An Audiophilia Top Ten. Number 17 in the series. (The Top Ten Orchestral Flutists — active or retired)

by Audiophilia on January 31, 2013 · 7 comments

in Audiophilia Top Tens

by Anthony Kershaw

The following are my choices for the top orchestral flutists, active or retired. A pretty obscure (and somewhat silly) Top Ten, but fun for me and other flutists. Of course, all the players (and many more) are great soloists in their own right, but in the unique and very difficult job of orchestral principal, the following are brilliant. Happily, all these great artists are captured many times on your favourite records.

And, for once, the order is particular.

1. Aurèle Nicolet (Berlin Philharmonic. Ret.)
2. Jacques Zoon (Concertgebouw, Boston Symphony, Lucerne Festival)
3. Emmanuel Pahud (Berlin Philharmonic)
4. Mathieu Dufour (Chicago Symphony)
5. Wolfgang Schulz (Vienna Philharmonic. Ret.)
6. James Galway (BBC Symphony, Royal Philharmonic , Berlin Philharmonic. Ret.)
7. William Bennett (London Symphony. Ret.)
8. Doriot Anthony Dwyer (Boston Symphony. Ret.)
9. Walter Auer (Vienna Philharmonic)
10. Jeanne Baxtresser (Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony, New York Philharmonic. Ret.)

Interestingly, only four active orchestral flutists make it into this Top Ten. Lots of orchestral retireees out there that set incredibly high standards.

Passed on flutists? That’s for another time, but a special mention to Julius Baker (New York Philharmonic) who passed away in 2003 and would be at or near the top of anyone’s list, active or retired.

Honorable Mentions

Joshua Smith (Cleveland Orchestra)
Jim Walker (Los Angeles Philharmonic. Ret.)
Michel Debost (Orchestre de Paris. Ret.)
Oliver Bannister (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Ret.)
Patricia Lynden (Philharmonia Orchestra. Ret.)


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

roy harris 01.31.13 at 6:24 pm

hi anthony:

as a professional musician, i would like to hear from regarding your favorite instrumentalists in all solo categories.

by the way, what is your opinion of ransom wilson ??

admin 01.31.13 at 10:44 pm

I’ve certainly got my favourites on other instruments, but not a Top Ten list :)

Ransom Wilson is a fine flutist and teacher.

Cheers, a

Ron Harper / RJH Audio 02.01.13 at 9:06 am

I would be interested to see how many of the fine musicians on your list would include you on theirs.

admin 02.01.13 at 9:27 am

My mom thinks I’m pretty good. :)

Cheers, a

Len Bradfield 02.04.13 at 10:53 pm

Hi Tony,
My real source of inspiration was Nick Fiore, Toronto Symphony for many years till about 1980, when he died of a heart attack, I think. I was fortunate to have several lessons from him.

Years later, I heard the Sibelius #2 (?) with its famous flute solo, played better, in my opinion, than by anyone else. Tom Kay, KW Symphony. I guess everything depends on one’s mental territory. It matched mine.

There’s lots of room at or near the top.

Scott Colebank 02.15.13 at 12:19 am

This goes back a few years, but how about Elaine Schaeffer (1925-1973) wife of conductor Efrem Kurtz? She made several highly-regarded recordings.

admin 02.16.13 at 4:21 am

Hi Scott:

Thanks for your comment.

Elaine Shaffer was principal of Houston for only a short time. She made her reputation as a soloist, including her seminal recordings of the Bach Sonatas (one of my favourite recordings).

Cheers, a

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