Friday, February 23, 2024

Etudes by Katyflute

 Dear Flutelovers,

I'm really enjoying the long-running Flute Vlog of Katie Althen-Velázquez . She is a recent graduate of the Juilliard, now free-lancing and making realistic videos about her life as a flutist. See all her vlog videos here

I enjoyed her honest talk about taking auditions as well as how she feels when "down in the dumps". So honest, so real, and such a good reality check! Yes, I feel exactly like that when I'm in the dumps about my playing too!

But here's a new twist! Katie is playing a set of Advanced-Intermediate etudes that I've never heard before, and playing them beautifully, and giving tips! You can download the pdf of the etudes for free at IMSLP: Kummer op 110

And here are the first three videos so far (Kummer Etude youtube playlist).

Kummer Op. 110; Etude no. 1 (video)

Kummer op. 110;  Etude no 2 (video)

Kummer Op. 110;  Etude no 3 (video)

And if these particular Kummer etudes are just a little too advanced, there are plenty of Intermediate etudes on Katie's Playlist; An Etude a Day, which may be more familiar to you.

Enjoy! These are lovely!

Best, Jen

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Celebrating Wibb

Dear Flutelovers,

I spent a lovely rainy Saturday afternoon having my day brightened by the gorgeous sound of the flute playing of William Bennett, the funny stories about his life, and the exquisite playing of Wibb's students. Can't wait to hear part two today in the fog and rain too. Following the concert there is a very interesting interview with Lorna McGhee about studying with Wibb. See below.  Enjoy! Jen

Celebrating Wibb! The William Bennett Memorial Concert

Part 1 (video)

Introduction - Edward Blakeman 

Bach Concerto in G minor - Largo  - William Bennett (Flute)

Dvorak Songs My Mother Taught Me (arr Wibb) - Alena Walentin (Flute), Pavel Timofejevsky (Piano)

Mozart Andante - Lorna McGhee ( Flute ), Rodrigo Ojeda ( Piano )

Tribute - Roger Birnstingle   

Le Thiere  L’Oiseau du Bois - William Bennett (Piccolo)

Fauré  Fantaisie (1st movement) arr Wibb – Kiyoka Ohara (Flute), Roderick Seed (Flute)

Taffanel  Sicilienne-Etude - Denis Bouriakov (Flute), Emmanuel Ceysson (Harp)

Gaubert  Nocturne et Allegro Scherzando - Mathilde Calderini (Flute), Pavel Timofejevsky (Piano)

Poulenc  Hommage à Edith Piaf

Villa Lobos Canção Do Amor  (arr Wibb)  - Lukas Jordan (Flute), Fabrizio Matos (Guitar)

Tribute - Trevor Wye  

Drouet Home Sweet Home - Theme - William Bennett (Flute)


Part 2 (video

Introduction - Edward Blakeman 

Handel Sonata in B minor (Largo/Allegro) - William Bennett (Flute)

Dvorak (arr Wibb) Slavonic Dance Op.17/2 - Wissam Boustany (Flute), Hitomi Furukawa (Flute & Piccolo), Sue Thomas (Alto Flute)

Bach Cello Suite No.2, Prelude (arr Viazovskaya) Back to Bach - Zoia Viazovskaya  (Flute), The Black Square Quartet

Tribute - James Galway 

Elgar (arr. Wibb) La Capricciosa - Anna Kondrashina (Flute) , Pavel Timofejevsky (Piano)

Mel Bonis Sonata 1st movement - Emily Beynon (Flute), Mariken Zandvliet (Piano)

Tribute & Bach Cello Suite No.3 Bourrées - Steven Isserlis ( Cello )

Clifford Benson  A Song for Wibb - Joel Tse (Flute),  Pavel Timofejevsky (Piano)

Mendelssohn  Spring Song - William Bennett (Flute)

Saint-Saëns (arr Wibb) Softly Awakes My Heart (from Samson et Dalilah) 

Blessing - Revd. Tessa Bosworth


Lorna McGhee interview on Flute Unscripted (video)

Monday, December 25, 2023


 Dear Flutelovers,

Happy Ho-ho-hos to all near and far on this festive day! And Healthy thriving New Year too! There has been much discussion and happy new discovery on one of the flute groups this week about the marvellous group Quintessenz.

If you only listen to one performance make it this flute quintet version of Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks by R. Strauss: (video)

Quintessenz has been around since 1996 and I was the happy recipient of some of their earliest scores from piccoloist/arranger Gudrun Hinz. She's a kind and wonderful soul. I see she's not currently performing with the group, so I hope all is well.
 See more of their stuff here:

Newest Videos

Older albums

Purchase scores/parts

Enjoy the happy season, 

Best, Jen

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

November flutey things

 Dear Flutelovers,

Four things of interest to see online this month:

1. All issues of Flutetalk online are now free to read. There's no search or index function but holy cow there are tons and tons of topics covered from 2008 to now. Wowza.

2. A wonderfully in-tune flutist, Barry Griffiths, with terrific dynamics and soulful interp. has begun recording all the flute quartet repertoire.

You can use his recordings to pre-rehearse before your quartet rehearsals by playing along. When I was preparing students for quartet, I only wish I'd had these recordings of the quartet repertoire for prep. and time-saving with so few reherasals! For example, this is so in tune for bass flute unison with C-flute; wowza!

A Gaelic Offering by McMichael - Lake Solace (video)

Hear all of Griffith's multiple-flute videos here.

3. This interview with teacher Terri Sanchez was super interesting. And here are Terri's technical know-how flute videos.

4. And this ribs and flutist's shoulder-blades article was super interesting too. I'm hoping there will be more on this topic, as this is where my primary flute injury is: the left scapula. I'm now working it out with trigger point massage therapy. Will update when more news.

Enjoy your upcoming holidays with all this great flute stuff.

Best, Jen

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Geneva Flute Competition

Dear Flutelovers, If you've been watching the 77th Concours de Genève online some of the flute recital presentations are really compelling! 

Update: Nov. 5/23; Winner: Elizaveta Ivanova.

Final Round: (video)

First Round (video playlist) was an online recital. See repertoire lists below.
As of today's date we are mid-way through the Semi-final Round (video playlist).

Eight flutists were selected for the semi-final round of the competition and the top three names went on to the Finals: 

1st - Elizaveta Ivanova, 26 years old 
 2nd - Mario Bruno, 25 years old 
2nd - Yuan Yu, 21 years old 
 Rafael Adobas Bayog, 25 years old
Heewon Han, 21 years old 
Sooah Jeon, 15 years old (video 2nd round)
Judy Lee, 18 years old 

Repertoire list:

 Round One - ONLINE RECITAL (45 min) 

 F. Martin : Ballade for flute and piano (7’)

One sonata for flute and piano from the following list: 
J.F. Barnett: Grand Sonata in G minor, Op.41 (19’) 
M. Bonis: Sonata (15’) 
P. Boulez: Sonatine (12’) 
M. Olbersleben: Fantaisie Sonata op.17 (21’) 
S. Prokofiev: Sonata (25’) 
C. Reinecke: Sonata Undine (25’) 
E. Schulhoff: Sonata (13’) 
C.M. Widor: Suite Op. 34 (19’) 

One contemporary work for flute solo from the following list: 
B. Furrer: Melodia (2020) (6’) 
M. Jarrell: Le point est la source de tout (2020) 
L. Lim: Bioluminescence (2019) (7’) 
P. Manoury: Soubresauts (2020) (7’) 
M. Pintscher: Beyond (2013) (12’) 
J. Widmann: Petite Suite (2016) (6’) 

 Rest of the programme as free choice.
NB: The recital should not exceed 45 minutes including entrances/exits to the stage and eventual pauses.

 SEMI-FINAL ROUND IN 3 PARTS maximum 8 candidates 

 I. Solo Recital (50-60 min): 45% of the evaluation 
 Free programme: The repertoire of the Solo Recital is at the free choice of the candidate. It must be constructed as a concert and explained using programme notes. The repertoire can include solo pieces and pieces with piano. 
 NB: The Solo Recital should not exceed 60 minutes including the entrances/exits of the stage and the possible pauses. 

 II. Semi-Final: Chamber Music (approx. 45 min): 35% of the evaluation 
 One baroque sonata with harpsichord from the following list: 
J. S. Bach: Sonata in E minor, BWV 1034 (14’) 
J. S. Bach: Sonata in E Major, BWV 1035 (12’) 
C. P. E. Bach: Sonata in E Major, H 506, Wq 84 (14’) 
C. P. E. Bach: Sonata in D Major, H 505, Wq 83 (13’) 
W. F. Bach: Sonata in E minor, FK 32 (11’) 
M. Blavet: « La Vibray » Sonata n°2 in D minor, Op.2 (11’) 
M. Blavet: « La Lumagne » Sonata n°4 in G Major, Op.2 (12’) 
J. M. Leclair: Sonata n°2 in E minor, Op.9 (15’) 
J. M. Leclair: Sonata n°7 in G Major, Op.9 (11’) 
G. B. Platti: Sonata n°6 in G Major, Op.3 (11’) 

 A. Jolivet: Chant de Linos for flute, string trio and harp (11’) 

 K. Juillerat: Work commissioned by the Competition for flute, clarinet and piano (15-20’) 

III. Semi-Final: Personal Artistic Project: 20% of the evaluation Presentation and defense of a personal artistic project 


 W. A. Mozart: Andante in C Major, K. 315 
as well as:
 One concerto from the following list: 
M. A. Dalbavie: Flute concerto 
J. Ibert: Flute concerto 
C. Nielsen: Flute concerto 
________________  end 77th Concours de Genève

Enjoy the competition. Winners updated as announced. Nov. 5th 2023.
Best, Jen

Monday, October 23, 2023

Bouriakov performs Ballade by Gaubert

 Hello flute-lovers,

Just came across this lovely flute and piano work which I had not realized has free sheetmusic too!

Denis Bouriakov performs Philippe Gaubert's Ballade (video):

And here's the free sheetmusic in pdf at IMSLP: Ballade by Gaubert in pdf

Lovely to find music that's new to me and so in character for the instrument!


best, Jen

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Brief Biography

Circa 1980

Dear Flutelovers,

The other day I received an email from a new reader who didn't know what kind of a flute career I'd had, so I thought I'd re-introduce myself to any other new readers out there in the land of antique flute blogging. ;>)

My name is Jennifer Cluff and I've been playing the flute since the age of 11 (which would have been 1972!). My formal bio is here.

I had failed at being interested in the piano, had disliked the sound of beginner violin, and actually started on the Recorder in grade 4 with in-class lessons, but it was when I entered a new school in grade 7 that we were offered woodwinds and brass for the first time. My principal influences were "Tubby the Tuba" and a visit of a professional orchestra to our school, and I chose the flute because it sounded heavenly.

Within a week I'd learned the fingerings for three octaves, and within a year I was a soloist in front  of the school orchestra. (I played on TV too that year!)

But it wasn't until I was 14 that I took my first private flute lesson, at which it was discovered I wasn't actually reading music, but playing by ear and using written-in note-names only to figure out the rest.

From that first lesson forward, it was Royal Conservatory training all the way, taking grades 6, 9, 10, A.R.C.T. in the next four years, and all the requisite Theory, Harmony, Counterpoint, Piano, Ear Training and Sight Singing, as well as Chamber Music, Choral Music and playing in regional and student orchestras.

I then entered the University of Toronto Faculty of Music and studied an additional four years for a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance. We had conductors like Otto Werner Mueller, and were featured in live radio broadcasts performing things like Firebird by Stravinsky with me on piccolo. It was stunning! It was a thrill ride!

I injured my left scapula area in fourth year during my graduating recital preparation and then, as soon as the recital was successfully completed, I took 7 years off from playing to mend my muscles, changing study areas several times, and travelling to various parts of the country.

Then, after returning to the flute while living in a small town, I was suddenly named principal flute of a newly formed orchestra and then played in that group for 12 years. After the orchestra I played with a few chamber groups (videos). Eventually, however, I found myself emotionally crashing out with an arm injury that just wouldn't stop wounding me. I couldn't be perfect enough. I couldn't get my confidence back....and I gradually wound down my performing to nurse my injuries.

Then, after 27 years of teaching, at the intermediate level mostly, (most of my students were RCM grades 6-10) I retired from private flute teaching during Covid lockdown in the spring of 2020 in part to co-ordinate with staff changes at our school, and a newer flute teacher arriving, and in part because I couldn't see a future in teaching with a respiratory virus going around like wildfire.

I was happy to retire from teaching, and since Covid, have also taken several years off playing. To tell you the truth, I was a bit downhearted and certainly over-tired.

But now, rested somewhat, I'm beginning to dust off the flute and piccolo again and exploring new avenues in my 60s. It's not a time to restart a performing career, but I do know an awful lot now about people and about fluteplaying.

My musicality was my strength and I had imitative and complex interpretive abilities plus a great deal of heart when I performed and taught. But I still wished I'd had perfect pitch, was able to instantly memorize written music,  and I felt I would have gone farther if I had started quality training earlier, but there you go. So there's a biographical update.

If you have any questions, feel free to use the comment button below.

I've got a lot of funny stories about the early days of flute teaching and performing onstage..... Like the time the conductor had a stroke just seconds before the opening of the Nutcracker Ballet, and he forcefully "went on with the show" anyway with two ambulance assistants crouched down in the orchestra pit with us and an oxygen tank. By the end of the show he could barely move his arms at all, but wanted to bow and leave the pit by himself. It was a monumentally weird Nutcracker that night!

 Or the time I sat next to a famous clarinetist who'd gone deaf and he couldn't hear the conductor tell the entire orchestra where to begin playing in rehearsal, so we who sat near him had to gently tell him without telling him: "Let's go, Earl, five after B, NOW!" right in his ear.

Or the very first regional orchestra I played in, where the vioinists actually smoked while they rehearsed. It was all "smoke 'em if you got 'em" and empty tuna cans were set out under their chairs to use as ashtrays.

My absolute favourite orchestral performance that I played in as a profesh was with Cleo Laine and Johnny Dankworth. It was a thrill ride to be onstage with that powerful rhythmic fever! My second favourite was anytime the music made the musicians spontaneously cry as they finished a movement (Nimrod by Elgar) or the audience roar with approval (Pictures at an Exhibition/Tchaik 5/Scheherazade etc.). 

Hey....Tell YOUR story. Use the comment button. :>)

There are many colourful stories to be shared.  :>)

Best, Jen