Rie Schmidt, Wendy Stern, Elizabeth Brown (back row)
Sheryl Henze (front)
Pastorale (arr. By Gearhart/Wilkins) by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Quartet in d minor – Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Andante – Vivace – Largo – Allegro
The Baths of Caracalla* (2007) – Elizabeth Brown (b. 1953)
For four alto flutes and recorded sound
Dances from Terpsichore – Michael Praetorius (1571-1621)
Courantes I and II – Ballet – Bourrees I and II
Walk Like This (2002) – Ian Clarke (b. 1964)
Jours d’ete a la Montagne – Eugene Bozza (1905-1991)
Pastorale – Aux Bords du Torrent – Le Chant des Foret – Ronde
Praised as “an extremely persuasive advocate for the flute quartet medium: four top-quality players in a perfectly balanced and expressive ensemble” by MusicalAmerica, Flute Force has received grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, Chamber Music America, the New York State Council on the Arts, and Meet the Composer. In its 25-year history, Flute Force has commissioned and premiered over twenty new compositions for the flute quartet and has served as a model for flute quartets throughout the country.
Flute Force has performed extensively in the United States and Canada. Highlights of past seasons have included performances at Yale University, Dartmouth College, Johns Hopkins University, the Universities of Tennessee, Florida, Washington, Iowa, Missouri and Pennsylvania, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Merkin Concert Hall and for the New York Flute Club and the National Flute Association’s annual conventions in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta. Flute Force has collaborated in concerts with renowned flutists Julius Baker and Paula Robison and with the percussion ensemble, Nexus. The group also appeared on American Public Radio’s St. Paul Sunday Morning, WQXR, WNYC and on New York and New Jersey public television. In March 2002, the group performed at the Australian Flute Festival in Melbourne, Australia.
This award-winning group is made up of four of New York City’s most active and versatile flutists: Rie Schmidt, Wendy Stern, Sheryl Henze and Elizabeth Brown. They have recorded on the CRI, VAI and Innova labels. Flute Force was also included on a Windham Hill release entitled Mozart Variations and “Wish List”, a recording of the most popular segments from the American Public Radio show, St. Paul Sunday Morning. Excerpts from their recordings were used in the HBO series, Sex and the City.
Flute Force has performed extensively in the United States and Canada. Flute Force has collaborated in concerts with renowned flutists Julius Baker and Paula Robison. The group also appeared on American Public Radio’s St. Paul Sunday Morning, WQXR, WNYC and on New York and New Jersey public television. In March 2002, the group performed at the 11th Australian Flute Festival in Melbourne, Australia.
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) wrote the Pastorale as a vocalise for voice and piano in 1908. It falls into his “neo-classical” period with its diatonic purity and sinuous melodies.
Georg Philipp Telemann’s Tafel-musik, literally meaning “dinner music’ was printed and released in 1733. These pieces were designed to fill the gap between the large orchestral suite and the accompanied sonata and scored for unusual combinations of instruments, reflecting Telemann’s compositional flexibility.
In Elizabeth Brown’s The Baths of Caracalla, four alto flutists serenely emerge and recede from a recorded soundscape which includes theremin and bowed psaltery as well as a choir of prerecorded alto flutes. Together, these form imaginary reverberations from the actual Baths of Caracalla of ancient Rome, now a vast, mysterious ruin. In its heyday, the Baths of Caracalla was a wonderful place for friends to meet, with its combination of physical indulgences and artistic and intellectual stimulations.
Michael Praetorius uses the name of the Greek muse of dancing (Terpsichore) as the title of his French Dances, commissioned by “His Most Serene Highness Frederick Ulric, Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg” and set for four and five parts. As Praetorius does not indicate any particular instrumental combination for the performance of these dances, Flute Force has chosen to play them with piccolo, two flutes and bass flute.
more notes to come…
RIE SCHMIDT is a graduate of SUNY Purchase. She was also a winner of the Artists International Competition, and gave her Carnegie Recital Hall debut in 1983. Ms. Schmidt is a member of the Westchester Philharmonic and the American Symphony, and has performed with the New York City Ballet Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra and many Broadway shows. She was featured flutist and dancer in Leonard Bernstein’s Mass that was performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. She and her husband, guitarist Benjamin Verdery, concertize as a duo throughout the US and Europe, and have recorded two CDs of music for flute and guitar on the Sony Classical and Mushkatweek labels. She was the president of the New York Flute Club from 1995-98, and is a founding member of Flute Force. Schirmer and McGinnis and Marx have published her transcriptions for flute ensemble. Ms. Schmidt is a trained Suzuki flute teacher at the Suzuki Music School of Westport (CT), the Bloomingdale School of Music, the Allen-Stevenson School and the 92nd Street Y School of Music in New York City.
WENDY STERN is an active freelance musician in the New York area, having played in the flute sections of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and many other prestigious organizations. She has toured the United States and Canada as piccoloist of the New York City Opera National Company and flutist of the Linden Woodwind Quintet, and was the concerto soloist with the Musicians International tour of Athens and the Greek Isles. Ms. Stern premiered and recorded works for Composers in Red Sneakers. A former teaching-artist for the Lincoln Center Institute, Wendy designs and facilitates aesthetic education workshops for teachers, students, seniors and most recently for the musicians of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. She is also involved in the Suzuki Association of the Americas, having trained with Toshio Takahashi at the Talent Education Research Institute in Matsumoto, Japan. Wendy has presented education workshops at the 2004 National Flute Association Convention in Nashville, the 2006 Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference in Minneapolis and the 2007 NFA Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Wendy received her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School, where she was a scholarship student of Julius Baker. Ms. Stern joined Flute Force in 1988.
SHERYL HENZE is a member of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Opera Orchestra of New York, and the Westchester Philharmonic. As a soloist, Ms. Henze has performed with such renowned orchestras as the Boston Symphony, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic (with Beverly Sills), and the Cabrillo Music Festival Orchestra. Ms. Henze can be heard on Nonesuch, CBS Masterworks, Deutsche Grammophon, New World, Angel, Musical Heritage Society and Premiere Records. An active free-lance musician, she has often played with the New York Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the New York Chamber Symphony, the American Symphony, American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and the Stamford Symphony. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and joined Flute Force in 1992.
Composer/performer ELIZABETH BROWN is a 2007 recipient of the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship Grant. A native of Alabama, she received a Masters degree in flute performance from The Juilliard School in 1977, after studying with Robert Cavally, Harold Bennett, and Samuel Baron. She started composing in the early 1980s, and since then, her music has been heard around the world, with performances in Japan, Vietnam, the Soviet Union, Colombia, and Australia as well as across the United States and Europe. She is the only musician to have both played with Orpheus and also written for them. Other grants, awards and commissions include St. Lukes Chamber Ensemble, Newband, the Asian Cultural Council, the Barlow Foundation, the Cary Trust and NYFA. Ms. Brown was Artist in Residence at the Hanoi National Conservatory of Music in 2002, and has been Composer-in-Residence at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and a fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy and at the MacDowell Colony. A solo CD, Blue Minor: Chamber Music by Elizabeth Brown was released in 2003 by Albany Records. In addition to flute, Brown plays shakuhachi, dan bau (traditional Vietnamese monochord), and theremin, and she maintains an active performing schedule on all of them. She joined Flute Force in 2006.