Converging with Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra: Claire Chase and nearly 200 flutists

Posted on: February 2, 2017

“Flute players young and old, ranging in ability from newbies to masters, filed into Ordway Concert Hall on Saturday morning for an unusual rehearsal,” writes Jenna Ross in Tuesday’s (1/31) Star Tribune (Minneapolis). “They ranged in age from 13 to 80 years old…. Each carried the same small instrument—the flute.” The piece they were rehearsing—Cerchio Tagliato dei Suoni, or Cutting the Circle of Sounds—“calls for 100 flutists to roam the concert hall during a St. Paul Chamber Orchestra performance Wednesday.… By Saturday morning, many of the Minnesotan flutists felt like they knew Chase, the project’s director. They had met online, through selfie videos Chase filmed.… In them, she demonstrated how to make the soft, dramatic air sounds for the piece. No pure tones allowed…. The hourlong work, by avant-garde Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino, calls for four soloists [and] a ‘flute force’ of 100…. It’s rarely performed…. ‘In our version, we’re going to have 189 [flutes],’ ” said Chase. “Playing without tone—disregarding years of flute lessons—was difficult, said Cary Miller-Dolan, 50, of Mendota Heights. ‘It’s easier for the kids.’ Her 13-year-old son, Aidan, nodded: ‘It’s the complete opposite of what you’re taught to do.’ ”

Posted February 2, 2017

Pictured: Flutists rehearse in Ordway Concert Hall last Saturday with Claire Chase (center). Photo by David Joles / Star Tribune