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This recital was a treat to put together with pianist Rose Marie Chisholm, despite the circumstances that have limited musicians’ options for collaborations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I wanted to do a program that featured underrepresented composers. This one showcases music by four African-Americans, one South American, three women, and two men.
Andre Myers is a fellow Eastman alum and Californian. His beautiful piece, Falling Skyward, for solo flute provides many opportunities to shape with color, texture, and time. I dedicate my performance to the memory of Breonna Taylor. The Sonata by Irene Britton Smith is originally for violin but lays pretty well in the flute range and offers what I hope will be a standard piece for advanced high schoolers to study. It’s charming, feels very American, and has a stunning middle movement not to be missed. Homeland by Allison Loggins-Hull was originally written for the Myrna Brown Competition in 2018. Loggins-Hull asks, “What happens when home is no longer home?” Through the use of rubato, timbral trills, and other techniques, the piece inspires reflection on the answer to that question.
I learned Valerie Coleman’s Amazonia for flute and piano earlier this year and performed the Virginia premiere at the Mid-Atlantic Flute Convention in March, before the pandemic began in full force in the U.S. As a member of the Flute New Music Consortium‘s commissioning project last year, I received a score in advance and was able to dig in to Valerie’s unique harmonic language and flute sensibilities. Although this version is not her final version of the piece, it firmly holds its place in the canon. Amazonia challenges the performer to paint a vivid picture of nature, through bird calls (of course!), songs, and rhythms. A complete delight to learn and share with the world.
The final piece is Marco Granados’s Hibiee-Jibiees, written in 1996, a piece that I was just introduced to this year while at the Mid-South Flute Festival. Thrilled by its influence from the Venezuelan joropo, I immediately bought the score and learned it, adding my own embellishments in an attempt to mimic those glorious Latin flutists like Nestor Torres and Richard Egües. It was total fun and should prove challenging for years to come!