FLUTE Featured Member
August 28 to September 10, 2000
I began as a violinist at seven, but picked up the flute at the age of 10 and found it much easier to play. I had an excellent teacher up to the age of 18, Brenda Dykes, who taught me lots of things I didn't understand at the time, but do now! What surprises me is that I remembered the things she used to say even though they didn't make sense to me, and then found them popping up into my brain years later. I also sang in choirs at school from the age of eight and really enjoyed part singing enormously. At Trinity College of Music I studied with Ann Cherry, and then afterwards took lessons privately with Sebastian Bell. I now play a bit, teach quite a lot, have short term musical projects (I have organised a few concerts and been the producer for two CDs on the label I started with my husband, LITmus) and edit Pan magazine, the journal of the British Flute Society. I will write a little about each of these areas.

The playing I do is mostly with piano (my husband is a pianist, Peter Hewitt), and we also play in a trio with cello. After college we were involved in an excellent youth scheme in the UK called Live Music Now! This is a charity set up by Yehudi Menuhin to send young musicians out to play to those who cannot go out to concerts. We played in residential homes, special schools, day-care centres, mental hospitals - and once even in a prison! We learnt a lot about concert-giving in different settings, and played lots of light, accessible music, borrowing much from the violin encore repertoire - hence my affection for Fritz Kreisler! After we grew too old for the scheme we realised we missed playing the music, and the trio with cello grew out of a wish to continue to play easily approachable music in a relaxed setting. The trio concerts are great fun and warmly received. I do some orchestral playing but this is slightly on the few-and-far-between side. I enjoy my playing very much and it really keeps me on my toes - especially the recital work which is hard! However, I am really too busy with all the other things to have much time to practise, and I am not sure that a life devoted to that is really what would suit me best, but it takes a while to find these things out, doesn't it. My musical heroes are Glenn Gould, John Lill, Alfred Brendel, Itzhak Perlman, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Jascha Heifetz and James Galway. My favourite composers are Brahms and Beethoven, but I am also very keen on Schubert, Schumann, Bach and Fritz Kreisler!

My teaching I enjoy enormously. I teach children from six to eighteen and really enjoy them through the range, but perhaps I like the younger ones best with their palpable excitement for playing the flute. I enjoy sharing with them how thrilled they are when they first make a sound and play a tune, and how they are delighted to be making music. Perhaps it reminds me of having that feeling myself. I think that good teaching is extremely important, and that having a good teacher and getting good habits from the start is a the best thing you can do for a child. When I inherit a child with bad habits I sometimes tell them they are not their fault - it is just that their previous teacher has not nagged them enough to get it right. My students come in for lots of nagging ("Make sure you put your little finger on after you play D - if not I shall nag you about it, and I shall keep on until you get it right, so you might as well sort it out this week at home!"), but only where appropriate. I like to think that I deal with each of them as individuals. I teach just under 60 children a week, one-to-one, and that keeps me pretty busy during term time.

The music administration I do leads well into Pan. Since college I have organised concerts for myself and Peter, and for him and for him and others, which I enjoy. I have also produced two CDs, the first of which was the first complete recording in English of Enoch Arden, a melodrama. This is a poem by Tennyson which Richard Strauss wrote some music to accompany (LITmus 101-2). The recording was judged to be 'a recommended recording of outstanding quality' by BBC Music Magazine, a British music and review magazine. The second is a newly released recording Peter made with a fine cellist he works with called Toby Turton, and is volume one (of two) of the complete works for cello and piano by Beethoven (LITmus 102-2). (If anyone is interested in either of these recordings - despite the fact there is no flute music on them!! - you can contact me through Larry!) My most recent project was on behalf of the British Flute Society: I organised an event to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Bach's death. This was partly a personal challenge - to see if I could organise a musical event in a major London concert venue that was a well-balanced, entertaining day, attract a large audience and turn in a profit. I am glad to say that I achieved all three! The day involved Rachel Brown (a baroque player of great standing in the UK), Peter-Lukas Graf, Wissam Boustany (well known to FLUTE list devotees) and William Bennett each playing a concert of Bach and taking part in a discussion chaired by Edward Blakeman, a senior producer at BBC Radio 3 (our national classical music channel). The day was a great success and it was a privilege to have made it happen (and a year's work!). The June 2000 issue of Pan celebrated the great man JS Bach, and included a transcription of the discussion.

So we come to Pan, which is what I am best known for in the flute world! I got the job in 1996 after answering an ad in the magazine. I was a bit daunted by the job spec., one item of which calmly announced that they wanted the new editor 'to make Pan the best flute magazine in the world.' Not easy, I thought, but I went for it nonetheless. It is a job I continue to enjoy enormously and through it I have met and got to know some fantastic people from famous players to makers to teachers and amateurs. One of the first things I did was to interview Jeanne Baxtresser, principal flute of the New York Philharmonic which was a fantastic experience (Pan, March 1997). She is a wonderful lady, and I have really appreciated knowing her. I have also been fortunate enough to interview James Galway for his 60th birthday (Pan, September 1999) which was also a fascinating experience. He was extremely kind to me and answered my long list of questions thoughtfully and unhurriedly. I was also privileged to interview Jacques Zoon on his rooftop garden in Boston whilst on a visit there to Powell. I have a stalwart team of reviewers of music, CDs and concerts and I am very grateful to them all for the time they put into their contributions to the magazine. The people who contribute are what make Pan what it is - I am merely an organiser of parts!

People often ask me how much time I spend on Pan, and so here is a quick run-down of the routine. Pan is published four times a year (1 March, June, September, December) and I have one day a week when I don't teach. So, say it is 1 March. The issue is with the readers (we hope, on time!) and I collect from the designer, Michael, all the spare issues and the hard copy and photographs pertaining to that issue. I deliver two boxes to the membership secretary and send back all the things people have sent me. I send extra copies to the contributors and send also to the publishers whose music we have reviewed. Then, by the 15th of the month, I try to have sent out the review material to my excellent team of reviewers. This means sorting it out, deciding what is for whom, packaging it up, and spending lots of money in the post office (they greet me most warmly when they see me coming!). Then there is a bit of a lull until the 15th of the next month which is the copy date. I now have the articles (of which there are normally four in each issue) lined up well in advance - for example, I knew in June pretty well what would be in September and December's issues - but I may have to do some work chasing after things if they have been promised a long time ago. A reminder of the copy date is never a bad thing! A few days before the 15th of April the deluge will start and I will receive the reviews back from the reviewers (by post and many, thankfully, by e mail), the articles and the Flute News. As Pan is a society journal we publicise events around the country and have write-ups of them afterwards, list concerts and have reviews, and publicise BFS events and spread news that people have. That section is the most time consuming to compile, as I have to give the magazine to the designer on disc. So, the time to the end of April is spent keying everything in, ordering and organising it. Then I gather everything up (pictures organised into folders, and marked with post it notes on the back) and take it all to Michael, my aforementioned hard-working designer. He lays it all out and makes it look good (after a model designed by Robert Bigio when he edited Pan for two issues and gave it a new look) and then mid May I go and proof read and sort out bits and help lay out specific pages and design the cover. This takes a couple of days and is long work - I often leave Michael at ten at night and am teaching at 7.30 the next morning. The magazine goes to print in the third week of May, is packaged and posted in the last week, and arrives with the members on as close to the 1 June as we can manage. Then it starts all over again…

So, Pan is a fascinating and stimulating job, and I have learnt a lot from it about all sorts of things, from meeting people to meeting deadlines, to design with up-to-the-minute computer software and working hard. I don't think any magazine should claim to be the best in the world, but I think Pan can hold its head up high in the pantheon of flute magazines.

Pan is a journal for the members of the flute society. If anyone reading this would like to write to me about Pan or suggest a topic for an article they would like to see I would be very pleased to hear from them. You can look at the BFS website where you will see some covers and articles from Pan.

To finish I'd like to thank Larry for asking me to be a Member of the Week, but even more for helping me out with flute answers when I need them for Pan! Your advice and support is always greatly appreciated, Larry.

Hannah Lang


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