Each fall principal flutist Claudia Anderson returns to wcfsymphony from a summer teaching at Rocky Ridge Music Center in Colorado. When not at work with us or out in the mountains, Claudia is devoted to yoga and loves to ride her Triumph Bonneville motorcycle on country roads with her husband Don. Here she offers some of her own musical history:
“I always listened to music of all kinds as a young child. I started piano at age 6 and loved the music, but not the practicing as much! When I began playing flute in 6th grade it was more to be in the ensembles with other kids than from a love of my instrument. I would say I loved music first, and the flute kind of grew on me.
“As a professional, I travel up to 400 miles a week to teach at 3 colleges and a private studio, working with approximately 30 students from 7th grade through college masters’ level. During wcfsymphony weeks, my mileage doubles! I perform solo and chamber music regularly and several times a year I tour out of state. I am currently engaged in recording project, a book project and a 2014 commission of a double flute concerto for my flute duo Zawa.
“I love what I do and love having a varied schedule that keeps me on my toes and offers freedom from a dulling daily routine. I can rely on many years of experience when preparing for standard repertoire so my practice is mostly bringing passages back from earlier learning. With new works, note-learning starts from scratch and experience helps when it comes time to put it all together with my colleagues.
“The most enjoyable aspects of being a professional performer and teacher is hearing, seeing and feeling the response in an audience member or student when I have been able to communicate my own joy and commitment to this art. And the most enjoyable aspect of wcfsymphony is the great combination of excellent colleagues, a fine conductor, a beautiful hall and an administration and board committed to improving our work conditions and image in the community.
“I think the biggest challenge we face as 21st century professional musicians is being both inspiring and relevant. We must engage audiences with our personalities as well as with our artistry because it is our job to convey the value of our contributions, as performers and teachers, to the world at large. We all have a need to express something personal in our lives and this need binds humankind together.
“As an example of this human connection, I was invited to play at my daughter’s elementary school Christmas program during a teaching year at UC-Santa Barbara. My initial thought was to create a mix of traditional Mexican and American holiday tunes to reflect the student population at her school. By the evening of the show, hectic schedules and too many other things needing my attention got in the way and I was totally unprepared! With a degree of panic I walked out onto the little stage and looked at my audience. I felt the flute come up to my lips as though someone else were guiding it, and simply began to play ‘Silent Night’. After the first verse a few audience members began to sing and very soon the entire room joined in. We finished with a third verse, applauded each other and I left the stage. Their participation moved me to the realize my concerns had been for my performing comfort and not for the families there to enjoy a simple celebration. That changed as soon as I began to play, and the universality of sharing the essence of our humanity through this carol turned my self-absorption in to a truly selfless gesture.”
We love Claudia’s sparkling performance style and vibrant musical personality, and we are very grateful she chose to stick with flute way back in elementary school!