Music has been a part of my life for a very long time. I started playing the flute almost on a whim when I was in high school; I had no idea I would form such a deep love and connection with it. I’ve been playing flute ever since, and while I didn’t choose to turn my passion for the flute into a career it’s still a huge part of my life.
This month, I wanted to share some of my favorite flautists, the ones who, in my opinion, are some of the greatest of all time.
The child of two architects, William was destined to be a creative mind. He studied under the famed English flautist Geoffrey Gilbert and attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Bennett accepted the first principal flute position at BBC Northern Orchestra (which is currently the BBC Philharmonic) when he was just twenty two years old. Bennett is not only an excellent musician, but he is also an innovator. The Altus-Bennett Scale is based on his work and is hailed as a scale that “offers excellent intonation, carefully tuned harmonics, and balanced registers.” William Bennett received the National Flute Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.
Matt Molloy (1947-)
Matt began playing the flute when he was eight years old, and won the All-Ireland Flute Championship just ten years later at age 18. He reigns from Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon, which is an area that has a legacy of creating extraordinarily talented flute players. He is world renowned and his piping technique is known to have been influential to several contemporary flautists. Matt founded the folk group, The Bothy Band and has worked on several notable music projects, including working with the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
Watazumi Doso Roshi(1910 – 1992)
Watazumi Doso played the Japanese bamboo flute, and was a master of his craft. The bamboo flute that Doso Roshi played is incredibly interesting because it was actually used by a sect of Zen priests as a disguised weapon.
Doso Roshi was a pupil of Rinzai school, which is one of the sects of Zen in Japanese buddhism, and obtained the title of Roshi in his lifetime. He later shunned the traditional Zen practice, and devised his own practice of breathing training and vigorous exercise. Doso Roshi did not regard himself strictly as a “musician”. He believed his practice was directly related to his dedication to his vigorous physical discipline.
Check back next month to discover a few more of my favorite famed flautists!