Martin Doyle is always grateful to receive feedback on his work as a flute maker and he was thrilled to read a post on the Facebook page of Irish flautist Eimear McGeown recently with regards to a wooden headjoint that he made for Eimear’s concert flute. It runs thus:
“Really enjoying my new Martin Doyle Flutes wooden headjoint for my classical flute!!! Have lots of really exciting new music to learn on it for the Budapest recital [Eimear is offering a recital and masterclass at the Budapest Flute Academy in Hungary, March 10—13, 2016], including two new pieces written for me by Alicia Hart and Philip Hammond!”
It is most probably a fact that most flute makers do not get to know much about what the flutes they have made get up to once they have left their workshops, but there can be moments of exception.
One such moment came Martin Doyle‘s way recently when he received a very encouraging and inspirational message from veteran musician Premik Russell Tubbs regarding an event that Premik was involved with in January of 2015. That message, in part, is as follows:
Rob Portnoy is a renowned multi-woodwind performer, clinician and teacher who has worked with a plethora of superstar singers, musicians and performers including Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., Mel Torme, Aretha Franklin, Wayne Newton, Nancy Wilson, Don Sebasky, Mickey Rooney, Red Skelton, Debbie Reynolds, Liza Minnelli, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Natalie Cole and Sarah Vaughn.
Rob had the following to say about a wooden headjoint that he recently commissioned Martin Doyle to make for his concert flute:
I just wanted to thank you for the phenomenal work you did in creating my new headjoint. I recently played it on the show “Beauty and The Beast” and received many compliments on my “sweet” sound. The combination of my Altus Limited and your Blackwood Headjoint allow me a warmth that neither of my metal headjoints provide and enable me to play all octaves with a solid, centered sound which articulates quickly and doesn’t break up when pushed! I will surely endorse your craftsmanship so more flutists can experience the wonderful qualities of a Martin Doyle headjoint!
Here is Martin Doyle‘s video pick for October 2012 – the Grammy Award winning flute player, Rhonda Larson performing the hymn Be Still My Soul. (Note Rhonda’s harmonic singing while playing the flute in the opening moments of the performance.)
About Rhonda Larson
Rhonda Larson says she was born wanting to play the flute – where that desire came from remains a mystery to her. It was finally at age 10 that Rhonda first picked up a flute, a journey that has taken her to the farthest reaches of the world. Her ‘practice room’ was a high mountain ridge outside her family home in Bozeman, Montana, where the sky is endless and the breathtaking mountains cut through your soul. It is not difficult, then, to understand that the depths of Rhonda’s music comes from a place in her heart that celebrates the beauty of the human spirit, found most alive in nature. “I began to see that music has a larger role for humanity: that it can truly speak to the shared expressions of our human souls.”
Read more: Larson’s Story-Form Biography »
A very fine quote from Rhonda’s homepage:
“The dignity of the artist lies in their duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world.”
– G.K. Chesterton.
“I have an Aikido course all day on the 12th in Galway and when that’s over I’m straight into the car and down to Limerick. My daughter Aoife is singing at the UL concert hall and I’m really looking forward to it!”
Martin Doyle‘s good friend Gerry O’Donnell recently organised a concert for musicians and dancers from the Bray and RoundwoodComhaltas organisations. Held at The Mermaid Arts Centre in Bray, County Wicklow, a total of ninety-eight dancers and musicians were involved. Gerry observed that it was a big undertaking but an important step forward for all involved. Comhaltas is an traditional Irish music organisation that promotes traditional Irish music and culture around the world.
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is the largest group involved in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music. We’re a non-profit cultural movement with hundreds of local branches around the world, and as you can read in our history we’ve been working for the cause of Irish music since the middle of the last century (1951 to be precise). Our efforts continue with increasing zeal as the movement launches itself into the 21st century.
Read more: About Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann »
Martin Doyle drove to Bray especially for the event and Gerry managed to get a good number of his flute students together just before the concert for a photo with Martin – the connection being that almost all of them play Martin Doyle flutes. The entire group proceeded to play a tune and Gerry was very proud of the fact that they were all in tune as well! He also commented that there are some really great young players among his students.
Ludwig von Beethoven and Elizabeth Petcu – hearing loose a challenge, but not an impairment.
And what of the Elizabeth Petcu / Ludwig von Beethoven connection? Well, there appear to be common threads running through both lives. Sure they don’t share the same age, address, flute maker or historical gravitas, but they do share a passion for music – the universal language. Ludwig composed his own music of course, and Elizabeth has performed many of these creations over the span of her professional career.
They also share a similar adversity. Elizabeth Petcu suffers from a condition known as otosclerosis, which is the most common cause of progressive deafness in young adults. Some consider otosclerosis to be the most likely cause of Beethoven’s deafness. Whatever the case, it is well documented that Beethoven went on composing despite near complete deafness. In Elizabeth’s case too, when her hearing impediment forced her into retirement from the RTE, she has kept up with her practice and performs wherever she can with an enduring energy, cheerfulness and enthusiasm that is fuelled by a great love for sharing her gift of music with others. Composers must compose, performers must perform. Audiences, large or small, receive the fruit of this wonderful synthesis.