Cleveland Orchestra principal flutist makes inroads on the soloist scene

Posted on: December 13, 2011

In Tuesday’s (12/13) Philadelphia Inquirer, David Patrick Stearns writes, “So ingratiating, stylish and historically iconic is the flute that it’s hard to imagine why the instrument claims the spotlight so infrequently: Joshua Smith’s flute concert Tuesday is a once-every-two-seasons occasion for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Educated at the Curtis Institute and ensconced in the Cleveland Orchestra’s principal flute position for 21 years (he was hired at age 20), Smith now appears to be pursuing a solo career: He’s recording Bach for the Delos label and is looking more like a movie star than a classical musician in his latest publicity photos. Yet Smith demurs. ‘I don’t see it as a real possibility,’ he said by phone from Cleveland. ‘Violinists and pianists have much better chances at solo careers.’ … He has premiered new works by Jörg Widmann, but, like an increasing number of classical musicians, has taken to playing in clubs. There’s no Cleveland counterpart to Manhattan’s Poisson Rouge, but there is a certain ex-polka bar known as the Happy Dog. … ‘We thought we should do popular or crossover repertoire, but decided that wouldn’t be honest and stuck to what we do well—Beethoven, Janacek, Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence. The first night, we had people lining up around the block.’ ”

Posted December 13, 2011