Get to Know...George Pope
When Shelley conceived of the concept for FNMC and invited three of us to join her in founding FNMC we all reached out to our network of flute friends, teachers, and acquaintances. Among our earliest and most enthusiastic supporters were some of our former teachers. George Pope, is one of those wonderfully supportive teachers. He was among the very first people to join the Zhou Long Commission and was the first to join the Carter Pann Commission, even before we’d formally begun advertising! Those who know George know that he is a lovely and gracious man, and FNMC President Shelley Martinson and Grants and Finance Chair Ashley Shank feel fortunate to have studied with him at The University of Akron and for his continued support of our careers and projects!
Lots of flutists are familiar with George as he is a frequent performer and masterclass presenter around the country and has served the National Flute Association is many significant roles (including President and Program Chair.) But, many people may not know that he is a dedicated supporter of new music for the flute! In fact, he recently released a CD of works that were written for him!
Q&A with George…
What about new music for the flute appeals to you?
Although my training has been in very traditional styles, I have always been interested in performing works by my colleagues and friends, or frankly any work that was recommended to me. In my earlier years there was very little information in methods or “guidebooks” available so we just experimented, talked to mentors and the composers, and figured it out. Huge thanks to the pioneers and artists who have documented their work and shared it with our community: inspirations all!!
When did you join FNMC and what attracted you to the organization?
I have been a member of FNMC from the beginning for two main reasons: I am excited to support the work of my former students who are founding members of FNMC; this is an important organization because of its efforts to commission new works for flute. And second because I want to be involved in the creation of new works for flute, adding to our amazing repertoire. I have commissioned works from friends and colleagues in the past and recorded 7 of them in my solo CD: “some measures for living….” released in 2016 on Crystal Records.
What advice can you give to flutists about approaching new music in practice?
Like anything new, start slowly!! Set manageable goals for each day of practice. Contemporary techniques must be learned carefully from the beginning so that they become natural and ingrained, just like learning your first scale when you were a beginner. If you have been inspired by a performance, seek out that composer and that flutist for insight into the technical and the emotional life of the music.
More About George…
George Pope is Emeritus Professor of Flute at The University of Akron and Instructor of Flute at The Baldwin Wallace Conservatory. Principal Flute of the Akron Symphony from 1978-2002, Mr. Pope has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Blossom Festival Orchestra, and the Brevard Music Center Orchestra. He is a founding member of the Solaris Wind Quintet and the Chamber Music Society of Ohio. His solo CD “…some measures for living” was released in 2016 by Crystal Records. Laurence Vittes in Gramophone writes, “The wonder of Pope’s playing is how engagingly, articulately, flowingly and objectively he pours himself into music….”