Flutastique! Message from BFS Chair Malcolm Pollock
The magnificent venue of St. John’s Smith Square in the heart of London was host from 19th – 21st August to some of the finest flute playing you are ever likely to hear in the world at the present time.
Edward Blakeman, the artistic director of the festival, put together a rich and varied programme of music for flute and other instruments with the aim of celebrating the profound influence of the French flute school on British players. One of the centrepieces of the Festival was a gala concert in honour of William Bennett’s 80th birthday year, at which he was presented with a newly designed Altus flute by the president of the company Wendy Hsiao.
The festival featured recitals by established artists occupying key orchestral positions in the UK, the US and the Netherlands, including Emily Beynon, Sam Coles, Michael Cox, Lorna McGhee and Denis Bouriakov. Add to that newer arrivals on the orchestral scene including Juliette Bausor, Joshua Batty, Thomas Hancox and Claire Wickes, the vastly experienced Pat Morris, Sarah Newbold, Lisa Beznosiuk and Philippa Davies who led workshop sessions, Stewart McIlwham with a varied piccolo recital, Rachel Brown who gave a superb recital of 18th century music and Zephyrus Flutes who gave us a taste of Renaissance flute music. And the first performance of a Dave Heath piece, plus a work by Venezuelan Omar Acosta together with flamenco dancer at the end of the Saturday gala concert!
Many thanks to the varied groups of magnificent musicians who performed with the flautists, ensuring such a varied programme of music. Thanks also to the superb accompanists, to Atarah Ben Tovim for leading at least 70 delegates in the festival flute choir, to the winners of the 2015 and 2016 BFS competitions for performing so well, to all those in the trade who supported the event by providing trade stands, and to St John’s Smith Square for hosting the event.
And finally, thank you to everyone who attended this memorable occasion. Please continue to support the BFS in its very important work. Happy Birthday WIBB: thank you for all the inspiration and pleasure you have provided to so many people over so many years!
Chair, British Flute Society