The BEST flute player you’ve never heard of…

I’m a big believer that the more flute music you listen to, the better flute player you’ll become. There’s something quite exciting about discovering a new favourite flute player or a genre of music that features the flute in a way you didn’t know possible! Actively listening to another flute player can benefit your own playing journey and appreciation for music in so many ways.

Here’s how…

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    You develop a better internal sense of rhythm. First, you may start with recognising the main pulse of the beat. Next how beats are subdivided into different rhythms. Then, how these are grouped into bars and finally which time signature they’re based on. Rhythm starts to become second nature.
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    An ear for pitch (or tuning). Soon you’ll be able to recognise a pattern of when notes sound sharp or flat. Are low notes always flat or high notes sharp? In your own playing, you’ll recognise where your intonation wavers, and how you can compensate for this by making subtle changes to your embouchure or flute positioning.
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    An understanding of how different genres of music differ. Take for example, jazz, classical and 20th century flute music. Yes, technically its all the same notes on the page but it’s how they’re arranged (such as the differences in the scale, instruments used, song format, time signatures, tempo, improvisation and special effects) which sets them apart. You’ll get a feel for the special characteristics associated with different genres.
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    Repeated listening helps you get to know a piece you may be working on yourself. Importantly, how elements such as articulation, dynamics, tempo and vibrato all come together to help create atmosphere and ‘tell a story.’
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    You’ll be able to differentiate different qualities of flute tone and how modifying tone adds to performances.
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    It helps you to recognise style elements from individual flute players that you like, and don’t like. It's the first step towards developing your own unique playing style!
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    You'll gain an appreciation for how different types of flutes (piccolo, wooden, alto, bass etc) sound.

Taking it one step further, watching a flute player perform (either recorded or live) can also be invaluable. By doing this you'll simply learn what looks good and bad on stage. Ask yourself questions like this as you watch...

  • Are the player's mannerisms distracting to the audience?
  • How do they interact with other instruments on stage or the audience?
  • Do they appear prepared and at ease or nervous? 
  • Are they dressed appropriately for the performance?
  • Am I enjoying what I'm watching?!
Discover your new favourite Flute player

So... Are you feeling inspired and like you want to broaden your flute horizons? Find your next favourite flute player in this snapshot of (some) of the greats from around the world. In this list there'll be some names you’ll recognise, others you probably have never heard of. I've selected flute players that span the spectrum of flute music, so you're guaranteed to hear something new. Enjoy, absorb, learn, grow and transform your flute playing as you discover a hidden world of flute music with these amazing talents.

 So, in no particular order…

Flute Player (Classical)

Quick biography

Currently the solo flute player of the Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philamonic), considered one of the finest orchestras in the world. He enjoys chamber music and is a member of various ensembles that range from baroque to contemporary in genre.  

Is a Korean flute player and has performed worldwide in genres from solo, chamber, and orchestral to experimental, jazz, and pop. She’s made her own arrangements of several famous works, and has been principal flute of the Vienna Symphony, amongst many others.

Nicknamed the ‘Man with the Golden Flute’ he is one of the most successful flute players of modern times having recorded 70 albums, touring worldwide and has a diverse musical mastery ranging from orchestral, baroque to appearing on the sound track of The LORd of the Rings: Return of the King’

The Berlin-based flute player is most known for his baroque and classical flute repertory but also in diverse music genres, whether baroque, jazz, contemporary, classical, orchestral, or chamber music

A French flute player credited with returning the flute to popularity as a solo instrument. A lover of the Baroque period

Played in the Montreal and Toronto Symphonies, before succeeding Julius Baker as principal flutist of the New York Philharmonic. Her career as a recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician has lead to an extensive catalogue of recordings

An accomplished chamber musician, teacher and duet partner with Sir James Galway

Considered one of America’s foremost orchestral players between the 1940s and 1980s, and had a long career as principal flute in the New York Philharmonic. He has many notable pupils, many who make this list!

A conductor and flute player, who has performed worldwide. He serves as a music professor in both Paris and the US and has recorded chamber music including the Bach flute concertos

Is also a pianist, harpist, prolific composer and a talented teacher. He is known as a versatile performer with effortless technique. Many of his hundreds of compositions have become standard flute repertoire.

Is a soloist and advocate of new and experimental music. In 2014 she launched Density 2036, a 22-year project to create an entirely new body of repertory for flute by 2036

Is an Italian flute player known for his ‘sensitive interpretations and astonishing technique’. He’s collaborated extensively with Luciano Pavarotti and has recorded more than 30 albums.

A Belarussian player known for his unique performance style that’s been described as playful, dramatic and energetic. He’s an exciting ‘up and comer’ that entertains audiences by creating new sounds with the flute

A student of Jeanne Baxstresser, Amy is considered a creative and skilful muse of composers of our time. She’s known for her flawless technique and masterful performances

Is a talented multi instrumentalist playing, flute, saxophone, bass, piano, and latin percussion. He’s known for his passionate performances, versatility & fluid expression, has extensively collaborated with Grammy-award winning artists and has several ensembles - José Valentino Band, and José Valentino & Crossmatch Vamp.

Flute player

Flute Player (Jazz/ New Age)

Quick biography

Is a Grammy Award-winning Latin jazz flutist who has recorded dozens of albums. He taught himself to play the flute as a boy, before being mentored by Herbie Mann

Is an American jazz multi-instrumentalist (playing tenor saxophone, flute, oboe and bassoon as well as a range of non Western instruments. He was an innovative composer, blending jazz with Eastern music

Described as a musical chameleon, she’s played everything from ‘Bach to Bebop.’ Over her career, her many recordings and performances have set new standards in contemporary jazz and classical music

Is both a flute and saxophone player, and a master of many musical genres including jazz, pop, classical, rhythm and blues. His career has spanned 40 years, and has produced over a dozen albums

Is an accomplished jazz flute player has worked in the bebop, swing, and Latin idioms. He’s known for his exceptional improvisation skills and outstanding technique.

Mann was an early pioneer of the fusion of jazz and world music (often using Brazilian themes) and was also influenced by Southern soul, blues rock, reggae, funk and disco.

Named the “First Lady of the Flute” she’s an American jazz flute player and singer who plays fusion, jazz-funk and soul-jazz styles.

Jazz and the flute player

Flute Player (Rock/ Alternative)

Quick biography

Best known for his work as the lead vocalist, flute player and acoustic guitarist of British rock band Jethro Tull. He famously has a one-legged flute stance, and was once referred to as a "deranged flamingo"

Regarded as the world’s best beat boxing flute artist, he’s also an arranger and composer who infuses elements of jazz and hip hop into his compositions

An English musician, flute player, singer, founding member and composer in the English progressive rock band The Moody Blues

Flute player with Brazilian flair

Flute Player (Folk/ Traditional)

Quick biography

Well-known for his Irish dancing, he’s also an accomplished flute player with an energetic and entertaining performance style

A flute and whistle player who’s a member of one of Ireland's top traditional bands - Lúnasa

Insanely talented player of the wooden flute and whistles. Simply some of the most captivating music I’ve ever listened to

Considered one of Ireland's most talented musicians. Matt also owns a pub where there are regular Irish music jams

A Brazilian musician and composer who was a master of the Choro genre.

 Is a Chilean flute player described as a ‘virtuoso player.’  His playing versatility allows him to span vast musical genres including the most adventurous and challenging modern pieces, classical repertoire and Baroque literature on period instruments. He inspires expansion of the flute repertoire and has had concertos, dozens of solo and chamber works written for him.

Specialises in early and traditional flutes and is particularly skilled at playing ornamentation and for dance

Considered Cuba’s best flute player and seamlessly blends Latin Jazz, chamber music with his Cuban roots

Did you find your new favourite player?

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