FLUTE Member Of The Week
November 15 to 21, 1999
My flute and me go back to my eighth birthday, but I'd enjoyed the indestructible plastic fantastic recorders for many years prior. I'm also told that I REALLY wanted bagpipes, and a sax like my Dad played. My parents thought a flute was a much better choice ... obviously a lot less noisy, and Dad didn't want me playing in nightclubs :)

I have very many happy high school memories of everything from the symphonic band version of Hogan's Heroes, Gilbert and Sullivan Operas, to Bach Brandenburg concertos. I played in anything I could get to, and I am more aware than ever that my parents spent a huge amount of time in cars making that possible. I was one lucky kid.

Sumerland by William Grant Still
KOCH International Classics
3 - 7192 - 2H1

I started playing professionally in high school, fortunate enough to have teachers who could overlook my absence from class. I skipped the last year of high school, and tried to get through my B.Mus. in a shorter time too. By that time I really needed a bigger musical environment. New Zealand was a great place for me to gather experience, but I needed much more. I wound up at SUNY Stony Brook with Samuel Baron and additionally with Thomas Nyfenger in New Haven for private lessons. I can't imagine a better combination, and I am thankful constantly. These guys opened up my world. I met my husband Bob at Stony Brook, a fellow grad student. I carted him home with me when I won principal flute in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. That was a job I considered an impossibility, being what I considered unprepared and assuming (incorrectly as it turned out) that I was also the wrong gender. I was 23, and lacking very much in experience of the bigger orchestral repertoire. My colleagues were very supportive. It was during a recording session of the orchestra that I was asked if I would do a solo CD. Who would turn that down, or even need time to consider? The continued support of people who believe in my playing and me, has really made my career what it is now. (Thank you, Michael!)

I chose to make a change after 11 years of the orchestra, finding myself exhausted, spread too thin, and not being able to play my best. The orchestra job, my teaching, and my solo stuff just weren't compatible with having a life, or even just being healthy. I am now the flute Professor at University of Colorado at Boulder. I miss the orchestra repertoire sometimes and maybe some of the prestige, but I REALLY enjoy teaching, from my studio, when I can think clearly. I enjoy the schedule flexibility to go play concerts that I could never fit in before, and I am enjoying my new colleagues.

Other stuff that maybe people want to know- I play 99% of the time on a .016 silver Brannen (Broegger mecanik, C#trill, B foot, in line, left hand C#lever) with a Drelinger headjoint (Karritium tube, freeflow 10k lip, toot-sweet stopper, plated in 10k). I ADORE my flute. I can't imagine playing anything else really.

I have no kids. Children just weren't an option in my orchestral job- we (my husband and I both played in the orchestra) toured about 3 months of the year. By the time I added on my own stuff, I could be gone as much as five months. I do have two dogs that are basically replacement kids… Brutus (German shepherd) and Happy (English mastiff).

Yes, this is my bike. I think, however, I am going to "upgrade" to a 906. (Bikers will know what I mean!)

There are people I would like to take this opportunity to thank- namely Larry, Helen, Nelson and John. This list has been an introduction to many fine friends, an invaluable source of knowledge, and literally a lifesaver. Particularly when I was in New Zealand, this list helped me feel not quite so far away or so isolated. Larry has also put me his web site. His generosity in doing so much for the flute community just astounds me. (THANKS Larry!)

I also need to thank Myers, my management, and Koch (Thanks Susan!), and finally last but certainly not least, my husband and soul mate Bob. … he lets me be me, celebrates my being me, and helps me keep my feet on the ground.

Alexa Still


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