Solo Recitals

A Life of Many Hats

Photo credit: Jennifer Bewerse

Photo credit: Jennifer Bewerse


16 Walking Dances – Sarah Brumgart (Video Screening)

Parker Notch – Peter Ablinger

Morte tamburo – Salvatore Sciarrino

imAge/flute – Roger Reynolds (US Premiere)

Monolith – Vinko Globokar

Music for Sarah – John Fonville

California Score – Peter Ablinger


Trying on your shoes. Wearing too many hats. We are all familiar with the phrase “trying on someone's shoes.” Here we say that we temporarily try out someone's life for a moment. The experience is almost always illuminating. But it is temporary. After a bit, we get to take off the other's shoes and return to our own self-identifying way of life.

However, I often find myself saying, “I'm wearing too many hats.” Now, I don't actually have a lot of hats, maybe a total of four. The “hats” are metaphorical. Like the shoes metaphor, the wearing of the hats is temporary. However, there seems to be some residual thoughts from trying on each hat. Perhaps it has something to do with the hat being so close to the brain...

Some days I find I must fulfill so many different roles that I'm overwhelmed and confused at the end of the day. Did I accomplish anything today? I was so busy that I'm not so sure. It is rare for me to have a day to be a flutist, to wake up and think only about about my instrument. Now, this isn't a terrible thing! It is a rewarding life to to have other responsibilities. But I'm finding more that this main role “flutist” gets lost in the pile of all of the other hats. So I chose to make a recital that explored what it meant to “try on someone's shoes” and “wear too many hats” in terms of a performer.

Each piece on this performance is rooted in either of those phrases. Pieces such as Ablinger's Parker Notch, Fonville's Music for Sarah, and Globokar's Monolith were created from the idiomatic practices of specific performers, Charlie Parker, John Fonville and Karl-Bernhard Sebon, respectively. In contrast, I worked for several weeks with Roger Reynolds on his imAge and many of the techniques are idiomatic to how I think of the flute. In this performance, I also challenge myself to experience new ways of performing with Ablinger's A California Score. In them, I find new ways of applying my classical musical training to different mediums, thus trying on some new hats.

As I prepared this concert, a certain intensity regarding the physicality of flute playing appeared. In trying to steep myself in the idiosyncrasies of these performers, I found I was straining physically to re-create the sounds. Unlike when I've worked more from the score, there was more of something “in the air.” It was as if the presence of each performer was in the room with me at all times. There was an added pressure to find the right technique and affect due to the influence of these legendary performers.

It took me awhile to not be disappointed with my imitations. Nothing will be as great as the original. Eventually, I found ways to make these pieces and techniques my own, which is probably part of every learning process, but it was more present for me this time due to the heavy influence of specific performers.

This whole process has me wondering what can I do that could be as powerful as these performers? What can I bring to the flute and to performance? This leads me down a bit of a different path than before. It has released from the pressures of learning “repertoire.” While that will always be there, now I feel more inspiration to make new works with others and on my own. What else could be done? 


Poster from the February 2014 


Piccolo und Rauschen - Peter Ablinger

Nidi due pezzi per ottavino - Franco Donatoni

Trio for Flutes - Morton Feldman  

                                                           + Michael Matsuno + Christine Tavolacci

émoi - Evan Johnson

Superscriptio - Brian Ferneyhough

13 Degrees of Darkness* - Alvin Lucier 

                                                       + Christine Tavolacci  *World Premiere


Script – Rescript was a flute recital that centered on a translation between flute sounds and drawing. I asked visual artist Nichole Speciale to collaborate with me by sending her recordings of some solo pieces which I thought represented similar architectural expressions as her original series Repeat After Me. Her response was a set of six drawings using similar techniques as the original series. A performance was given of the six solo flute pieces while Speciale's drawings were displayed as well as an installation by Speciale.

Later on, I responded to the drawings by realizing one into a short, two-minute tape piece using my flute and electronics. I also developed a framework for solo improvisation based on the rules set out by the realizations.

Our collaboration continued further in a duo performance where I improvised on the flute and Speciale improvised a large-scale drawing. We extended the guidelines of my solo improvisation to include ones for drawing as well as how to react to one another's gestures.

Overall, the concert was meant to discuss collaboration and translation between mediums. I hoped that exposing the space between each of these interactions would deepen the understanding of our individual practices as well as the meaning of collaboration beyond working within a specific art context.

Script-Rescript has been featured in Emergent Art Space Online Exhibition – Translation, Emergency Index Vol. 4 – Encyclopedia of Performance Art, and 'Translations' Workshop and Exhibit in Kolkata, India.