The flutes will sing in Chicago this summer when Dr. Lee Heritage’s composition is performed at a national flute convention.“I try to write music that sings, even when I’m writing instrumental music,” the UT associate professor of music said. “The voice is often called the perfect musical instrument and, of course, the flute is a very ‘singing’ instrument.”
Heritage’s composition for flute octet, “In a Dream of Fabled Lands,” will be performed at the National Flute Association’s 42nd convention in Chicago this week.
The convention will start Thursday, Aug. 7, and continue through Sunday, Aug. 10, at the Hilton Chicago on Michigan Avenue and will host a variety of flute performances that honor composers and their work.
Composed in 1994, Heritage’s piece was originally for four guitars and four flutes. The piece subsequently was adapted for eight flutes — six C flutes, one alto flute and one bass flute — and it was in that form that the piece was published. Since then, the piece has been played many times across the United States.
Heritage said he thinks of this piece as a soundtrack to an adventurer’s journey, and he enjoys the composition’s ability to communicate.
“It’s a relatively simple piece,” Heritage said. “It has a simple architecture, and the melodies and harmonies have an immediate charm. Often we musicians get so enamored of intricate fiddly bits and complexities in the music. And yet sometimes it’s more simple expressions that are the most effective and honest. Not that the intricate compositions are bad, but somehow these simple expressions can sometimes speak to us more directly.”
When the National Flute Association informed him that they would be playing the piece at the conference this summer, Heritage said he was honored.
“The piece has been in print for 15 years, and it’s gratifying to know that musicians still find it a rewarding piece to perform,” he said. “In fact, I’ve received more notices from musicians who are performing it in the last several years than ever before.”
This is not Heritage’s first time having his music performed at the National Flute Association convention. His composition titled “All Kinds of Pairs” for flute, guitar and digital effects was performed at the 1997 convention. In 1998, his “Two Poems” for flute and guitar was performed and received an award as one of the best newly published compositions that year.
Currently, Heritage is involved with numerous projects. The Toledo Symphony Woodwind Quintet recently premiered his piece “To the West Wind,” and he wrote a piece for flute duo and piano to be performed at the British Flute Society’s flute convention in London this month. The piece will be performed by the Toledo Symphony’s principal flutist, Joel Tse, and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s principal flutist, Hallfríður Ólafsdóttir.