life devoted to music.
Every single one of these stories is unique, but all 101 flutists have one thing in common – they never gave up. If you play the flute – or if you aspire to any artistic calling – you'll find stories here that speak to your own questions, frustrations, goals, and experiences, regardless of the path you're following.
– John D. Sinclair, Editor