The Archives: Musical Directors

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Joanna Price - Musical Director since 2012

Please see the current Musical Director page.

Harriet Rudge
Beckie Carey

Beckie Carey - Musical Director from 2010 to 2012

Bio to follow

Beckie is now enjoying some time as a playing member again, having really enjoyed the role of Musical director, she now passes the baton to Joanna Price

Harriet Rudge - Joint Musical Director from 2008 to 2010

Harriet Rudge started learning the flute at eight years of age. For over seven years, she studied at the Guidhall School of Music and Drama under the tuition of Evelyn Frank. Here, she had the opportunity to perform at St. John's, Smith Square, The Barbican Centre in London, and as a soloist at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.

Harriet now studies with Barbara Brown at the University of Southampton. She is the Musical Director of the University's Showstoppers' main show this year, Copacabana, and helps run the Music in Care Homes project in the Southampton area. She has also appeared on ITV as an accompanist for the Harmony Juniors choir, which she later came to direct, and continues to play the piano for fellow students. Harriet plans to take a gap year in 2010/11 before studying for a PGCE in London.

Kate Roberts - Joint Musical Director from 2008 to 2010

Kate Roberts

Kate starting learning the flute when she was 11 years old, and since then has been involved in many music activities in and out of school. This includes the Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra, Oxfordshire Wind Band and the Oxfordshire County Flute Ensemble. In 2007 she took a gap year and worked at Henry Box School as a Music Technician where she was able to teach the flute to students as well as running her own flute choir.

Since moving to Southampton to study music she has played piccolo in the Southampton University Wind Orchestra and in the Southampton University Concert Band. She attended the Oxford Flute Summer School in August 2009, as well as passing the Dip ABRSM. Kate hopes to undertake a post-graduate qualification in performance when she graduates from Southampton in July 2010.

Carrie Hensel - Musical Director from 2005 to 2008

Carrie Hensel

Carrie Hensel joined Flautissimo as Musical Director in 2005, herself a former member under Robin Soldan's direction. She introduced exciting new works into Flautissimo's repertoire: composers such as Wil Offermans, Kathleen Mayne, Phyllis Avidan Louke and Ann Cameron Pearce featured prominently and Flautissimo devoured whatever was put in front of them. Carrie also conducted Flautissimo's first 'live' performance with the Southampton Wind Band, which went out to hospitals in Hampshire. Other firsts under Carrie's leadership were the purchase of a contrabass flute made by Jelle Hogenhuis in 2006, participating in the very first flute choir day organised by Margaret Lowe in Birmingham and performing at the BFS International Convention in 2006 and again in 2008.

Carrie gave birth to her beautiful baby girl, Emmeline Jodie, on 5th October 2008. Since then she has kept been kept very busy, with Emme enjoying playing, improvising with and making lots of different sounds and listening to lots of music. Daddy thinks she might be a trombonist as she has perfected her embouchure already!! Emmeline's first year went very quickly after which whilst enjoying life as a mum, Carrie has had the task of combining family life with flute teaching and directing Hampshire Flute Choir (one of Hampshire County Council Music Service's Youth Bands).

Sarah Logan - Musical Director from 2001 to 2005

Sarah Logan

Music has always been a major element of my life to date. I started to learn the flute (back home in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire) at the age of nine. By twelve I was accepted into the Cotswold Flute Choir, and my love for making music both in ensembles and as a soloist grew immensely!

By 16 I had passed by Grade 8 with Merit, and before I left school I had passed the Guildhall performance Certificate. I studied Music and Education at King Alfred's College, Winchester, and decided afterwards to set up a flute teaching business in Hampshire.

One of my ambitions to complete within the first two years of teaching was to set up my own flute group. So, in the year 2000, I set up 2KFlutes in the Eastleigh area. This ran successfully for a year until I was offered the position of musical director of Flautissimo.

Since leaving Flautissimo I have bought and run a wonderful business - 'Lingard - Winchester's Specialist Music Service' which provides, amongst other things, instrumental tuition for all ages, abilities and instruments, of which one of our talented teachers is Sarah Heard.  I also run and lead 'Toddler Twist' and 'Baby Boogie' sessions around the Eastleigh area for 3 month olds to 3 year olds and their parents/carers as I am also a trained early years music specialist.  Teaching the flute, clarinet and saxophone are still my first love and so I teach at home and in schools, which all in all, makes for a varied and fun working life!

Back in 2006 I met my husband, Simon, who I married on 5th September 2009 in Winchester. Life has changed a great deal since the Flautissimo days but when I think of all the concerts and rehearsals etc we had as well as celebrating our 21st anniversary I can't help smiling!  I had a wonderful four years with some lovely, talented flautists and a hard-working committee!

Jill Matthews - Musical Director from 1994 to 2001

Jill Matthews, a local music teacher whose son had been in the group since it's creation, stepped in to fill the void when Flautissimo was without a Musical Director in 1994. This 'temporary' appointment ended in her being Flautissimo's second longest-running MD as she finally left in 2001! Jill succeeded in maintaining the group's high standard and enthusiasm during a period of 'musical deprivation' in schools. She recalls that in education instrumental lessons were diminishing, therefore making it hard to get new members. Flautissimo was special to Jill because she had been involved behind the scenes since 1984, but also because 'if you play an instrument it's fantastic to play with others of all ages' and this making music together led to opportunities for the players to perform in concert halls around the country.

Since retiring from Flautissimo Jill spent three years working as a regular supply teacher in Gosport and then joined a group to help children overcome problems, linking with their families. She totally retired from the education field in 2006 and since then has taken up a church organist post, spent much time involved with other church activities and engaged in voluntary work in the Southampton Fair Trade shop in Shirley. In addition she spends a fair bit of time gardening and carrying out many craft activities. Apart from music in church most of her musical activity is purely for her own enjoyment. One of her other relaxations is swimming - apart from burning off a few calories, swimming gives her much pleasure.

Rene Mairis - Musical Director from 1991 to 1994

Rene Mairis trained at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, and was a pupil of Stanley Gleave. She began her teaching career as Head of Music at Ebbw Vale Grammer School before coming to Hampshire where she has worked as a flute teacher since 1982. Her experience includes playing with the BBC Welsh Orchestra, BBC (Wales) T. V and H. T. V. While conducting Flautissimo Rene was also a member of 'Flute Legeres', a local flute quartet, and had been associated with Flautissimo since the early days.

As well as playing at the Festival Hall and the Barbican Rene also encouraged the group to raise £500, which was combined with a donation from the Princes Trust to buy a second bass flute for the group. Rene recalls the unique thing about Flautissimo was that "students were prepared to come out on a Friday night and get the music right, with enthusiasm". Rene now lives on the Isle of Wight where she continues to enjoy a musical life, with a busy schedule of teaching, performing and composing.

Lis Lewis - Musical Director from 1990 to 1991

Lis Lewis became the musical director of Flautissimo in January 1990, after moving to the area only two years previously to take up the post of Head of Woodwind and Brass at St Swithuns, Winchester. Lis was born in Liverpool, and first studied the flute with Atarah Ben-Tovim. In 1978, after the sixth form at Chetham's School, Manchester, she went to the Royal Academy of Music where she studied flute with Gareth Morris. During her time there she was principal flute in the symphony orchestra, as well as giving many other concerts. She also won the J and J Brough and Carr prizes.

Between leaving the Academy in 1983 and moving to Winchester, Lis followed a career as a freelance flute player (and teacher!) playing in all the major London concert venues. A Countess of Munster Award enabled her to study with Sebastian Bell, and provided an opportunity for many recitals across the country. She has worked with many orchestras playing piccolo as well as flute.

Lis thought Flautissimo was "very beneficial for all the players" as it gave people from different backgrounds a "chance to meet and make music together". Now, in 2014, Lis is researching British flute players for a PhD and is a reviewer for the British Flute Society’s journal, Pan. She enjoys teaching the flute to both advanced and beginners at her studio in Winchester.

Robin Soldan - Founder of Flautissimo and Musical Director from 1984 to 1990

Robin Soldan

As a  flute teacher for Southampton Education Authority in the 1970's and 80's, I soon witnessed the astonishing result of the James Galway Effect, when everybody seemed to want to learn the flute after seeing  him on TV or hearing his records  - my timetable was overflowing with pupils, and even though the extensive network of youth orchestras and bands in Southampton and Hampshire provided excellent playing opportunities for young musicians,  there were not enough vacancies for so many flautists. To encourage the "overflow"  we started with a small flute ensemble playing at the Southampton Fete in '83, and with much help and encouragement from parents and colleagues this grew  over  a few years to  50 or 60 players, performing locally,  and at the Schools' Proms in Cardiff and Manchester, at the Royal Festival Hall (for the Schools Music Association), and in various national flute events, such as the "Tutti Flutti" concert in the Purcell Room. We aimed for the enjoyment involved in achieving a high standard, for  a  wide-ranging repertoire, and for allowing every member  a chance to play in every position and not be stuck on 7th flute all the time!  Adults joined in with enthusiasm in local events, and we were lucky enough to have Albert Cooper as our  President. Sometimes we featured guest artists, such as the brilliant Guo brothers from China.  We also formed "Mini-Flautissimo" (called Erithacus), which featured the most advanced players and which won the BFS Flute Choir Competition on the South Bank. Since moving on in 1990 I have been delighted to see Flautissimo continuing to flourish, more than fulfilling those original aims.

Since 1988 I have been working free-lance, and before moving to Suffolk in 2003 I taught at various specialist music schools, including Peter Symonds, Wells Cathedral School and at the Birmingham College of Music where I enjoyed teaching several ex-pupils from Hampshire.  Now I'm in semi-retirement, painting, sailing, but still busy playing, and teaching (mainly at the Colchester Institute).  Marjorie (a cellist) and I live in a typical Suffolk farmhouse (16th century, beamy and draughty...), and we have just finished renovating a barn in the garden, which we use as a studio, and where friends can stay. But for me there can never be a group as fulfilling as Flautissimo, with so many really gifted and enthusiastic people involved in it, and I hope it will carry on for at least the NEXT 25 years!

Robin has published a number of arrangements of well known music for flute choir, along with writing the popular book Illustrated Fluteplaying.

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