[Here’s the latest from Jeffrey Cohan]

2006 WOOD FLUTE FESTIVAL AND CONFERENCE June 16-18 . University of Washington, Seattle 866-808-6708 (toll-free) . woodflutefest@aol.com . www.woodflutefest.com . registration and tickets available online .

Prominent flutists from all around the USA and Canada who play wooden Boehm-system flutes or wooden headjoints will gather in Seattle to celebrate the versatility of the “modern” wooden flute in five concerts and two cabaret performances which will showcase jazz, klezmer, Brazilian music from three centuries, the avant garde, early flutes from the renaissance through the present, woodwind quintets, and multiple flute ensembles in the first Wood Flute Festival and Conference. Lectures, discussion and ensemble sessions and performers’ and makers’ symposiums will be presented with well known scholars and collectors. Presentations are to include:

The Wisconsin Woodwind Quintet Duozona with Theresa and Chuck Hulihan, flute and guitar duo “The Avant-Garde Wooden Flute” with flutist/composer Clifford Dunn “Klezmer Flute” with Adrianne Greenbaum and Alexander Eppler, cimbalom “Brasilidade: Brazilian Music from Three Centuries” with Danilo Mezzadri “New Music from the Heartland” with flutist Tim Lane (Wisconsin) and pianist Namji Kim Flutist Lanny Pollet (Victoria, BC) performing the Cambini Wind Quintet No.1 and Villa Lobos “The Wood Flute: On the Cutting Edge through Six Centuries” with Janet See, Courtney Westcott, Kim Pineda and Jeffrey Cohan, performing on wooden flutes from the Renaissance through the 19th century

Felix Skowronek Memorial Concert:
The final memorial to Felix Skowronek and showcase performance will feature Soni Ventorum bassoonist Arthur Grossman, flutists Tim Lane, Clifford Dunn, Danilo Mezzadri, Lanny Pollet, Adrianne Greenbaum with cimbalom player Alexander Eppler, jazz flutists Martin Lund, Bradley Leighton and Jim O’Halloran, Duozono, the Wisconsin Woodwind Quintet, and a special selection performed by all conference participants with Mr. Skowronek’s University of Washington Flute Choir.

Flutist Jim O’Halloran and the Jim O’Halloran Quintet Jazz flutist Bradley Leighton with the Tom McElroy Trio

Lectures/Discussion Sessions:
“The Wooden Flute in America” with David and Nina Shorey (Antiqueflutes.com) “Biophilia: Connecting with Nature and The Wood Flute” with Martin Mador (Yale) “Flute Woods and the Mysteries of Wooden Flute Construction” with Alexander Eppler (Eppler Flutes) “Historical Development & Orchestral Use of Wood Boehm-System Flutes” with Shelly Collins (Seattle Pacific University)
“Felix Skowronek, Pioneer of the Wooden Flute,” an audio-visual tribute by William McColl and members of the Soni Ventorum, with Neil and Theo Skowronek

Don’t miss this exciting first-ever event, whether or not you currently have a wooden flute or headjoint. Registration fees, which provide entrance to all events, are just $100 ($50 for students), and $65 ($25 for students) for one-day participants. Tickets to individual concerts are $20 ($10 for students). Housing is available at the University of Washington. For more information and for online registration please see www.woodflutefest.com or call Jeffrey Cohan at (866) 808-6708 toll-free.

The wooden modern flute was championed by UW professor of flute Felix Skowronek, who conceived and led the Wood Flute Conference until his untimely death in April. The final event in the weekend festival and conference will be a memorial concert dedicated to him. The Wood Flute Conference now serves in part as a tribute to Felix, an ardent spokesman for wood and everything it means for the flute, as he demonstrated in the concert hall, through his scientific studies and work in the UW School of Forestry, his many wood-gathering expeditions in mountainous wilderness in the United States and Australia, his involvement with flute-making, and his
information-gathering excursions among the wood flute players of Europe.

Flute Masterclass at Sea!

January 7-14, 2007 in the Caribbean, on board Celebrity Cruises luxurious Millennium

Join master flutists MAXENCE LARRIEU, RANSOM WILSON and SERGIO PALLOTTELLI for an unforgettable experience! Daily flute performance classes, technique classes, chamber music, and recitals, accompanied by warm tropical breezes, gourmet dining, impeccable service, exciting nightlife, and exotic destinations.
More Info >>

Wood Flute Conference June 16-18 and Felix Skowronek

It is with a great sense of loss that we learn that our dear colleague, mentor and friend Felix Skowronek passed away on Monday night. The Wood Flute Conference 2006 has been a special dream of his, and he discussed its implementation with us through Monday. It will serve now in part as a tribute to Felix and his devotion to so many important aspects of the flute’s expressive palette and resonance. There may never have been a more ardent spokesman for wood and everything it means for the flute, as he demonstrated in the concert hall, through his scientific studies and work in the School of Forestry, his many wood-gathering excursions among the wood flute players of Europe. Felix was a pioneer, and it is gratifying that the wood flute scene has developed so in the last years, with his inspiration having played a central role.

Do join us for all or part of the conference in Seattle from June 16 to 18 at the University of Washington … even if you don’t happen to have a wooden flute or headjoint … and we’ll celebrate all aspects of the wooden Boehm-system flute while cycling through a broad range of music and topics.

You can register for the Wood Flute Conference 2006 at www.woodflutefest.com (or go to the School of Music home page at www.music.washington.edu/home/ and click on “2006 Wooden Flute Conference Information” on the right side under “Quick Links” ). Please do to contact me directly by email or at (206) 525-2216 with any questions or suggestions.

Looking forward to seeing you in June!

With best wishes,

Jeffrey Cohan

Felix Skowronek

Yesterday I woke up to an email in my flutenet folder posted by Bradley Leighton informing everyone of Felix Skowronek’s death on 4/17/06. To say the least, I was shocked and very saddened to read this as I’ve known Felix for the past few years – he was THE modern wood flute guy on the planet!

I first heard about Felix from Russell Phillips at Flutemakers Guild when I was just getting started as their rep here in the USA about five years ago. I remember Russell saying something along the lines of “he is mad about wood!,” gave me Felix’s address and phone number and told me to call him up. In talking with Felix, I learned that Felix actually had been the Flutemakers Guild rep back in the 70s before Suzanne Walker (one of his students) took the job. I had long talks with Felix about Flutemakers Guild and remember him saying how unfortunate it was that the company that had been at it for so long had had to stop making their legendary wood flutes due to the death of Ewen McDougall and Harry Seeley’s stroke just as the wood flute was catching on.

Felix also sent me numerous articles that he had written over the years on the wood flute of which I learned a great deal from. I scanned a few of them for him so he could see what they looked like on the Web and just last April, Felix sent me an email asking about the scans:

Hello Bob:

Remember you made up a temporary website or somesuch and copied my article on wood headjoints for remedial purposes? I can’t seem to find a hardcopy here in my files, so I’d like to get one off the internet you set up — but I forget that address too.

I’m finally getting back to the workshop now and then, making up a bunch of headjoints to carve in June. I underwent heart bypass surgery in early February, taking the quarter off here to recuperate. I’m back in business now, none the worse for wear, playing a concert last Sunday night in fact.

I came across a couple “kiawe” blanks tucked away in some old boxes, and I think I’ll make at least another head or two considering the success of the one you have; i.e. the “cyclops” headjoint. How is it holding up??

Something to think about: we have a wooden flute “cell” in Victoria, BC, and I go up a couple times a year on the Clipper and take heads along to try, etc. Might you be interested sometime, bringing the rest of your FG heads to show? You’ve mentioned visiting, and it’s not all that far away. Also, do you have any publicity shots or even videos of you on the job with that “cyclops” headjoint? I’m collecting a “rogues’ gallery” of wood players.


Fortunately, I was able to find the scans he was asking about (his “Pumping Wood” article) and sent them to him. They have been re-posted here:

My heartfelt condolences to Felix’s family and friends.
RIP Felix.


Playing all three – alto, soprano and piccolo

Back in the early 1980’s, Elias Leuvwarden (a good friend and phenomenal classical flutist from West Germany) made the case to me for playing alto flute and piccolo as a way to strengthen my soprano flute chops (i.e., typical C flute). Elias reasoned that if you could get around on an alto flute well, then your embouchure for the low register on the flute would have room to burn. Likewise for the piccolo and the high register. In other words, expand the range of your flute embouchure naturally by playing those instruments that require it – the alto flute for the lows and the piccolo for the highs (and get good enough on them and you’ll get to play the alto and piccolo gigs too! 🙂