FLUTE Member Of The Week
December 21 to 27, 1998
Dear Listers,

First, let me tell you what a great experience it has been for me getting to know you all. I have been with the List since July 23, 1996, and it has been my distinct pleasure to watch it grow. Some members have come and some have gone, but the spirit of community, enthusiasm, and helpfulness has never waned. Many thanks to the founder, Larry, and his partners Nelson, Helen, John, and David! The List has enriched my music-making, as I have asked and answered questions, heard new ideas presented, and always a appreciated the forum of open communication for all things related to our art. It has also enriched my life, as I have made new friends and come to appreciate perspectives from nations around the globe; it was great fun to meet many of you at the Chicago NFA Convention in '97.


My flute background began in the fifth grade, when my classmates and I chose instruments to play in band (all the cool kids played in band). For the previous two years I had watched my older brother lug home a bassoon every day to practice, so I decided convenience was the way to go, hence the choice of a pocket-sized instrument. I still credit my amazing junior high band director, Mr. Isaacs, for getting me excited about music. For the first couple of years I could barely play, but stuck with it and began to make some improvement. Then, while attending St. Olaf Summer Music Camp in '95, I asked the flute instructor there for a recommendation of a private teacher in my area (greater Minneapolis, MN). Over the next two and a half years, I made enormous progress. I believe this teacher changed my life, opening doors for me that I had never known existed.

Music became an integral part of my activities. I played in my high school band and orchestra, a woodwind quintet, Greater Twin Cities' Youth Symphonies, Minnesota All-State Band, St. Olaf Honor Band, University of Minnesota Honor Band, and the MacPhail Chamber Orchestra. I also participated in Regional and State Solo and Ensemble Contests, Upper Midwest Flute Association's Laudie Porter Memorial Competition, Young People's Concert Association Concerto Competition, and the Schubert Club Scholarship Competition, having some successes and some--shall we say, opportunities for learning. During my sophomore year in high school I also began composing, and was named the Minnesota Music Educators Association Young Composer of the Year in 1998 for a woodwind quintet. The summer after my graduation from high school, I presented an hour-long senior recital, including chamber music with some of my great musical friends, which was enormous fun. And of course, I have now and again been a very vocal participant (though I am always listening) on the List! I also play piano, recorder, and oboe (badly).

I am now in my first year of college at Brown University, in Providence Rhode Island. I am playing in the Brown University Orchestra, doing chamber music whenever I have the time, and studying with a member of the Rhode Island Philharmonic. When considering colleges, I had to think realistically about my flute playing, and decided that a performance major was not for me--I didn't think I could practice diligently for several hours every day. But I knew I would keep playing no matter what. I was attracted to Brown for its academic freedom, "laid-back Ivy League" atmosphere, and world-class neuroscience department, plus the proximity to Boston's musical scene. I am presently planning on pursuing the degrees of bachelor of science in neuroscience and bachelor of arts in music, and perhaps an additional bachelor of arts in philosophy, so I will probably be in school for five years. When I am done with my undergraduate studies, I plan on grad school in neuroscience and an eventual research career, but I may take some time off in between and attempt to study flute seriously in Boston. Regardless of how far I take my musical education, I know that playing and listening will be a part of my life forever.

The RealAudio file included is an excerpt of the first movement of the Nielsen Concerto from the live recording of my recital this summer.

Thomas Jerde


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