Long ago I found myself in a very strange predicament; one that has had a lasting influence on my life. I wanted to study the flute seriously and was looking for a good teacher. By chance I was offered a ticket to a Minnesota Orchestra concert. During the concert I found myself listening to some gorgeous flute-playing. At one point the beauty and sonority was so compelling I found myself standing, in the front row of the first balcony. I was mesmerized. As the friend who had given me the ticket tugged my hand and I sat back down I thought ‘who is this person who can play like this?’ I learned that it was the orchestra’s Principal Flute, Sid Zeitlin.
Could I study with him? Not likely, I told myself. Someone at Orchestra Hall gave me his phone number. I called him. He wanted to hear me play. I grabbed the piece I had been most recently working on, the Telleman Suite in A minor, and went to see him at his studio at the home he shared with his wife, who also played with the Orchestra. They had a beautiful music room — very airy and spacious.
Sid barely came up to my shoulder. I recall that we stood and looked at each other for a moment. He had a round face, dark hair and a scowl that I soon learned was a frequent expression. I played for him, not sure what to expect. “Well, I’ll take you on, but that isn’t a very good piece of music. Try this.” He gave me the flute part to the Bach Second Suite, which I later learned was one of his signature pieces. A bit puzzled, but obviously elated, I left.
During the next lesson he asked to see my flute. It was a Haynes closed-hole model. “You can’t use this,” he said. “I’ll show you some open-hole flutes next lesson. You can try them out.” And so, before too long, I found that I had traded in my Haynes as partial payment for one of his Louis Lots, because I loved its sound. However, I quickly found out the the issue for me was not open v closed-holes, but that the aperture on the mouthpiece was small, and it was not easy to hit the center of each of the notes. It did not occur to me until much later that Zeitlin was, of course, aware of this and perhaps using it to test me.
I was surprised, as lessons progressed, that he did not recommend my working on any other pieces. Nor did he talk about exercise books. So I brought in what I had and he seemed uninterested in them. Something didn’t seem quite right by that point, but I had no idea what it was.
Then I received a phone call from someone at Orchestra Hall, telling me that I would not be able to take lessons with Zeitlin, as he had suffered a major heart attack while playing tennis at a Northwest Racquet Club. He was lucky to be alive. I was shocked and concerned. I let go. I had no choice. (In hindsight, I can see that I should have let go for good, as what followed became something of a nightmare for each of us.)
By this time I was starting to ask myself ‘if not him, who else would teach me?’ I also began to wonder where, other than this negative and combative orchestra environment that he was involved in, could I go to perform? There seemed to be no alternative.
In short, I did call him some six months or so later and began to take lessons again. But he was a changed man. He seemed depressed and bitter. He snapped at me. He sent me on rabbit trails. He refused to teach me orchestral excerpts (which was one of the main reasons, of course, that I wanted to study with him). But he did teach them to the young woman whose lesson was before mine, I realized one day when I arrived early — so I sat in the hallway and learned second-hand.
Some time later Zeitlin called me to say that I would need to take my lessons at his new apartment downtown. His marriage had fallen apart. I felt uncomfortable at this, though I said nothing. Soon after that he changed the lessons to a practice room at Orchestra Hall.
By this time I had learned that Zeitlin was a long-time heavy drinker, and that this could have contributed to all his problems. I offered to go with him to an AA meeting, as I was in recovery myself, but he declined. And then I came to realize that everything really had come to a dead end.
Not long after that I learned that Zeitlin had messed up a recording session and was likely to be fired. Somehow, he survived. Later I heard that he was definitely going to be fired, and for some reason I felt compelled to call the Music Director’s office and plead for his job for him. (I am sure others did as well.) The stay did not last long, however, and then I learned he was out. The next thing I learned was that he had died. I still cannot describe just how I felt — this great dream I had for him and for myself had been brought to nothing. The extraordinary tone and exquisite technique — with notes shaped like petals of a flower — had shriveled and died. To Zeitlin’s credit, he had made sure I acquired a good headjoint for the tricky Louis Lot flute he had sold me, and so I play it to this day in his memory, and to honor the gifts that he was once so blessed to have been given. But I carry a greater sorrow, that of accepting when there is nothing more one can do and the outcome is dismal. I know that is an alternative I do not want for myself or anyone else.
In hindsight, I think the problems Zeitlin was facing really stemmed from the false mindset held by many (maybe even most) professional musicians – that they have to beat themselves up in private in order to ‘play with conviction’ on the concert stage. When I would try to describe the beauty of what I was hearing him do, he would snap at me. He could not accept appreciation, no matter how well deserved. Nothing was good enough. I learned he had more insecurities than I did. The orchestral system at that time had forced him into a box.
Flute players are especially picky. They often end up with what I call ‘poodle flute-playing’ — they are so concerned about the superficial technical aspects of their playing that they miss the depth of playing that could be available to them. This is a horrible environment.
As I am, as it were, the flute player on the outside, in the fresh air (hence ‘Rossignol’) who is free from those constraints I can say, (while heaving a great sigh of relief), that constant self-criticism only tends to block the unique gift and voice (or muse) that each musician has. We have to go from ‘good’ to ‘better’ in order to keep that channel open and to be honest. We need to be in competition with ourselves, not our colleagues. We need performance opportunities that are fresh. We need music that is alive. Hence, in my case, improvisation. This is our alternative — the one that works…:-)
Ah, are you all just now learning about Ms (?) Pamela McElwain-Brown of Minneapolis USA (and always “born in Fairfield CT”? For seven years (until January 2014) she ran Blogspot weblogs called AndrewAndJoshua and JoshuaAndAndrew in which she impersonated a young gay male couple in Minneapolis and Boston as well as all of their friends, relatives, *and* site commenters. Behind these sock puppets she went after the then longtime critic of the Cleveland newspaper mercilessly and falsely. Again hiding her (?) identity she viciously went after individual orchestra players in Minnesota by name during their lockout. She is also very active — in this case using the Pamela McElwain-Brown name — as a JFK assassination conspiracy theorist. Apparently PMcEB at last lost interest in her web children and left them all hanging seven months ago. Here is her flute website: http://www.themagicflute.org She reminds me overall of a character in a late Hitchcock film. (And of course “George Kaplan” is the man who does not exist in Hitch’s “North by Northwest.”) Caveat lector! I know from experience, I admit. Oy!
Good to hear from you regarding Pamela, Andrew! Those creepy blogs savaged some good friends, some musicians I admire and some strangers I have always had compassion for, having been hurt for no reason other than pure malice. (Just what the world doesn’t need any more of.)
Oy! back at you…!
Amy, it is my impression that you are well aware that someone created a false blog about me and is using my image without a release.
Thanks, Andrew. I always thought she was a bit odd. Then I realized she was a musician, and she seemed genuinely interested in the Minneapolis war, so I have given her comments a little more weight recently.
What purpose can you possibly have into taking this thread OT?
Why would anyone take this thread OT with a mismash of fact and libel? :-0
Thanks for the info, Andrew. In case anybody wants to keep track, “Pamela” also uses the following aliases: Joan Marshall, Claudia Menlo, Andrew van Zeveren, Joshua Adams, Sarah Westfield, Ron Brown, Hiram Foster, David von Pein, Anna Smith O’Hara, George Kaplan, Edgar Brenninkmeyer, and others.
Edgar B is Pamela too? Oh, this really does need to be policed. It’s just wasting people’s time!
That is false. I post using my own name and a photo. And, again, of course, OT.
OT and false. Unlike you, I post using my first and last name and a photograph.
Good. I’m glad to read this — because I can tolerate a wacky someone coming here with 2 or 3 identities and engaging in what Amy Adams aptly called dolls talking to each other, but Elise’s list of 12 or 13 false names, including one I spent time conversing with, just turns me off completely.
You are claiming, then, that Andrew Patner’s research about you no longer applies?
I only post on this blog using my real name and a photo. Why don’t you do the same?
Andrew’s posts are a mixture of fact and libel. However, as this thread has been hijacked from its original topic, which is the Met, I do not plan to reply to it line-by-line on this blog.
One can hope that exposure lessens the audacity of these sorts of folks, Amy. At least people now know who this one “is” and can screen her (?) out. Sigh. And thanks!
Guess I’ll have to work harder to win you over. :-0
Or Slipped Disc will have to work harder to get rid of you. Annoying sick woman!
Plus, I post using my own name and a photo. You don’t and are making a libelous claim. Just which is ‘sick’?
“I post using my own name and a photo” tells us nothing.
“I post using ONLY my own name and a photo” would begin to address the concerns you have raised this week with at least three bona fide readers.
Wondering what Norman thinks of this … .
I do apologize for not making myself sufficiently clear to you. I only post on this blog under my own name and with a photo. Any other claim is false.
And Norman manages to deal not only with those who are not hiding behind an alias as well as those who are with considerable aplomb, imo.
Thank you, Elise. Six years ago (!) when I rather belatedly cracked the scam of “her” bizarre “Andrew and Joshua” weblogs and then shared the story on my website, I wrote, “So I guess the great unraveling is done now. ‘La commedia è finita.’” Perhaps now, with your larger catalogue of this person’s mischief-making — sometimes trivial, sometimes seriously harmful — aliases, this nonsense will at least subside. Probably not, though: A person living in his/her own universe with time on his/her hands . . . At least people now know the web that has been woven.
I am surprised that someone using their own name would post information they have already been told is false. I have nothing to do with “Andrew and Joshua” blogs. Someone other than me created it and is falsely using my image. I am working to have it removed but WordPress is not helping me and def lawyers, as you may realize, are expensive.
I certainly have no plan to respond to whomever it is who regularly clutters up these and other pages with some 15 different aliases (though almost always the same personality and phrasing). But as Norman Bates (certainly not Norman Lebrecht! 😉 )/Mother Bates has several times tossed the word “libel” out the window of his/her Motel, one notes that truth cannot libel nor is it clear how imaginary characters and sock puppets could be libeled, harmed, or defamed even if there were any intention or malice, which, of course there is not. I and others here are only calling attention to the single identity of an individual who has sucked in enough people and wasted enough of their time one place or another for at least the past seven years. If people wish to engage with this individual about any subject, or let him/her post comments on their websites, that’s not my affair. As I said initially: Caveat lector!
It is Norman’s duty to police this blog.
For the time being, we must accept Pamela Brown’s assertion that on Slipped Disc she uses only her own name and image.
But I’m somewhat turned off. 24 hours ago I didn’t understand what Amy was getting at.
And I’d still like to know whether my dialog with “Edgar Brenninkmeyer” was honest or not, in light of Elise’s post!
Andrew, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I only post on this blog using my own name and a photo. I have only posted on this blog since the MO lockout began.
I sincerely hope that you will apologize.
Just a thought…
SDreader said, “For the time being, we must accept Pamela Brown’s assertion that on Slipped Disc she uses only her own name and image.”
This is your viewpoint while hiding behind an alias? With all due respect, just what color is the sky in your world today? :-0
BTW, I will be responding in detail to Andrew Patner’s ‘research’ on a post on my own blog and will provide a link here when that happens. In the meantime, let me just state for the record that he has my name right, he used my actual website http://www.themagicflute.org, and I am a JFK researcher. Everything else from almost the first word is false. I was not ‘born’ in Fairfield, CT. I was born in Chicago.
Come to think of it, SDreader, you don’t have to ‘take my word’ for anything. All you need to do is Google my name, “Pamela Brown”. I quit using my birth family name some years ago to give them a layer of protection.
It has been my privilege to be a “public figure”, so to speak, in the narrow yet international niche of JFK research for some time, have been published, have presented at conferences and participated in a number of TV programs.
On the other hand, if you would prefer to keep your head in the sand, don’t let me stop you. :-0
My sincere apologies to all! Wherever this person was born, the claim PB makes is that she “is originally from Connecticut,” “grew up in Fairfield, CT,” and that it is her “Hometown.” I am sorry to have so grievously misread those statements and to learn that, under whatever name, she now says that she was born in Chicago. She also writes: “Unquestionably, the most unusual musician of her generation, Pamela Brown has been called ‘the most exciting musician since Mozart’ and her playing ‘the real magic flute’ by ‘professionals’ we will just refer to as “Monostatos”, who then shunned have attempted to lock her out.” PB also tells us that these people were known to “target my children.”
As stated twice before, this is not someone people want to spend time with/on without open eyes, if then. Have a nice day, all!
Andrew, while I appreciate your apology, it is a bit difficult for me to understand if you are directing it to me or someone else. I sincerely hope we can find a way to move forward in a positive manner.
BTW, I was born at Cook County in Chicago. My family moved to CT. I grew up in Fairfield.
I’ll discuss your other references on my own blog soon and provide a link here when I do.