Published: May 18, 2015 By

panoramic flutist participants at chautauqua

Panoramic Flutist attendees pose at Chautauqua Park.

Yoga: Evoking the Muse. The Movable Flutist. Practice is a Playground. The program for this year’s Panoramic Flutist seminar at CU-Boulder sounds more like a week at the spa than a workshop.

“We focus on the whole musician, body, mind and artistry,” says Associate Professor of Flute Christina Jennings, who this year is organizing the sixth Panoramic Flutist.

The seminar attracts undergraduate and graduate students from elite conservatories and universities such as Rice, Indiana and Oberlin. This year nearly 50 flute players will come to Boulder, most of them from out of state. “The Henderson State University flute studio is coming from Arkansas with the help of a grant, Adams State’s studio will be here, and of course our whole studio will be here to welcome them all,” says Jennings.

The students will participate in a series of master classes, seminars, performances and yes, yoga sessions.

The theme of the program, “Manifesting Music, Movement, Meditation,” evokes a welcoming, nurturing atmosphere where the young musicians can grow together. That’s by design, Jennings says. “Through fun classes, the other teachers and I are empowering students, and we get to experiment with the ideas we’ve been talking about all year.”

Joining Jennings as instructors for this year’s program are two flutists she met in her time as a student at Rice University. Jennifer Keeney runs the Creative Flutist in Austin, and Lisa Garner Santa from Texas Tech University is a flutist and a yoga master. “They’re some of my closest colleagues,” says Jennings. “We’re like-minded musicians and I’m excited to have them here.”

Also on the list of instructors is world-renowned flutist Paula Robison. The Tennessee native has played with symphonies across the globe in some of the most celebrated venues. She’s taught at Juilliard, and currently is the Donna Hieken Flute Chair at New England Conservatory in Boston.

“Paula Robison is the queen bee of flute playing,” says Jennings.

Each teacher will conduct a traditional master class and students will perform for each other with Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano Margaret McDonald. But what makes this week unique are the other events on the schedule.

Garner Santa will lead the flute players in two yoga practices. Jennings will add dancing to the mix when students play and perform choreography to Hue’s Fantasy. “The Moveable Flutist loosely draws upon the ideas in the Dalcroze Eurythmics method, which strives to connect the musical ear with the body, to assist in knowing a musical idea by including the whole body in the learning process,” says Christina. “For this class we will dance the notes off the page by choreographing the music as a group. It should be a blast!”

And then there’s Practice is a Playground, which according to the course description, “turns your practice into a playground for discovery, exploration, challenge, play, inspiration and learning at your highest levels.” 

In addition to attending classes together, the flutists at the seminar will share meals throughout the week. The program culminates with a group hike at Chautauqua Park. “The beauty of Boulder makes it the perfect setting for the lessons we’re trying to teach,” says Jennings.

It’s all part of creating the sense of community that has made Panoramic Flutist such a success. “Flute players like to gather, be inspired and share ideas,” says Jennings. “People feel safe, nurtured and inspired to try new things, to get out of their comfort zones. You get to know each other so well.”

The Panoramic Flutist seminar begins on Tuesday, May 26, and continues through Friday, May 29. Paula Robison will give a public recital during the seminar, on Wednesday, May 27, at 7:30 p.m. in Grusin Music Hall. Tickets are limited and admission is a suggested donation of $10.