FLUTE List Member Of The Week
March 29 to April 4 , 1999
Don't touch that dial! You haven't connected to the wrong web site! You haven't been taken over by the Single Reed Cabal!

I'm honored to be invited to be FLUTE's Member of the Week, and although I'm a clarinetist by profession, I do have some strong ties to the flute. The first and most important of these is my 27 year marriage to flutist Patricia Werrell. Pat is the "Queen of the Luddites" when it comes to computers, so I read the FLUTE list for her, passing along tidbits she might find interesting.

It's a little known fact that I also have some flute study in my background. My undergraduate clarinet professor encouraged all his students to double. In fact, he taught all the woodwinds, and freshman theory as well, at Lebanon Valley College, where Pat and I got our undergraduate degrees. I began my flute study in high school, and continued through my junior year of college, when I decided that my goal was to become an orchestral clarinetist. Another connection to the flute is that my younger sister played the flute as a music major in college. I've always loved the instrument.

I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, better known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, home of many Amish and Mennonites. I began to play clarinet in my school music program in the 4th grade. Before moving to Virginia, I lived in New Jersey (outside New York, where I earned my M.M. at Manhattan School of Music) and in upstate New York, the greyest, coldest, snowiest place I've ever lived!

My professional life as Principal Clarinet of the Richmond Symphony, as well as Clarinet Instructor at University of Richmond, keeps me quite busy. I have a strong commitment to teaching, and enjoy the list discussion of teaching issues when they arise - I've learned a lot from all of you. I also have a strong commitment to the music of living composers. I've had the honor of working with Karel Husa, Ned Rorem, Lester Trimble, and Gunther Schuller. In Virginia, I count composers Allan Blank and Judith Shatin among my good friends.

Along the way I've also tried my hand at management skills, running two different chamber music festivals, for a total of 14 years. I've been honored to serve on the Virginia Commission for the Arts peer review panel for the Richmond area, and I also participate in the Virginians For The Arts organization, lobbying the Virginia legislature for funding for the arts, and publicizing accomplishments in the arts across the state.

In my spare time (right!!) I love to read. I'm a listserv junkie (8 lists of various kinds, including FLUTE and KLARINET), but also find time for books of all kinds. Among my favorite authors are Robertson Davies, and John Updike, who also grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, near my own home town. P.D. James is another favorite. For exercise, I try to swim or walk daily.

Pat and I have a 9 year old daughter, Terren, who occupies most of the spare time in our lives. The violin has taken over her life, with school orchestra, youth orchestra, and lessons. She also takes ballet class and gymnastics.

In spite of my work, I still love music(!!) Don't tell my colleagues - it could ruin my professional status! We enjoy an evening at the opera, which we can occasionally do, or the ballet (more rarely, since I usually play in them). Among my favorite flute recordings are James Galway's recording with Martha Argerich of the Prokofiev Sonata (One of my favorite pieces, and a favorite composer), and the recording of the Schubert Variations with Paula Robison and Rudolph Serkin, from a live Marlboro performance.

I'd like to thank Larry and the whole FLUTE crew for giving us a forum to discuss and learn about "music and the flute". I look forward to seeing you all on the list.

David Niethamer
Principal Clarinet, Richmond Symphony
David's Web Site


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