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Concert: A Flute is Not a Bird

A Recital by Patricia Spencer

Eleanor Davis
 Image Credit: Photo by Peter Schaaf

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— No birds allowed: the vocal and dramatic voice of the flute is given full play in this recital by Patricia Spencer, flutist with the Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players. “A Flute is Not a Bird” will be performed on Thursday, June 13, at 8 p.m. at the Bitó Conservatory Performance Hall of Bard College. Admission is free and no reservations are necessary. For more information go to, or send an e-mail to

The program includes a sampling of “flute theatre,” a 13 minute work by Thea Musgrave called Orfeo, in which the flutist personifies Orpheus, searching for Eurydice in the land of the dead, battling the Bacchantes, and more. Equally dramatic in spirit is Jonathan Harvey’s Run Before Lightning, for flute and piano, with Augustus Arnone, piano.  A vocal quality comes to the fore in a sonata by Frederick the Great, which opens with a Baroque “recitative,” quite unusual in instrumental music.  We find vocal emphasis again in Reza Vali's Folk Song Set Nr. 9, based on Iranian folk tunes. These are for flute and cello, played by Madeleine Shapiro.  Both flutist and cellist literally sing while playing. A trio sonata by CPE Bach, performed with Don Hulbert, flute, and Frederick Hammond, harpsichord, completes the program.

The recital is the opening event in a five-day seminar devoted to the study of present-day flute repertoire.  The exploration of connections between old and new repertoire is one of the primary pursuits of the seminar.  Seminar participants include professional artists, graduate and undergraduate flutists from Wisconsin, Oklahoma, New York and elsewhere. 

An equally adventurous recital by five flutists of the Now and Present Flute Seminar will be offered Tuesday evening June 18, at 8 p.m., also at the Bitó Conservatory Performance Hall. The program will include Gerald Busby, Five Interludes, for flute and piano, with Adam Tendler, guest pianist; George Crumb, Idyll for the Misbegotten, for flute and three percussionists, Mika Godbole, Yumi Tamashiro, and Frank Tyl, guest percussionists; G. Wiley Smith, Whisper on the Land, for flute and piano; Heinz Holliger, Schlafgewölk, for solo alto flute; and Luciano Berio, Sequenza I, for solo flute.

Seminar flutists are Christine Flannery, Don Hulbert, Alex Lissé, Sally Shorrock, Christopher Schelb, and Andrea Lee Smith. 

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This event was last updated on 06-12-2013