Announcing the Flute Society of Greater Philadelphia's 2024 Flute Fair!
March 2, 2024
West Chester University
an All-Steinway School
HEADLINE GUEST ARTIST:
Flutist Mimi Stillman is an internationally acclaimed soloist, chamber musician, teacher, recording artist, media host, and founding Artistic Director of Dolce Suono Ensemble, her chamber music ensemble which has given 67 world premieres in 19 seasons. Praised by The New York Times as "not only a consummate and charismatic performer, but also a scholar whose programs tend to activate ear, heart, and brain," she is renowned for her virtuosity, insightful interpretation, and adventurous programming. She has performed as soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Marine Chamber Orchestra of the "The President's Own" US Marine Band, Orquesta Sinfónica de Yucatán, recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Verbier Festival (Switzerland), and taught masterclasses for the National Flute Association, Eastman School of Music, École Normale de Musique de Paris, universities and conservatories throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America. Her concerts and recordings are broadcast globally, and she is the host of the popular "Tea with Mimi" livestream show. Ms. Stillman is a published author on music and history, a composer and arranger, and a Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with the legendary Julius Baker and Jeffrey Khaner, and a Master's Degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania. She is artist-in-residence on faculty at Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance.
For more about our exciting guest artist, please visit www.mimistillman.com
As we look forward to hosting Mimi on March 2, 2024, FSGP caught up with her for this interview:
FSGP: What piece that you learned early in your career do you still enjoy performing? And why is it special to you?
MS: There are many pieces that I learned early on and hold a place in my heart through my experiences playing them, but I'll choose the Mozart Concerto in G Major. It was one of the first pieces I fell in love with when I started playing the flute when I was six; the piece I first played for the legendary Julius Baker at the NFA convention when I was 11 when he asked me out of the blue if I knew any Mozart to perform publicly in a demonstration he was about to give for Yamaha; and the piece that accompanied me to many successful auditions and competitions in my early career and then countless performances with orchestras. I have grown with the Mozart throughout my musical life, as I first learned to improvise my Mozart cadenzas for the G Major, a major challenge I've expanded to do in other repertoire.
FSGP: Early in your career, was there a particular technique or approach that resulted in a step change in your playing?
MS: I was very fortunate to have a marvelous teacher in my early years in Boston, where I studied with Daniel Riley at New England Conservatory preparatory division for around five years. He gave me a very strong foundation in technique, exposed me to all the great solo and orchestral flute repertoire, and instilled in me knowledge of and reverence for flute history and lineage. I was 11 when Julius Baker heard me and suggested I audition and then study with him at the Curtis Institute of Music, which I never would have been ready to do without this formation. My playing changed as I grew at Curtis, with my two marvelous teachers Julius Baker and Jeffrey Khaner giving me fantastic training and a lot of caring guidance.
FSGP: When seeking out new music, what do you look for?
MS: As a soloist and founding Artistic Director of Dolce Suono Ensemble (DSE), I've had the pleasure and honor of working with many of today's leading composers as well as emerging talents. Currently in our 19th season, DSE has given 68 world premières so far. It's incredibly stimulating and inspiring to work with composers as they bring new music to the world, and I learn so much through the process. In new music, I look for communication - am I moved by the music? Does it affect me expressively on an absolute basis, whatever the program or narrative behind the work is? Craft and technique are also critically important and inextricably linked to the artistic message.
FSGP: What have you recently performed that was fun or surprising? And was there something specific that made it so?
MS: A highlight of my musical life is premiering, performing, and recording Zhou Tian's Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, written for me and commissioned by a consortium of seven American orchestras, organized by Dolce Suono Ensemble. I gave the world première with the Marine Chamber Orchestra of "The President's Own" US Marine Band and Director Col. Jason Fettig in May 2022, and am currently performing it with the rest of the consortium orchestras and others. My recording of Zhou Tian's concerto with the Marine Chamber Orchestra was released in December 2023 on the double album "Aspire" of première recordings celebrating the Marine Band's 225th anniversary. I'm happy to share it with you through the links below. This phenomenal work is emotionally powerful and virtuosic, highlighting all the technical and expressive capabilities of the flute, along with brilliant orchestration. The concerto grew out of a longstanding friendship and working relationship between Zhou and me, and he created a piece that perfectly fits my playing in a deeply personal way.
Listen to "Aspire" Album 2 playlist