The legendary flutist, Robert Aitken will be my pre-concert guest at Esprit’s 3rd concert of the 2014-2015 season — The World’s Turning. Little known fact about Bob: he is an avid fisherman. When he is not on the road giving his concerts and flute masterclasses all over the world, including a concert in Tibet (!), as soon as the weather warms up, he is at the cottage. And as soon as fishing season opens, he’s on the water! Lake trout. Absolutely delicious and fresh out of the water!
And he is not only a fisherman, but an expert fish cook! Alex and I await our invitation to dinner at his home during fishing season. The BBQ is lit, and the fish goes on! Tender and aromatic with lots of dill and lemon. Now that is a taste of Canada — lake trout caught and cooked by Canada’s most esteemed flutist.
Bob is one of our foremost composers and one of our great champions of Canadian music. He has commissioned and performed countless pieces. Alex and Bob have been friends since Alex was a music student at U of T. When Bob conducted American composer Roger Reynolds’ piece IO, Alex, still a student, participated as a silent moving human object in choreographed motion around the stage. (I would pay good money to see that!)
When Alex was starting out on his conducting career, Bob was one of the only people who gave him encouragement. It was Bob who suggested that Alex drop everything and go to study in Tokyo at the very famous music school, Toho Gakuen. Here he learned the famous Saito technique, which begins with the first lesson — dropping your arm with no tension. Once you have mastered this technique you move on to dropping your tensionless arm, bouncing at the bottom of the drop, and stopping sharply at an invisible point in the air. Alex told me that this practice could go on for months before you moved to the next lesson! (It would be torturous for me, but then again, I never became a conductor).
Do join us for a glimpse into Bob’s piece, Berceuse. I may even be able to coerce him into demonstrating some of the extended flute techniques and the staggering technical passages. Our other special guest will be the young Canadian composer, Samuel Andreyev, direct from France with his brand new piece (so new, in fact, that the ink is still almost wet on the page!), The Flash of the Instant.
We’ll talk flute. We’ll talk music. We’ll talk fish!
– Alexina Louie, O.C.