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Flutist Carol Wincenc on Her World Premieres of New Works by Robert Sirota & Sato Matsui

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On February 23 at Merkin Hall, “Queen of the Flute” (New York Magazine) Carol Wincenc will celebrate her 50-year career with the world premiere performances of two of five new works commissioned for the season: Sato Matsui’s The Goldenrod Sonata for flute and piano, and Robert Sirota’s Dancing With the Angels for flute, viola and harp. The program also includes Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Minuet and "Dance of the Blessed Spirits” from Orfeo ed Euridice. Carol will be joined by host Terrance McKnight, pianist Bryan Wagorn and the members of her trio Les Amies: violist Cynthia Phelps and harpist Nancy Allen.

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Carol discusses the program:
Tonight's program reflects my special passions for collaboration (thank you Bryan Wagorn, and Les Amies!) and for working with living composers. Participating in the creation of a new work is akin to giving birth, both frightening and enthralling, and the final result is never known until the last double bar is engraved on the page. Some love the rush they get from skydiving. For me, it's the delivery of a new composition!

The glory of the flute stems from the dual qualities of its sound: pure singing, yet haunting. I first heard the poignantly beautiful Gluck Minuet and Dance of the Blessed Spirits, when my mentor, Jean Pierre Rampal, performed it. For me, it is a concert "must," and tonight's performance reflects my special reverence for the French School of wind playing.

Robert Sirota is a treasured former classmate of mine since 1967 at the Oberlin Conservatory. I was thrilled when he agreed to compose something for my 50th, and doubly-thrilled when he announced that he wanted to write for flute, viola and harp! How convenient that I had my beloved Les Amies, a trio that I founded with Nancy Allen and Cynthia Phelps over 15 years ago. Dancing With the Angels is a serious work that expresses in a rich musical language what is at once ethereal and profound.

It was serendipity that led me to the refreshing spirit and brilliant talent of Sato Matsui, thanks to one of my flute students at the Juilliard School. Her transparent and delightful writing in Goldenrod Sonata reflects my own child-like, fun-loving nature. Working with young talents is something that I adore, whether in the flute studio, a master class, or at the composition table. With Sato it has been a complete joy!

And finally, I am grateful to Terrance McKnight, our guide for this evening, who will help us find words for the wordless, timeless nature of music, through which so much love and beauty are transmitted out into the universe. To my family, friends, students, colleagues new friends — and those in the great beyond (my extraordinary musician parents and teachers) — I thank you so much for celebrating this wonderful milestone with me.