Peter Lloyd was born in Dorset, England, on September 9, 1931, and began playing flute when he was fourteen years old. During his youth he attended the Dauntsey's School, a boarding school, where he says, "I was taught by a marvelous man whose name was Mr. Nightingale."
When Lloyd graduated at age eighteen he attended the Royal College of Music from 1949 to 1952. There he studied with Edward Walker, "the principal flute, a wooden flute player, of the London Symphony." England was recovering from World War II, and as Lloyd said, "It just wasn't busy. Not a lot of work about."
During his fourth year at the Royal College, Lloyd began his first professional playing position as second flutist in the Scottish National Orchestra, playing on a wooden Boehm-system flute.
The only reason I got a job [was] because there was nobody auditioning for the jobs. There were only two people after the second flute job in the Scottish National Orchestra when I got it. The other bloke had just got out of a military band and didn't know what an orchestra part was, and left! I got there and won. What's more, they didn't even put me on trial--they gave it to me.
After two and a half years, Lloyd felt a need for training from the French school of flute playing, which had the most advanced pedagogy for flute at the time. He took a leave of absence from the Scottish National Orchestra for six months of training with Fernand Caratgé. Lloyd returned to the Scottish National Orchestra for another six months, and then won his first principal flute position with BBC Northern Orchestra in autumn 1955, which he held for three years.
We used to put out eight concerts a week with six different programs. They were only an hour or three-quarters of an hour long. But the trouble was that when I joined, everybody else knew the music. It was a relatively old orchestra and I was the youngest. And you'd get this great wad of material--an opera, two or three ballet scores, and another bit out of this and another bit out of that. So most of it was sight-readding, which was very good training. It was a nightmare for awhile but I didn't lose the job, so it was all right.
In 1959 he returned to the Scottish National Orchestra for two years, this time as principal flute. Then, in 1962 he returned to the BBC Northern in Manchester. As he said:
BBC Northern had turned into a much bigger orchestra. Instead of being a rather small, light, sight-reading orchestra, it became a big full-scale symphony orchestra. And I was invited back as first flute.
He stayed until March 1967 and then joined the Halle Orchestra. "The reason I joined the Halle is [that] I'd always wanted to play for Barbarolli and I felt it was time to move on to a bigger, more concert-playing job." He negotiated a contract and "of course, literally, the day that the contract was on my desk ready to be signed, the London Symphony Orchestra rang."
Peter Lloyd accepted the LSO offer and became its principal flutist from 1967 to 1987. After joining the LSO, he felt that he needed a change in sound and took a six-week leave to study with Marcel Moyse.
During his symphony career, Lloyd was also engaged in solo work and chamber ensemble playing. As senior principal, he was somewhat free to accept outside work, such as playing with the Peter Lloyd Baroque Trio, the Taskin Players, the London Virtuosi, or the Barry Tuckwell Wind Quintet. It was in the nature of a renewal, such as an academic sabbatical, when he took eighteen months off, "to start doing some solo playing and chamber music and get out of orchestra playing a bit."
The nature of music in London is such that there is always too much. There's too much work for any of the principals to do, so they have two principals. So if you are the principal-principal, the more equal of the two principals...your work outside would probably come in first before the other person's. And so you immediately go to the Orchestra Board or to the Contractor and you say, "Look, I've got this film offer --or whatever--offered as a freelancer." And it was usually possible to negotiate a temporary absence for this sort of engageement.
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Studies with Fernand Caratgé
"My time with Caratgé was very interesting. I was very lucky. When I was in the Scottish National Orchestra I was sitting between two Caratgé students." One of his colleagues wrote a letter of introduction on Lloyd's behalf, and as soon as he had saved enough money for lessons and living expenses, he traveled to France for lessons.
When Lloyd arrived for his Caratgé lessons, he was still playing a wooden flute. One of the first things he had to do was switch to a silver instrument.
"My lessons with Caratgé were absolutely terrific. He did for me what I needed, which was disciplined tech-nique." Lloyd studied privately with Caratgé and was also allowed to sit in on Caratgé's classes at the Ecole Moderne. He had two lessons a week of an hour and a half each. "He [Caratgé] charged me very little," Lloyd remembers. "He said, 'I'll only charge you what my teachers charged me,' and that was back in Gaubert's days! It was wonderful."
He [Caratgé] took a look at this elephant gun and said, "What's that?" He wasn't too impressed! It was actually quite a good flute...[but] he took me along to the Marigaux flute workshops, the only flute makers in Paris at that time. I didn't know about Louis Lots and such. So we got this new Marigaux which had a beautiful sound, but mechanically it was very badly made. It leaked all over the place [and was] very difficult to play. It made a beautiful sound, though. Very rich.
Peter Lloyd's biggest stumbling block was switching from techniques he had learned to play on the wooden flute to techniques he needed for playing a silver flute. "In my early days as a wooden flute player, I was incredibly tight because that was very much the style."
I always remember the difference of embouchure we used to use. I mean, my first lesson was, "Smile, boy, and blow!" Literally, you used to fill yourself up like a bullfrog, smile, and then let it go--POW. Extraordinary, the noise that some of those people used to make. An enormous noise--absolutely vast....But it wasn't the sort of way we play now--a smaller sound that would project right through. We used to have to blast it through everything.
Caratgé trained Lloyd to give up the tense "smile" embouchure used on the wooden flute and to switch to a more relaxed embouchure. Caratgé also encouraged him to control air speed and direction, and to bring his articulation, close to the instrument. "Bring the whole thing forward, like the French language--TU. Articulations were always DU, GU, or TU, which is between the teeth and touching the lip. And that was important."
"He didn't want me to do too much practice. Three hours of concentrated practice was what he wanted me to do, 'And then you can play as much as you like.'"
When asked what particular exercises Caratgé used during lessons, Lloyd replied:
He always used Taffanel-Gaubert exercises particularly to start with, to get my fingers going and my sound going....I used Reichert a lot, [and] Moyse's [De La] Sonorité. And then later he said, "I think we really must spend some time on the style of the French pieces." He said, "I know a lot of people play these much too freely, and they shouldn't. I was taught them by Gaubert, who was Taffanel's student, and they knew how to play these pieces which were written for them in those days, and I know how to play them." So I learned how to play them straight. He would never let me play anything freely or with rubato until he understood that I understood the structure--the rhythm, the form.
As an example, Lloyd remembered a lesson concerning Debussy's Syrinx. "He said, 'You play exactly what's there.' And when he understood that I understood, he'd say, 'Okay, now you can play freely.' It was very interesting because it was a very strong discipline--rhythmic discipline."
"He [Caratgé] was a marvelous man," Peter Lloyd summed up. "Very much the gentleman. Terrific technique. [His playing was] just so perfect, so meticulous....He could play absolutely anything and it was always so clean."
The switch from wooden to silver flute was difficult for Lloyd, because he was still a working professional without the leisure time to effect major changes in private. When asked how long it took for him to become comfortable playing on a silver flute, Lloyd replied:
Years! It was so hard. I was out of action playing-wise for about three months. I could hardly do anything. And then I started to panic and think, "Christ, I've got to get back to playing, because I've got a job waiting for me still!" And then...I did panic a bit when I got back, and started to pull [the embouchure back] a bit again....It was most difficult.
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Studies with Geoffrey Gilbert
Upon his return to Britain, Peter Lloyd went to Geoffrey Gilbert for lessons, because Gilbert, too, had made the switch from wooden to silver flutes--and from a "smile" embouchure to a more relaxed one while trying to maintain a professional career.
My studies with him [Gilbert] came after Caratgé....I was having such a struggle with relaxing the embouchure and so forth after the wooden flute and even after six months I was still trying to play professionally and the thing was always a problem. And so I constantly went...for a period of three to four years--I kept popping in to Geoffrey whenever it was possible. If he was soloizing or doing anything around the Manchester area whhen I was up there, he would come over to my place and give me a lesson on something. And I just had these odd lessons with him, all the time, for quite a long period.
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Geoffrey...reinforced and kept reminding me of...all I'd already learned from Caratgé and later, Rampal. I just got these marvelous little reminders in his very quiet, gentle way with that little smile on his face when things were wrong. [When] I did something stupid, he said, "That's interesting...I've never heard it like that." Not, "like that," but "like that." It was lovely--and I changed very fast.
Studies with Jean-Pierre Rampal
Peter Lloyd's studies with Jean-Pierre Rampal came in 1962. The objective of studying with Rampal was to learn French articulation.
I'd had two years of playing at BBC Northern and then I decided...to see [Rampal] for about six weeks because at the time, he was the man who had articula-tion above anyone. He was phenomenal. And so he accepted me as a student....I took to him...Ibert, Taffanel, Bach--all these things for articulation. And I had a very interesting time with him.
Rampal spent most of that time teaching Lloyd how to play "bell tones."
Much of my lessons with Rampal was literally just doing this--he would start with me playing very, very slowly on a scale. The thing is to do it very, very slowly so you've got that little accent [on each note] and time to play and let it disappear....and then when that was beginning to go quite well, we'd slowly increase the speed. And then it would be DU, GU, very slowly, so we'd just begin to get towards double tonguing...and then [the double tonguing would speed up], always with this going here [support from the diaphragm/intercostal area], and then when we'd got to a faster speed, we took off the diaphragm on every note and put it on every other note. But it was a very slow setting up of the double tonguing and doing single articulations, which I thought was a very good way of doing it.1
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I remember having to play the solo Bach [J.S. Bach's Partita in A Minor], with every note on here [indicates diaphragm/intercostal area], forward tonguing, first single tonguing--forward tonguing, on the lip--and then double tonguing. And when I sort of fell on the floor after it, I just said, "Honestly--do you really play it like this?" And he said, "Yes, always. I play everything I possibly can from here because it is the only way to keep articulation alive."
He was totally spontaneous with me in his work, and I loved working for him because he'd react if I did something good, and it would sort of raise him. He suddenly rose up to a different level and I would leave lessons absolutely euphoric....2
Studies with Marcel Moyse
In autumn, 1967, Lloyd studied with Marcel Moyse.
I had been in a broadcasting orchestra with a microphone....I had learned how to play to that microphone by turning in, being relatively shallow, but making as intense a sound as I possibly could, without any hiss so that it would sound good there....However, when I went to the London Symphony Orchestra...what I could not do was play forte or fortissimo or fortississimo!...So William Bennett suggested that I should go and have lessons with Moyse.3
Marcel Moyse started Lloyd's lessons with his book on tone, De La Sonorité. When asked to play, Peter Lloyd burst forth with the biggest sound he could muster and a deep, wide vibrato. Moyse was not impressed.
[Moyse] said it wasn't a question of volume. He talked to me about opening up sound quality through harmonics--open up the back of the throat, get the sound singing--and not one word was ever spoken about dynamics. But he talked a lot about color.4
He made me play the whole exercise through, no repeats, to the very end. About twenty minutes later I was a total wreck. And he looked at me and said, "Non, monsieur, c'est ne pas possible." So that was me. Bang. On the floor. Then he started putting it all together.5
First, Moyse cut out all hint of vibrato. Then he started Lloyd from the note b2, but did not like the sound Lloyd produced on that note. So, note by note, Lloyd descended from that B until he reached an F-sharp. At that point, Moyse cried, "Ah! You have an F-sharp! We'll start your long notes from an F-sharp!"6
After that, he [Moyse] started me to rethink my breathing a bit to get it much lower, into my back, and to feel color. And that was a question of finding the notes in my flute. He then started to teach me color and harmonics....The whole of that time was spent working on these areas solely--understanding what happens with different vowel sounds in the mouth; why if you went "TU, GU, and KU" it sounded like a French-man; how it helped to bring your mouth forward; why it sounded different if you went "AWWWW."7 After six weeks...I went back to the LSO and I could play with plenty enough sound for them, but I'd lost my pianissimo....It needed a lot of work to learn how to play both pianissimo and fortissimo on the same embouchure.8
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Throughout his career, Peter Lloyd has always found time to play chamber music.
Quite simply, because in London the pressure of playing is so high because you never stop, that it's terribly important to actually revitalize yourself--charge your batteries. Go and work with other people. And the chamber music thing--particularly the wind quintet stuff--was revitalizing.
One of several chamber music groups that Peter Lloyd performed with was the English Taskin Players, a group named after a French harpsichord player of the eighteenth century. This group was made up of six professional musicians from the London area and they specialized in playing chamber music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
I think that's terribly, terribly important. Players in orchestras should do as much chamber music and solo playing and recitaling as they can, just to get away from the continual grind. Whether one likes it or not,--it doesn't matter. There is a grind to it.9
The Peter Lloyd Baroque Trio was made up of Peter Lloyd, flute, Courtney Kenny, harpsichord, and David Strange, 'cello. This group, too, specialized in music of the Baroque. Although both the English Taskin Players and the Peter Lloyd Trio played many recitals to appreciative audiences, neither group was ever recorded.
The London Virtuosi was a chamber orchestra built around the LSO string section, which incorporated only a few wind instruments. Flute was one of the wind instruments used. This group toured extensively. The London Virtuosi showcased many of its players through concertos, and Lloyd was featured several times.
The Tuckwell Wind Quintet was formed in 1968 by Barry Tuckwell, the group's horn player. Peter Lloyd became the quintet's flutist in 1970 after its former flutist [James Galway] joined the Berlin Philharmonic. The Tuckwell Wind Quintet was a well-known and well-traveled group until they disbanded in 1991 or 1992.
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Peter Lloyd's first teaching experiences came to him because he was an orchestral player.
It's very much a thing in Britain...that if you are in an orchestra in the provinces, you are always invited to go and teach at the local college of music. And so right from the beginnings of time, when I first started as second flute of the Scottish National, at a terribly tender age when I was hardly older than the students...I was always teaching. My first teaching in Glasgow was, I'm sure, absolutely terrible. I've no idea now, because I've forgotten....Going down to Manchester, things had gotten a little bit better because I'd had lessons with Caratgé and then later on, lessons with Rampal....10
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Lloyd credits his experience as a teacher at Guildhall to Geoffrey Gilbert.
It was he who introduced me to Guildhall. He gave me one day at Guildhall in exchange for my day at Manchester. I was very lucky at Guildhall. I had a lot of good students there. So they all played very well and were very successful.11
He soon felt overwhelmed. "I was in such a panic....There weren't enough hours in the day."12
I said, "Look, Geoffrey--I really need to consider giving up the teaching." He [Gilbert] said, "No!" He said, "It is your duty to give back to the next generation what you have taken from mine." He later said, "You must remember that you have a responsibility to your students, and they are quite as important--if not more important--than you are."13
Peter Lloyd never forgot that advice and has taught ever since.
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Indiana University School of Music
Beginning in 1987 Peter Lloyd taught flute at Indiana University in the United States. He arrived with high expectations and found that standards were much lower than he had anticipated.
I was absolutely shocked, because this was a school that was considered in Europe to be one of the top schools in America...[and] everybody in Europe always looked upon all players in America as being incredible technocrats. I went [there] thinking, "God what am I going to do now? Everybody's going to be playing twice as well as I can...." And then I came across these people who couldn't play a G-major scale and thought, "There's something wrong with that!"14
Lloyd taught at Indiana University for six years before returning to England to teach at the Royal Northern Manchester College of Music.
I found that I had to learn how to teach people of [low caliber], which was very hard to start with, because I'd never done that in my life before....then later on the class started to improve. Towards the end it got very good indeed. Then we really started exploring areas [such as] color, style, and how to put together concerts.15
However, the experience of having taught for six years as my number one priority [instead of playing], gave me a fantastic opportunity to learn properly the profession in which I had only dabbled before [i.e., teaching].16
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Royal Northern Manchester College of Music
In September 1993, Peter Lloyd began his current position as flute teacher at the Royal Northern Manchester College of Music in England.
I shall be there, I suppose, until they kick me out. There is a retiring age of sixty-five. However, your contract is reviewed each year after that and if you're useful they hang on. And if you're no longer useful, they say, "Oh, how nice of you to have done the work--goodbye!"17
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This class has taken four years to develop a real possibility. I can say that this fourth year has given me enormous pleasure in the quality of the recital and orchestral playing, and a real feeling that we are on the edge of producing a really distinguished standard. I feel that 1997-98 and onwards will justify fully the pains and frustrations encountered at the beginning.18
Besides playing and teaching, Peter Lloyd takes the time to hold many masterclasses. He began this aspect of teaching during LSO tours when area schools asked for one-day masterclasses while the orchestra was in town. Also, "Geoffrey [Gilbert] pushed me into some down in Florida."19 He was surprised at the popularity of "group" classes, particularly in the United States.
I did one...in Ames, Iowa. There was a Teacher's Convention at the time [the LSO] was there. They asked me if I could come and do a class on the differences of European techniques and American techniques and I thought that would be okay--a little group, and it would be quite fun. I went into the hall and it was packed with thousands of people! I was absolutely horrified!20
After Geoffrey Gilbert died in 1989, members of the Gilbert classes were impressed by Lloyd's teaching of a Masterclass at that year's National Flute convention in New Orleans. He was immediately approached and asked to take over Gilbert's summer classes.
The early classes were especially difficult for me. I was only starting out in the world of teaching at this sort of level. And I was trying to find a way of coping with the impossible task of taking over from the finest teacher of that time. As the years go by, I'm learning. And every year I become a little more confident and certain that I have some of the necessary information at last in my grasp.21
Just as Geoffrey Gilbert's classes had been, Peter Lloyd's masterclasses have become known for their high caliber of playing, Lloyd's excellent advice, and the supportive atmosphere among all the participants. He commented at some length on this situation:
I have to thank all of you in varying degrees. What I was very impressed with...is when I see the cooperation [among] you for each other and the help you've given one another. And that is the beginnings of the sort of class where everybody is happy.
When I used to come [to classes] no one was ever able to be happy, because everyone was jealous or antagonistic and there was this continuous pressure of "I can do much better," which doesn't help anybody. When you all understand that each of you can help one other, it makes my job a hell of a lot easier.
Now, in my opinion, this is really what makes a class work--to see you all happy and not...little cliques here and there, and this one screams at this one and that one. So do remember this when you go elsewhere. Feel this cooperation. It's lovely.22
1 Masterclass notes, 6/25/94, Technique class.
2 Masterclass notes, 6/16/94, 5 P.M.
3 Masterclass notes 6/95, Class 9.
4 Masterclass notes, 6/24/94, Morning class.
5 Masterclass notes, 6/95, Class 9.
8 Masterclass notes, 6/24/94, Morning class.
9 Additional taped notes, October 1997.
12 Masterclass notes, 6/20/94, 8 P.M.
14 Masterclass notes, 6/21/94, 8 P.M.
16 Taped additions to text, October 1997.
17 Interview, 6/22/94.
18 Taped additions to text, October 1997.
19 Interview, 6/22/94.
21 Taped additions to text, October 1997.
22 Masterclass notes, 6/95, Class 11.