Minako Hachijo Recital Review

For the second time in the span of a week, we were treated to a superb flute recital in our adopted city of Sapporo. Minako Hachijo’s recital, “Flute Journey,” had us savoring flavors from nearly three centuries of flute repertoire from France, Germany, Austria, and the United States. The first half of the program was focused on the Baroque era with harpsichord accompaniment:

Gluck – Dance of the Blessed Spirits
Blavet – Sonata in d minor, op. 2-2, “La Vibray”
JS Bach – Sonata in b minor, BWV 1030

True to her background studies at l’École Normale de Musique de Paris, Ms Hachijo’s sound was sweet with a facile lightness and clarity commonly associated with the French style of flute playing. It was refreshing to hear such purity of sound and concept in a world where loud and strident have come to rule. Ms Hachijo’s ornamentation perfectly balanced scholarly, tasteful, and pleasing elements. The second half of the program accompanied by piano was:

Mozart – Andante in C Major, K. 315
Schubert – Introduction and Variations on “Trockne Blumen” from “Die schöne Müllerin,” D. 802
Fauré – Fantasie, op. 79
Liebermann – Sonata, op. 23

In this segment of the program, Ms Hachijo left no question that her technical facility is on par with her exquisite sound and musicianship. She gets “bonus points” simply for programming the extraordinarily difficult and demanding Liebermann at the end of an already packed program. She didn’t just program it, though; she delivered it with a punch! Kudos to Ms Hachijo on a flute recital beautifully curated, and even more beautifully performed.

Masakazu Tachibana Recital Review

Sapporo flutist Masakazu Tachibana proved once again that one need not be in Paris, Berlin, or New York to hear a world-class flute recital. Mr. Tachibana’s September 12th Italian themed program was adventurous, entertaining, inventive, and spectacularly well performed. The repertoire for the evening was:

Eduardo di Capua – O Sole Mio (arranged for flute and piano)
J.S. Bach – Italian Concerto (arranged for flute and piano)
Gary Schocker – Piccolo Italiano
Jun-Ichiro Taku – Carnival of Venice
Gabriel Faure – Siciliano
Luciano Berio – Sequenza I
Stravinsky – Pulcinella Suite (arranged for flute and piano)

The program opened with Mr. Tachibana showcasing his beautiful, full sound and expressive lyricism. His range of tone color and dynamics was masterful, and the ensemble with accompanist Mariko Kaneko was impeccable. The true show of Mr. Tachibana’s performance prowess came with the Gary Schocker and Jun-Ichiro Taku selections. He dressed the part of an Italian dandy, and treated the audience to humorous interpretation, beatboxing, moonwalking, and fluting while doing the limbo, all on top of a formidable, jaw-dropping technical wizardry on flute and piccolo alike.

This was a recital I will not soon forget. It was more than a flute recital or flute performance. It was truly performance art. If you do not know the name Masakazu Tachibana or his playing, you SHOULD!!

D-flat Piccolo in the Orchestra???

Though they do exist, there are exceedingly few orchestral parts originally written for Db piccolo. There are many instances, however, when transposing a C piccolo part down a half-step and playing on Db piccolo makes a particularly trying passage more manageable in terms of technical difficulty, control, pitch, or any combination thereof. Below is a list of some of the repertoire we found playing on Db piccolo most beneficial. Db piccolos are no longer being made by the major instrument manufacturers, but they rather routinely appear for sale on used instrument forums, so keep an eye out for one of your own!

Delibes – Coppelia, “Musique des automates” (for technical ease)
solo @ reh. 67

Grofé – Grand Canyon Suite (for technical ease)
opening solo

Ippolitov-Ivanov – Caucasian Sketches, “Cortège du Sardar”
(for technical ease and pitch)
opening solo to reh. B

Mahler – Symphony #1 (for pitch)
opening solo
Symphony #2 (for pitch)
5th mvt, reh. 29-31
Symphony #8 (for pitch and control)
final scene, reh. 199
(unison with two pics – both players need to agree on C pic or Db pic)

Prokofiev – Symphony #5 (for control)
3rd mvt, 2 before reh. 77

Ravel – Bolero (for pitch and control)
E Major upper pic line written into the Fl. 2 part
Piano Concerto in G (for technical ease)
1st mvt end

Shostakovich – Piano Concerto #2 (for technical ease)
3rd mvt
Symphony #6 (for pitch and control)
1st mvt solo before reh. 9

Sousa – Stars and Stripes Forever (for efficiency!)
If you play the orchestra part on C piccolo and the band part on Db piccolo, you can always play the march in 2 sharps! No need to learn two different keys.

Verdi – Aida (backstage banda pic parts)
The banda has two piccolos, each with C pic and Db pic passages. If both piccoloists have Db piccolos, it’s just fun to play the parts as written without any transpositions.

Andreas Blau in Sapporo

Andreas Blau, former Principal Flutist of the Berlin Philharmonic, kicked off his mentoring at the 2018 Pacific Music Festival with a masterclass last night in Sapporo’s Concert Hall Kitara.  He offered many musical and technical insights to masterclass performer Yumie Nakamura, a freshman at Hokkaido University, as she tackled the notoriously difficult Jolivet Chant de Linos.  PMF Academy participants and members of the public alike were furiously taking notes as Herr Blau offered tips on approaching the piece.  His advice particularly on varying vibrato for expressive purposes and directing the air stream through the phrase (rather than to the highest note in a passage) produced enormous improvements in Ms Nakamura’s performance of the piece.  No doubt, many of those in attendance will be taking all the gems of advice home to mark in their own parts.

For your further enjoyment, we are attaching a link to a conversation of a few years ago between Herr Blau and Emmanuel Pahud when they were the sitting Co-Principal Flutists of the Berlin Philharmonic.  The conversation is in German with English subtitles.


Denis Bouriakov in Sapporo

Flutology Lab is excited to share the news that Denis Bouriakov, Principal Flutist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will be in Sapporo for the month of July as flute mentor, clinician, and soloist with the Pacific Music Festival.  Mr. Bouriakov kicked off his activities in Sapporo with a pre-festival performance of the following program at Kitara Hall on Thursday, June 21:
Jean Sibelius – Violin Concerto in d minor (arr. Bouriakov)
Lowell Liebermann – Sonata
Pierre Sancan – Sonatine
Luciano Berio – Sequenza I
CPE Bach – Sonata in a minor

The performance showcased Mr. Bouriakov’s full rich tone, formidable technique, and engaging musicianship.  Those in attendance were awed by the opportunity to hear him live in a solo recital setting.  The performance of Mr. Bouriakov, an Altus Performing Artist, was sponsored in part by Altus Flutes who brought an array of exquisite instruments for those in attendance to try on site.

Mr. Bouriakov’s summer at the Pacific Music Festival 2018 will culminate with him as soloist with the PMF Orchestra, Valery Gergiev conducting, on Sunday, July 29, 2018 3:00 p.m. at Kitara Symphony Hall.  He will be the featured soloist in Leonard Bernstein’s Halil for Flute and Orchestra.  Also on the program are:
W.A. Mozart – Oboe Concerto
Gustav Mahler – Symphony #7

Details on Mr. Bouriakov’s open masterclasses and open rehearsals will be posted as soon as this information becomes available.  The Pacific Music Festival Orchestra is comprised of young musicians (under age 30) selected by international audition.  The 2018 PMF Orchestra flute section members are Hyeon-Jeong Choi (S.Korea), Marta Gomez Alonso (Spain), Ning Hsu (Taiwan), Tommaso Pratola (Italy), and Aliya Vodovozova (Russia).  Keep your ears open for great music from these five in the future!

ようこそ札幌へ / Welcome to Sapporo

We are finally getting settled in our beautiful new Sapporo, Japan location.  We cannot say enough about the natural beauty of the city of Sapporo, the northern island of Hokkaido, and the hospitality of the people.  The arts are revered here and the flute community is strong and active.  We are looking forward to sharing the excitement of Flutology Lab Sapporo!


NFA 2016 in Review

National Flute Association conventions are always an invigorating four days filled with wonderful performances, learning opportunities, exhibits, and friendships – new and old.  Where else can one hear Baroque flute, beatbox, klezmer, and jazz all in the same day?  …or be introduced to the astonishing youngsters of tomorrow, brimming with technical facility and artistic passion, on the same program one pays tribute to such venerable luminaries as the 93-year old Bill Hebert, former piccoloist of the Cleveland Orchestra?

I look at the above photo, and smile.  …two of my favorite people – David Straubinger (Straubinger Flutes) and Paul Chang (Ochres Music).  As with so many others I saw at the convention, my path crossed with these two, and was changed forever for the better.  Every year, there are new flutes, new innovations, new compositions.  But the foundation of it all is a shared history with the many flutists – friends and colleagues – that make an indelible mark on your music and your life.

Flutology Blog!

It’s that time of year again – the countdown to NFA!  Only this year, we have the added anticipation of launching our website to coincide with the usual excitement, frenzy, and flutistic flights of fancy associated with the convention.  Just as the convention is a journey, so too, we expect this blog and this website to be journeys.  We are beyond excited to share this journey with you as we step into the larger realm of the world wide web flute community.  So with flute in hand, and music in the soul, we take this next step.

See you in San Diego and beyond!