Sunday, December 15, 2013

Doriot Dwyer Interview - Part I

Powell player Doriot Anthony Dwyer is a living legend and pioneer of the flute world, having been the first female to hold a principal chair in a major U.S. symphony orchestra.  Dwyer won the principal flute chair for the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1952 and held that position through 1990.  Prior to Boston, she performed as second flutist with the National Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, and as principal flutist with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.  She also performed as a studio musician in Los Angeles and with Frank Sinatra and the Ballets Russes in New York.  She attended the Interlochen Arts Academy and is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music.

ICA Classics released a three-part interview with Ms. Dwyer, and in this video clip, we see the very first of the three segments.  Dwyer recounts her earliest introduction to music at home, listening to radio broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera.  Her familiarity with the operatic literature proved helpful later in her private lessons with then principal flutist of the Chicago Symphony, Ernest Liegl.  Traveling 100 miles from her hometown into Chicago for private lessons, she remembers the hour-long lessons, which consisted of at least one etude followed by orchestral studies.  In this interview, she discusses opera as a genre that she did not necessarily prefer, but that she enjoyed because it was challenging -- and thrilling.  She recalls having to sight-read an opera during her days with the National Symphony.  She credits experiences such as that one to preparing her for the Boston Symphony.  Dwyer explained that she would not allow herself to be distracted and did not want to "slip,"  She said, "I didn't think it was possible to lose track of where I was, because it was just so interesting, but that's exactly where people lose track..." Commenting on her position as a female orchestral flutist in the 1940s, Dwyer remembers her conductor in Washington, D.C.  She says, "They never expected me to me good at all, because I was a girl -- think of that! But, (the conductor) never said he was surprised, because if he did, it would mean he didn't expect much from me, and he didn't want me to feel that way."

Friday, December 6, 2013

Let's Get This Poulenc Started - Cindy Ellis

The Poulenc Sonata for Flute and Piano is a staple of the flute repertoire, and as Powell player Cindy Ellis notes, "the opening is one of our most beloved passages...and one of our trickiest as well."  The opening's high E is particularly a challenging point, but Ms. Ellis demonstrates some techniques for performing the opening with ease.  In the video below, she demonstrates technical exercises using longtones to build control and explains some mechanical options for facilitating the high E (the split-E mechanism and the G disc).

Click here to view the video by Cindy Ellis.
To read more about Cindy Ellis visit: