Tag Archives: principal flute

Back in the old days…

It was an odd coincidence that when I became a single mother of three small children I had taken a modeling course in Minneapolis in order to improve my confidence as I faced tumult in my personal life. Quite by chance I ended up actually modeling.  I found out quickly that it is very hard work and you have no guarantees about when you are paid.  At about the same time I had begun studying the flute seriously with the Principal Flute of the Minnesota Orchestra.  I traded in my closed-hole Hanes for one of his gorgeous Louis Lot flutes, so I was not about to leave it in my taxicab yellow VW when I went to fittings on the same day I had a flute lesson.  So one afternoon, while the fashion director was sticking pins in me, trying to get an outfit ready for a live show I remember standing in the fitting room and looking down at my flute case.  I had a troubling thought — if I am really serious about playing the flute, just how many photos of me would I want to have taken without it?

I did not realize it at the time, but a sea change had begun in my life.  I have kept very few photos of those days.  Here is one, taken at the Forum Cafeteria in Minneapolis.  The Forum Cafe was and is (interior now a new restaurant called Il Foro…http://www.il-foro.com/about/) one of the most exciting examples of Art Deco interior in the Twin Cities.  The view from this balcony for me (one who loves F. Scott Fitzgerald and have tracked almost all of his Minnesota living quarters down) was just breathtaking.  The dress I am wearing was actually lime green with lime and white feathers.  I earned it by doing three days of demos with a few other models (similarly attired but in different colors) for a convention of salad dressing manufacturers.  Yes, this was the perfect outfit in which to serve up mayonnaise! 🙂

pamela forum cafe


Soloist v orchestral player? s d reply…

From another post (can’t find a reply button to it) you said, “Do I take it, then, that part of the problem is conservatories training their students to be soloists rather than orchestral players?

(If so, I’m guessing that that’s a more common phenomenon for string students than for woodwind and brass.)”

My teacher, a Principal Flute of the MO, always made a distinction between an orchestral player and a soloist. He said repeatedly that most conservatory grads can toss of multiple concertos, but are unable to play a single orchestral solo correctly.

An irony seems to be, however, that orchestral playing can tend to make a performer more timid or take fewer risks as a soloist, which was my impression with him.


Risk being mobbed…

William Osborn said, “Another problem is that students and colleagues often form a collective identity around the status of star musicians in their circle. They see an attack on those stars as an attack on their own status and identity – as even this discussion shows. One result is that those who speak up are often mobbed.”

Indeed. By daring to demonstrate my lack of illusions about orchestras and their players on another thread, my credibility was called into question. Those some players consider on the ‘outside’ are only supposed to have a rosy-glow obsequiousness, it would appear.