FLUTE Member Of The Week
August 7 to 13, 2000
Lisa Nelsen grew up on a farm in Namao, north of Edmonton in Canada. She came to her musical talent quite naturally; her parents, Ron and Diane, are professional singers. She and her sister and brother were always involved in either piano lessons, dancing lessons, and later in their respective instrumental lessons (flute, bassoon, and horn). The Namao Junior High band programme gave them their first taste of playing wind instruments, and who would have guessed how far they would go? Lisa started to study privately with Shelley Younge, Second Flute of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

From an early age Lisa was singing, and had a formidable voice. When she moved to Sturgeon High School she continued to play flute, but was drawn to the musical theatre productions, and had great success with a large part in "Godspell", and in later productions as the lead in "Anne of Green Gables" and "Mame". The local papers had her picked to be a star of the stage. Summers were spent at Musicamrose, on tour with the Provincial Wind Band, at Domaine Forget Flute Symposium in Quebec and at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She went on to study for her Bachelor of Music at the University of Alberta, and graduated with Distinction, receiving several scholarships and the concerto competition prize. There were opportunities to play with the St Cecilia Orchestra conducted by composer Dr. Malcolm Forsyth and the Wind Ensemble (with Dr Fordyce Pier) and to continue vocal studies.

While still at the UofA, she met Raymond Delnoye, who was then principal flute of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. Raymond invited Lisa to study with him at the Brabants Conservatorium when she finished her studies in Canada. Winning another scholarship, she went to The Netherlands, and finished her UM (equivalent Masters') and KM (chamber music) in two years. As well as her flute lessons, Lisa had weekly sessions with Jan Gruithuijsen, pianist, who would work through all the major flute and piano repertoire; and with Tijn van Eijk, harpsichord player, working on Baroque style and interpretation. These sessions were fundamental in Lisa's approach to coaching ensembles.

During the five years that Lisa spent in the Netherlands she was chosen to play in the flute sections of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Netherlands Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Het Brabants Orkest, Opera Forum Jong, and was the piccolo player for 2 years in the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra in Spain. She also became Principal Piccolo and then Flute in the National Youth Orchestra of Holland, and later played all positions for 2 summers with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

Lisa moved to England to study for a year in Trevor Wye's "Flute Studio", and then was asked to become Visiting Lecturer in Flute Studies at Canterbury Christchurch College, where she still tutors the Masters' candidates. During this time she began to perform all her recitals from memory, feeling that this was closer to memorizing lines from shows and would be better for communication with the audience. She has had great successes in the Canterbury Festivals, MusicFest in Aberystwyth, Wales, in Kuwait and the United Arab Emerites and on the stage of the Purcell Room , South Bank in London, to name a few. Boosey and Hawkes Musical Instrument Company asked her to become their consultant to the Buffet Crampon flute, helping to design the newest model. With their support Lisa gave recitals and masterclasses (in flute and performance techniques) across Europe, Scandanavia, and Canada, at places like the Bruckner Academy in Linz, Austria, the Oslo State Academy in Norway, the Dublin Conservatory in Ireland, the Arnhem Music School, The Netherlands, and the University of Alberta in Canada. She is Principal Flute of the contemporary music group, "Continuum Ensemble" in London, and would like to have more contemporary Canadian music heard in Britain, as well as British composers in Canada.

This past year Lisa was a guest artist at the First International Flute Symposium in Orebro, Sweden; she was made Professor of Performance and Interpretation at the London College of Music and Media; she continues to sit on the Council and Editorial Board of the British Flute Society. In July this year she appeared and taught in Aberystwyth's MusicFest, and played solo for the Second Annual Aids Benefit Ball at Sir Elton John's estate.

The teachers who had the greatest influence on her were Shelley Younge, Jeanne Baxtresser, Ornulf Gulbransen, Trevor Wye and Kate Lukas. Her family are also a wonderful inspiration to her: Her husband, Alex Crutchley is a bass trombone player and a teacher of brass in Leicestershire, seeing approximately 100 students each week. Suzanne Nelsen is Second Bassoon in the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Jeff Nelsen is in the Horn Section of the Vancouver Symphony and various other orchestras in Canada and the States. Diane is Head of Vocal Studies at Alberta College in Edmonton, Alberta. Ron is teaching voice at Alberta College. They have been a tremendous support for Lisa, and they continue to play and work together.

Some of her other pass-times are run-walking, cycling, reading (Canadian and English contemporary authors a preference), calligraphy, traveling and playing cards with Alex.

Lisa Nelsen


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