March 2017 could be considered the Month of the Flute at CU Boulder. In addition to Eklund Opera’s production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” CU Presents’ Artist Series brings Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway to Macky Auditorium for a performance.
And Associate Professor of Flute Christina Jennings has turned the days surrounding the Galway visit into a long-awaited celebration of the flute.
Scheduled for March 21 and 22, the Once a Flutist festival invites flutists from around the region to the Boulder campus for an immersion in the technique, diversity and spirit of the oldest instrument on Earth.
“Flute studio alumni, people who used to play or still play the flute and children who just started playing—and people who just love the flute—are all invited,” Jennings says. “There’s something for everyone!”
The festival’s name grew from the idea that once you’ve become a flutist, no matter what direction your life takes, you will always be a flutist at heart.
Stretching over two days and culminating with the Galways’ performance the evening of the 22nd, the Once a Flutist schedule is packed with master classes for CU students and members of the Colorado Flute Association, panels on flute teaching, a lunchtime jazz concert with Thompson Jazz Studies director John Gunther and exhibits from the top flute companies in the country.
On Jennings’ Faculty Tuesday program on the 21st will be the premiere of a flute orchestra piece, written by composition student Egemen Kesikli and featuring 20 performers from the College of Music faculty and staff.
“It’s called ‘Breathless,’” Jennings says. “It reminds me of all the times I’ve been at a party or in line somewhere, and when people find out I play flute they’re breathless to tell me that they used to play too!” The Faculty Tuesday recital also features a collaboration with members of the Eisenhower Elementary School choir.
Jennings even parlayed a new friendship with a fellow flutist into a unique talk about playing the flute in space.
“Cady Coleman is an amateur flutist who brought her flutes with her to the International Space Station. This summer she came to a concert I gave for Powell Flutes, the company that supports me as an artist,” Jennings explains.
“She’ll be here to give a talk about playing flute on the space station, and she’ll be showing video of a lesson she had with Sir Galway while she was in orbit.”
After 10 years of teaching at the College of Music, Jennings says she’s thrilled to have the chance to give back to the flourishing Colorado flute community.
“When I first came here as a product of the East Coast, the flute community was somewhat scattered. It has been such a joy to see all of us come together in shared experiences, like the Colorado Flute Association and Bel Canto Flute Academy.”
And giving flutists of all ages and levels the chance to hear “the man with the golden flute” play on the Macky stage makes the event a once-in-a-lifetime treat.
“James Galway's name is known even outside the flute world. From his days with the Berlin Philharmonic through collaborations with the Chieftains, John Denver and the Muppet Show, he’s as close to a household name as a flutist gets,” Jennings says.
Tickets for the festival cost up to $20. For a full list of sessions, Once a Flutist ticket and registration information and to secure your tickets to the Galway Artist Series performance, visit the Once a Flutist page.