Flutist crosses from jazz to classical
There are few musicians who effortlessly cross the line between jazz and classical. And when they do, they are typically guitar players or pianists.
Then there’s Jim Walker — one-time principal flutist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and founding member of the crossover group Free Flight.
Walker’s flute has been heard across the world. Literally. From motion picture soundtracks to symphony halls to an Academy Awards performance with Paul McCartney, Walker has done it all. And along the way, he has managed to convert jazz listeners into classical buffs, and classical listeners toward jazz.
Walker joins principal players from the New York Philharmonic at Strings in the Mountains Chamber Music Series Wednesday evening in a program entitled “Strings, Woodwinds and Piano,” or “Fun to Profundity” as the music directors and staff at the Festival affectionately refer to the pieces.
Three Shanties for Woodwind Quintet by Sir Malcolm Arnold is a short entertaining piece for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn. Written in 1943, the popular quintet was originally designed for the amusement of Arnold’s colleagues in the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The bagatelles weave three old English sea shanties into an effervescent piece. The piece is short at only seven minutes. Yet it is full of familiar tunes the audience will quickly recognize: “What shall we do with the Drunken Sailor,” “Boney was a Warrior” and “Johnny came down to Hilo.” Definitely fun classical music.
Francis Poulenc’s Sextet for Piano and Woodwind Quintet will also be featured on Wednesday. With catchy melodies, a twisting harmony and abrupt mood changes, the Sextet carries a jazzy principal theme, inviting good cheer and excitement along the way.
Walker is joined by New York Philharmonic’s Robert Botti, Mark Nuccio, Judith LeClair, Erik Ralske, and Jonathan Feldman. Violinist Xiao-Dong Wang and Cellist Young Song join Music Director Yizhak Schotten and Jonathan Feldman in the final piece of the evening, Brahms’ Piano Quartet in C Minor, Op. 60.
“Strings, Woodwinds and Piano” begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Tickets are $22. Call Strings in the Mountains Music Festival at 879-5056 ext. 105 for more information or visit stringsinthemountains.
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