It's difficult to come up with a long list of famous flute players. I’m sure everyone has Sir James Galway on their list, but most of us can’t go a whole lot further than that. If you can name five, that’s pretty good. If you can name ten, I’m impressed. There are dozens of really wonderful flute players out there. Unfortunately flute players just don’t command as much name recognition as pianists, violinists or artists in more popular genres.
Nonetheless, the professional flute world is teeming with talent. Many of the best flutists, like Jeanne Baxtresser and Alexa Still can be found teaching at our great music schools. Others, like Robert Langevin of the New York Philharmonic are orchestral players. Then there are the artists in the non classical genres. The latin heritage of Viviana Guzman and Nestor Torres come through loud and clear in their fiery jazz style. And for all of you old rockers out there, don’t forget Tim Weisberg or Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame.
We owe Jean-Pierre Rampal a great debt of gratitude for reviving the popularity of the flute in the twentieth century, but he’s not the only historical player worth knowing. Marcel Moyse’s Exercises Journaliers and De la Sonorité remain the standard for advanced tonal and technical studies. Theobald Boehm invented the modern flute and Giulio Briccialdi added a very handy little key that I would find it hard to live without.
Whether you are able to name five famous flutists or fifty, it never hurts to expand that list. Take a few minutes and read about one professional flute player that you may not be familiar with. Learn about their life, their career and their music. Take a listen on YouTube, or better yet, purchase and download one of their recordings. The world of professional flute players is diverse and rich and well worth getting to know. Not sure where to start? Check out the following list of great flute players past and present.
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