The NYC Flute Fair

I attended my first flute club fair this March 28 at The Lighthouse on 59th Street in NYC. I had no idea really what to expect so everything was new and somewhat of a surprise for me. The subway ride on the 4 train was really something. I got off at 59th street of course but the four train is about 8 stories down in the grown. I had to climb four flights or more plus a long escalator drive which seemed like 5 stories up.

Well, of course being an old guy this is not too much fun for me. But I made it to the fair and found the building. I had to register, and pay my money, and I attended the first master class with the guest artist, Jean Ferrandis from Paris. I really did not like his presentation because it was too much about him and not enough about music, but many performing musicians have this problem. In fact so many that it has turned me off from musicians, that now I only want to deal with myself.

Greg Henry Waters and Carla Auld

Anyway, the students were lovely, I only wished they had a better coach, one who was more interested in the music then in making himself look good.

What was impressive about the fair is that they had so many events in one day and one could not take them all in at once. Exhibits, Flute Manufactures and Companies, Masterclass, which I just spoke about, Workshops and Ensembles, Concert Competition Finals, it almost was too much to take in for one day.

I did not see everything so it is hard for me to talk about everything, I guess I have to wait until next year to attend the workshops I missed.

They had a new music concert with the music of Gary Schocker, I enjoyed the last piece on the program, it was a duet. It certainly wasn't Walter Piston's music that is for sure, but pleasant and good for students. The best part of the day for me was the 8 finalist, they played a lot of modern pieces which I really enjoyed and they all played very well. How they picked the winners I do not know, but they did. In fact what was disappointing for me was the choice of music at the GALA Concert with Jean Ferrandis. His music was all from the same period of music history, 1697 to 1881. He never made it into the 20th century like 20th century composers are not important. But maybe this is what makes music so subjective, all the different performers and what they think music is. For me music is really an objective art form, but sometimes I think I am the only one who thinks so.

For me we are living in a very bad and mad time of music, sometimes I think we all are living in a mental institution of one form or another, not like in the Baroque where the composers were supported by the community. Bach was very happy to have lived during his time of life. I wish I could say the same for with the the event of electronics and sound systems musicians have been put out of work. The blue collar masses control what the music companies produce. I cannot even get my own daughter to listen to instrumental music; she listens to the radio music all day and night on her I-pod and radio.

So instrumental musicians have been placed in a cult environment and they are not a part of middle class life. I say the Flute Club's work is keeping the light alive that the Baroque period of history started so maybe one day the educated schooled musician will not be a cult figure, but have a place on the local TV shows and late night talk shows where now it is just one big commercial for the entertainment industry.

Music has such a long history and has so much information for people to take in. I have been studying most of my life, along with Raja Yoga, and I am still learning about it.

The exhibitors:

When I started out playing the flute some 40 years ago in high school there were two flute companies Powell and Haynes. There were 16 companies at the flute fair just too many to write about here. How is one to chose a flute is my question? I came up with the title that the flute is the Queen of all instruments, because of all the music that has been written for it and the high level of the music too. So maybe this is why there are so many flute manufactures now and they are mostly in MA besides. I was able to try many flutes, not all, but many.

Of course I found one that I liked which was the Burkart top of the line, just 25,000 dollars. For a working musician, I wonder how one is suppose to raise this amount of money?

Carla Auld Concert Artist and Pao_Chieh Tseng, Guo Flutes

We, Carla Auld and myself, had fun playing with the Guo Flutes. Grenadite flutes. Carla has several groups and you can find her on her web site and facebook/

What was surprising for me was how many flutist premiere new works from modern composers. This is very inspiring for me as a composer. But for the last 25 years I have been concentrating on jazz and never was happy with it because I could not get the musicians to play new music. They always wanted to play traditional jazz for the different periods of jazz history.

Also at this fair I was able to reach back into my life with Sam Baron one of the important members of the flute club for many years. He passed away some ten years ago and I just found out about it. He said, “he is a friend of the flute.” He was so attached to his instrument that he viewed people has friends to the flute or not. Which for me, who plays several instruments and my focus always has been on composition this idea is somewhat strange for me to be attached to one thing, but somehow I think it is better to really focus on one thing.

Sam was my first chamber music teacher when I was 19 years old. I had no idea how much his ideas and beliefs were apart of my musical life until I thought about it the last couple of months. You can read about him at my site, a review of the baroque that I wrote. If the musical world followed Sam's beliefs we all would be better off. On Sunday, when I was at the flute fair enjoying real culture the Moscow subway system was being blown up by terrorist.

You see what I mean when we live in a mental institution. I was in Mexico on 9/11 so we know what that is in NYC. I do not but the people of NYC do.

Musicians create love and beauty while the world blows it self up.

The flute clubs, all music clubs, music schools and educators keep the values of music alive. I hope someday instrumental music will not be a cult, but a major part of society life like football is and the super bowl.

This is so sad that we are not really supported by our communities and governments.

I just wish real musicians would speak out more for real music.


Carla Auld and Steve Finley of Haynes Flutes