November 11 – A Tale of Four Dragons by Fang Man

A Tale of Four Dragons by Fang Man

To celebrate Chinese New Year, today we share a work by Fang Man, a Chinese-born composer. Fang is a prolific composer of both large- and small-scale works, including electro-acoustic music and opera, and she is currently a professor of composition at USC. Her music has been performed by such ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group and the Tokyo Philharmonic. Her piece A Tale of Four Dragons, commissioned by Mimi Stillman, is written for a solo flutist who also provides narration of the titular story, an ancient Chinese folktale, between sections of the music. The composition is excerpted for this video.

Performed by Jennifer Parker-Harley, flute and Mike Harley, narrator

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August 8 – Pièce Romantique by Cécile Chaminade

Cécile Chaminade, born on this day in 1857, was the first female composer to receive the Légion d’Honneur, the highest order of merit from the French government. While better known for her flute Concertino, this smaller piece is a lovely example of her French romantic composition style.

Performed by Jennifer Parker-Harley
Recorded by Jeff Francis

August 15 – Pièce by Jacques Ibert

Jacques Ibert, born on this day in 1890, was a successful French composer. Pièce, according to an oft-told legend, was supposedly written over the course of a dinner party celebrating the premiere of Ibert’s flute concerto and was sight-read by Marcel Moyse on the same night. Regardless of the legend, this charming solo is a perfect reflection of Ibert’s neo-classical style and represents a large body of work inspired by the master flutist, Moyse.

Brianna Futch received her MM degree from USC in 2018.

July 3

Philippe Gaubert, born on this day in 1879, is well-respected as a flutist, composer, and pedagogue. As the flute professor at the Paris Conservatory, he wrote many of his compositions and methods to help the students there. This shorter piece is less often played but exhibits the flutist’s knowledge of the sonority of the instrument.

July 25 – Barcarola et Scherzo by Alfredo Casella

Today we celebrate the birthday of Alfredo Casella, born in 1883 in Italy. Casella was an avid promoter of Vivaldi’s compositions and is sometimes credited with the 20th-century resurrection of this master composer’s works. Despite being a composer at the turn of the century, many of Casella’s works invoke older styles including the dance forms that inspire the Barcarola and Scherzo forms of this piece.

Emily Stumpf received her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from USC and now lives and teaches in Columbia, SC.

July 27 – Aria by Ernst von Dohnanyi

Ernst Dohnanyi, born on this day in 1877, was a Hungarian composer whose career was modulated significantly by the two World Wars and the political upheaval surrounding them. His compositions are often neoromantic and their extensive use of chromaticism couples intriguing harmonies with high technical demands. Many flutists are familiar with his Passacaglia but this piece adds a more lyrical item to his flute output offering a taste of his lush harmonic language.

Jenny Davis is a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at USC.

January 7 – Flute Sonata by Francis Poulenc: II. Cantilena

Flute Sonata by Francis Poulenc: II. Cantilena

Today we celebrate the birthday of Francis Poulenc with a recording of the beautiful second movement from his Flute Sonata. A member of the composer collective Les Six, Poulenc was an active composer in the beginning of the 20th century. This second movement is representative of his style that is reminiscent of romanticism but written for the 1900s.
Morgan Monty, the flutist on this recording, is a first-year Bachelor of Music student in flute performance at the University of South Carolina from Charleston, SC.

Performed by Morgan Monty, flute and Winifred Goodwin, piano.