Gala Flute Concert
By Rob Klevan
Since I was well aware of the outstanding reputations of the musicians participating in the Summer Arts Gala Flute Concert, I looked forward to being treated to a top-tiered performance of flute repertoire by top-tiered professionals. What I and the other audience members who were fortunate enough to be in attendance at the World Theater experienced the evening of July 19th was two hours of musical prowess, showmanship and entertainment. The concert started with a beautiful interpretation of a Philippe Gaubert flute sonata performed by Rena Urso-Trapani, of the Bob Cole Conservatory, and pianist Bryan Pezzone. The interchange and dialogue between these musicians was magical.
From then on, the concert grew more and more interesting. Bryan Pezzone is not only a gifted pianist and musical partner as an accompanist, but also an exceptional composer. His work Skeeball, performed by flutist John Barcellona, the course coordinator for the Summer Arts flute workshop, with the composer at the piano, was gorgeous, exciting, jazzy, fun and improvisational at a very high-level. It was one of the most enjoyable modern works I ever heard, from this gifted amateur flutist. Yet another followed immediately, Three Beats for Beatbox Flute, written by Greg Pattillo and performed adeptly by Barcellona, who walked on stage clothed in hip-hop dress asking the audience “You ready for some Beatbox?”
The star of the evening was the incomparable Carol Wincenc (pictured), a member of the music faculty at the Juilliard School, introduced by her co-conspirator John Barcellona as the “First Lady of the flute.” The three Summer Arts flute instructors then joined Pezzone in two of the Four Pieces for Three Flutes & Piano by Louis Moyse, son of the legendary Marcel Moyse.
After a brief intermission, the Summer Arts Flute Orchestra, made up of twenty students from the workshop, performed with Wincenc an arrangement by Dorli McWayne of Gluck’s Minuet and Dance of the Blessed Spirits, with Barcellona conducting. The treatment and performance of this standard in flute literature was clearly well-rehearsed and incredibly musical. Wincenc then treated the audience to two works for flute and piano, accompanied by pianist Wendy Caldwell: Soliloquy by Jake Heggie, and Romania!, a collection of gypsy and pan pipe tunes arranged by Daniel Paget. Both of these unique works were written specifically for Wincenc and she gave them true justice in her performance.
The evening ended with a staged performance of Franz Doppler’s interpretation of a scene from Bellini’s La Sonnambula (The Sleepwalker) for two flutes and piano. The opera characters, played by Barcellona, Wincenc and Caldwell, were dressed in costume and displayed how at-ease the performers are on stage as they acted, danced, and performed, capturing the hearts of us all in the audience. A truly stunning performance to end a stunning evening concert!
The same performers will join famed composer and classical guitarist Christopher Caliendo on Thursday, July 25th, 7pm, at the World Theater. Mr. Caliendo has written well over 600 works for flute and flute ensemble, and in this concert will feature three world premieres. I have a feeling that this is something not to be missed!