Type of Document Treatise Author Johnson, Ellen C. URN etd-05082009-115309 Title Flute Performance Practice in the United States (1870-1900): An Exploration of the Repertoire and Writings of Sidney Lanier and Henry Clay Wysham Degree Doctor of Musical Arts Department Music, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Eva Amsler Committee Co-Chair Patrick Meighan Committee Co-Chair Deborah Bish Committee Member Richard Clary Outside Committee Member Keywords
- Edward Heindl
- Theodore Thomas
- Carl Wehner
- Women's Issues
- Women's Studies
- Tone Color
- Emil Medicus
Date of Defense 2009-05-01 Availability unrestricted AbstractBoehm-system flutes were adopted by most professional flutists in the United States between 1870 and 1900, and American audiences proved to be receptive to the new timbral and technical possibilities of this instrument. The repertoire and writings of Sidney Lanier (1842-1881) and Henry Clay Wysham (1828-1900) detail the performance practice and musical culture that emerged in the United States when flutists, from the parlor to the orchestra, started adopting this instrument en masse. This culture was supplanted by the emergence of “The French Flute School” and the pedagogical philosophies of French flutists such as Georges Barrère, Georges Laurent, and Marcel Moyse in the early twentieth century, and interest in American flute performance practices that predate their arrival dwindled. In exploring the body of information left by Lanier and Wysham regarding flute repertoire, performances, and performance practice in the United States, a clearer picture of the history of Boehm-system flutes and influential flutists is formed for scholars and performers.
Sidney Lanier received many accolades as a poet during his lifetime, and this platform of fame brought his literary works before many readers throughout the United States. Lanier was also a self-taught flutist from Macon, GA who became the Principal Flutist of the Peabody Symphony Orchestra in Baltimore, MD in 1873. He was equally devoted to music and poetry, established a flute reputation by improvising solos, raised the standards of flute repertoire in the United States, and championed the ideal that women could be professional musicians on any instrument.
Henry Clay Wysham was a lawyer and flutist from Baltimore, MD and worked primarily as a professional flutist from 1850 to 1900. Wysham became acquainted with most of the important flutists of the nineteenth century, including Theobald Boehm, Alfred G. Badger, Sidney Lanier, C. Paul Taffanel, and Dayton C. Miller. A staunch advocate of Boehm-system flutes, Wysham studied music at the Royal College of Music in London, performed in the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, and taught flute at the University of California at Berkeley. Wysham was also one of the first flutists to explore and write about world flute traditions from Japan, China, and Egypt. His greatest contribution to the field of flute research was his book, The Evolution of the Boehm Flute, which stands alone as one of the most extensive resources on American flute performance practice during the nineteenth century.
The combined perspectives of Sidney Lanier and Henry Clay Wysham represent a comprehensive look at flute repertoire and performance practice in the United States between 1870 and 1900. Their flute performances and publications inspired audiences and flutists alike, creating fertile soil for the traditions of the “French Flute School” to thrive in during the twentieth century. Lanier and Wysham were influential in elevating the quality of flute repertoire, popularizing silver Boehm-system flutes, and advocating that women should become orchestral performers. Both men wrote eloquently and extensively in national and international publications during a time where each of these concepts broke important ground for the following generation of American flutists.
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