Photo: Breezy Lucia

Photo: Breezy Lucia

Praised by the Cleveland Plain Dealer for her “superb command of color and nuance,” Elise Blatchford is the Associate Professor of Flute at the University of Memphis Scheidt School of Music.
A chamber musician, soloist, orchestral musician, and teacher, Ms. Blatchford is a flutist who embraces the independent, the experimental, and the DIY. As a founding member of the new music woodwind quintet The City of Tomorrow, Ms. Blatchford won first prize at the 2011 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and received a Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning grant in 2014. The quintet tours nationally and was in residence at Tufts University in Boston in February 2019. Ms. Blatchford has appeared with the International Contemporary Ensemble in New York and at the Banff Centre for Creativity in Alberta, Canada.

As a recitalist, Ms. Blatchford frequently programs music of the 20th and 21st centuries, and has been an invited guest at venues across the U.S., including Yale, Indiana University, University of Oregon, and Virginia Tech. In 2019, she will perform recitals at the Buffet-Crampon showroom in New York City and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Also at home in the traditional orchestra world, Ms. Blatchford served as Principal Flute for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra's 2018-19 season. She has performed with the Oregon Symphony, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, IRIS Orchestra, and the YOA Orchestra of the Americas. With YOA, she toured extensively throughout South America, the Caribbean, and mainland China, made an appearance at Carnegie Hall with Valery Gergiev, and recorded with Philip Glass.

Ms. Blatchford holds degrees in flute performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory. A Powell Artist, she performs on a 14K gold handmade Powell flute.

@memphisflutes on IG

Upcoming Concerts

September 23, 2019 - Solo recital at the University of Memphis with Tingting Yao, piano. 7:30 pm, Harris Concert Hall, free and open to the public.

September 30, 2019 - Solo recital and master class at Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS. With Tingting Yao, piano. 7:30 pm.

October 7, 2019 - Solo performance and master class at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. With Jacob Coleman, piano.

October 8, 2019 - Solo recital at the Buffet Crampon Showroom (153 W. 36th St), New York, NY. With Jacob Coleman, piano. Presented by Powell Flutes. 6:30 pm; free and open to the public.

October 14, 2019 - Solo recital at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. With Jacob Coleman, piano. 7:30 pm.

October 15, 2019 - Master class at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

past performances

June 18, 2019 - Crosstown Arts Spotlight Series: Elise Blatchford, flute, and Adrienne Park, piano. 7:30 pm.

June 10, 2019 - 8 pm. With International Contemporary Ensemble, The City of Tomorrow & Nick DeMaison. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. Tickets.

March 22-23, 2019 - Mid-South Flute Festival at the University of Memphis. More details.

March 3, 2019 - Memphis Chamber Music Society: Debussy’s Trio for Flute, Viola and Harp and Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro. 2 pm.

February 20, 2019 - The City of Tomorrow in recital at Tufts University, Boston, MA. 8 pm.

February 18, 2019 - Master class at Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA. 10 am to 12 pm.

February 9-13, 2019 - The City of Tomorrow in residence at Vermont College of Fine Art, Montpelier, VT.

December 1, 2018 - IRIS Orchestra performs  Mozart and Strauss. 7:30 pm at the Germantown Performing Arts Center.

November 2 and 3, 2018 - Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert: Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki. Carnegie Hall, New York, NY. More information.

October 26-27, 2018 - Opera Memphis performs Madama Butterfly. Germantown Performing Arts Center. More information.

September 25, 2018 - Recital and master class at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. With Jacob Coleman, piano.

September 8, 2018 - University of Memphis Woodwind Symposium - a full day of classes and performances. The flute guest artist is Jennifer Gunn, piccolo, Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

August 9-12, 2018 - National Flute Association Convention in Orlando, FL. Performance: "For the Birds" - solo flute music by George Benjamin, 8/10 at 12:30 pm. Pedagogy Workshop: "Side Embouchures: No Need to Cry Over a Teardrop Lip" - 8/11 at 2:45 pm

August 2, 2018 - The City of Tomorrow at Crosstown Concourse, Main Atrium at 7:30 pm - Memphis, TN. Free.

May 19-21, 2018 - Oregon Symphony performs Mahler's 7th Symphony. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, OR.

More Past performances

Audio/Video

Study flute at the University of Memphis

The Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis in Tennessee offers the bachelor of music and master of music degrees in music (BM and MM) and the doctor of musical arts (DMA) degree. As a flute player, you can major in flute performance, music education, music business, or minor in music while taking flute lessons.

There are considerable flute scholarship and flute assistantship opportunities available to students who audition, and the university is serious about keeping tuition affordable. I offer a free sample lesson to anyone visiting campus and I am happy to answer any questions you might have about the school via email You can also read testimonials from former students about their experience here. 

I bring energy and focus to all the lessons I teach. Hard work should be praised, and enthusiasm for the music is important in fostering a disciplined work ethic. Lessons focus on fundamentals:

  • Tone development and intonation through embouchure work, long tones, and ear training.

  • Technique through scales, arpeggios, proper hand position, and training light, supple fingers.

  • Musicality, interpretation, and style through the study of repertoire from the baroque, classical, and romantic periods in addition to music of the 20th and 21st century.

  • Development of creativity and sense of freedom via improvisation. 

I mostly teach students at the university, but I accept private students on a limited basis and by audition only. Contact me for more information.

 

degrees and majors

BM, MM, DMA, music minor.

Music performance, music education, musicology, music business, recording technology

special opportunities

Memphis Flute Choir, River City Flute Quartet, flute pedagogy class, study abroad, audition for Memphis Symphony sub list, audition prep class

Play better than you ever thought you could.

It all starts with that single goal, that first hour, that weekly plan. Add supportive and inspiring fellow students. Mix in varied performance opportunities and a high level of expectation. You'll never know what you can do until you try.

WTSBOA 2019-20 audition music for All-West Honor Band

Music for 11th/12th, 9th/10th, and Middle School

11th/12th High school: Allegro

The audition excerpts for WTSBOA’s All West honor band are particularly wicked for 11th-12th grades. Let’s begin with the Allegro selection.

Allegro selection

This page of music in 3/8 with four flats is a lesson in dynamic contrast, rhythmic integrity, and articulation. Be sure to start with a strong sound at the very start: to change to p in m. 8, you will need to make room for contrast. Note the accents that are in the first line of the piece - the accents are on the quarter notes. It is easy to accidentally accent the eighth notes at the end of each bar; be sure to place the emphasis on the down beats. The Db in m. 13 is commonly mistaken for a D-natural.

As we move into m. 17, it’s important to have a plan for the Bb thumb -- the plan being when exactly to use it. The high Gb will not speak if you have your thumb on the Bb side of the key - so starting after the C in m. 16, be sure to have the thumb on the natural side. You may transition back to the Bb side after the Dbs in m. 18, however, and continue to use that key until the B-natural in m. 24.

The grace notes are quite tricky here; either place them directly on the down beat or very close the down beat. Either way, they must be played quickly in order to not lose time. For the grace notes that are also large leaps, like m. 24 or m. 29, keep a very open throat and give plenty of air support for these leaps to speak cleanly. Additionally, imprecise fingerings will render these leaps non-functional. Be sure to change all the fingers at exactly the same time. This seems obvious, but imprecise fingers lead to a lot of issues here.

Continue to remember every Db dictated by the key signature.

One last note: there is no ritardando marked in this ending. If you feel you absolutely must play one, make it very subtle and in good taste.

Use a metronome to help you get up to speed, but start learning this piece very slowly and have patience. It's thorny.
 

9th/10th High school: COMING soon

Middle school: coming soon

11th/12th High school: Bach

  • Please note that there are two wrong notes printed in the WTSBOA-issued parts! Hopefully they will release a corrected part, but in case they do not, please correct these in your music:

    Measure 29: the first C should actually be a D. The measure should read G#-A-B-D-F-E.

    Measure 32: the first note of the measure should be a C, not a D.

    It’s important to note that Bach did not write any of the articulations, slurs, or dynamics that are printed here. Someone else has written these in as a guide for you. Traditionally, the flute player chooses how to articulate the piece and develops his or her own dynamic concept. You should endeavor to follow these printed markings for the audition, but you will see that I break a few of these written markings in order to breathe with the phrase.

    I suggest that you listen to my video and write down my breathing spots - they are fairly conventional, although by no means are they the absolute rule.

    The little squiggle markings over the E in bar 6 and over the D in bar 8 are commonly interpreted as mordents. A mordent is one single trill. I play them as mordents in my video performance.

    As far as tempo goes, I like to have a balance between a strict slow tempo and music that breathes and wanders. This is a mature concept that won’t work for every student - first you must be sure that you can play the entire movement in one steady tempo. Then you could work on finding a little bit of freedom, usually around breaths that are at the ends of phrases. A good example of a place where one could take more freedom is at the end of m. 34.

    I break a few written slurs in this edition in order to breathe. The first place is in m. 10 before the sixteenths. This is a common place to breathe for phrasing and should not be slurred together. Another place is in m. 15 after the first E - I breathe here because it is unusual for me to be able to make it all the way to after the C. (It’s interesting to note here that WTSBOA has transcribed this measure as a C half note with a quarter rest when in Bach’s hand it’s actually a dotted half note without a rest.) I choose to break the slur over the E in m. 15 because I do not want to break the phrase with a breath in m. 14.

    The articulations marked with staccato after m. 21 should simply be articulated - playing extra-short notes in slow movements in Bach’s time period is not stylistic. I would encourage students and teachers to throw out the slurs-into-staccato notes in m. 24 and replace these articulations with all-single tongue, medium length.

    Finally, a note about vibrato: it’s conventionally agreed upon that Baroque flute music, particularly Bach, should be performed with either no vibrato or very minimal vibrato. In my video, I have used some, but that was distinctly my own choice. Consider your vibrato while you practice this piece. Be sure that it is not too heavy or wide, or too fast. If you want to use vibrato, make sure it is subtle and does not distract from the musical line.

    It is with frustration that I provide a practice guide for this excerpt. This Sarabande from J.S. Bach’s Partita in a minor for solo flute is one of the most important pieces in our literature. While it may just look like simple, straight-forward, pretty music, it takes years of study to play this piece well. I am not convinced that this is a good selection for high school students, but I hope you all prove me wrong! Consider having a few flute lessons with an experienced teacher on this piece. It will help enormously.