Get to Know...Christie Beard
Q&A with Christie…
What about new music for the flute appeals to you?
One of the most exciting things about being a flutist today is how active we are as a poplation in commissioning and/ or encouraging composers to write new music for our instrument! We do not have the same wealth or depth of repertoire for our instrument as the violin, but I think flutists in the 20th and 21st centuries recognized this and have committeed themselves to rectifying this for future generations of flutists. My own personal mission is to inspire and encourage composers to explore the voice of the piccolo as a lyrical and expressive instrument, and to continue to add significant works to the piccolo's limited (athough growing) repertoire.
Who is/are your favorite “new music” composer/s and why?
Narrowing down my *favorite* contemporary composer is an impossible request! I have recently been turned on to the British composer Andy Scott and will be including some of his flute music in my 2017-2018 tour schedule. I am especially drawn to composers who successfully fuse elements of popular music with the classical tradition (including minimalism), and particularly love the music of composers such as David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Nico Muhly, Judd Greenstein, Michael Gordon and Steve Reich. (Sadly, most of them haven't written solo any pieces for flute, but they do have terrific chamber works in their catalogues that include flute or piccolo).
How did you become interested in new music?
I was an undergraduate student at Arkansas State Univ when my interest in new music was piqued, as I was pegged the "go to flutist" for the very active composition studio there. My MM and DMA were both earned at the Univ of Texas, where upon my arrival in 1996, there was no flute spot open in the UT New Music Ensemble. But I was persistent and insisted that I be granted an audition despite that. The director, Dan Welcher agreed to hear me and after playing for him, he put me on the sub list my 1st year, after which I became the principal flutist in the UTNME for the duration of my studies there (the next 5 years).
More About Christie…
Described by Flute Focus as “…having shattered any notions that the piccolo might be lacking in deep, expressive powers," Christine Erlander Beard enjoys an active international career as a soloist, chamber artist and teacher, and is in constant demand throughout North and South America and Europe. Christie strives to showcase expressive music written for the flute and piccolo as well as promoting new and original works by living composers. An artist for Sankyo Flutes, she serves the National Flute Association as a member of the Piccolo Committee, and as a contributing editor to The Flutist Quarterly. Beard is Professor of Flute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. www.christiebeard.com