An Interview with Robert Dick

We recently had an opportunity to ask world renowned flutist, performer and composer Robert Dick about his upcoming Contemporary Flute Week. With so many summer masterclasses, workshops, camps and musical opportunities to experience, find out what makes this event stand out from the others. For more information, visit

FS: What is the focus of the week?

RD: New music for flute and how to learn and to teach extended techniques.  So often, when flutists discuss the new, the phrase is “the new techniques”.  Technique is important, but it exists to serve music. I teach from this perspective: from music to the flute, rather than from the flute to music.  And techniques like throat tuning are of universal value.  Everyone needs tone — and everyone will play more musically and with better tone if they are singing inside and actually using their vocal chords to silently sing as they play.  I’ll be teaching how to learn new techniques, how to apply them in many types of music — and how to teach them!

FS: What type of flute player would most benefit from this event?

RD: Whether the flutist is a total “newbie to the new” or an experienced performer of new music, or even a composer-performer or improviser, the class will be meaningful and helpful.  In a supportive, enthusiastic environment, everyone will feel safe to the next steps in their musical journey.   We all will work on written music — with an accent on my compositions plus the music of many others — and we’ll improvise too, moving directly to musical creation.

FS: Tell us more about the location on Lake Junaluska?

RD: Lake Junaluska is a beautiful conference center with very nice cabins, all with small kitchens.  The countryside is beautiful and its a great getaway for city folks — like me.

FS: What do you most look forward to from this event?

RD: I look forward to sharing my passion for creativity, for music in its many aspects.  I fell in love with the flute the first day I played it, back in 1958 — and I love it more today.  And I look forward to learning from the students.  No lesson is complete if the teacher hasn’t learned something too.  Inspiration is a two way street!

FS: Will you be performing at all during the week?

RD: Yes! I will be playing a full recital on the opening night.  I haven’t finalized the program yet, although I know it will feature my works written for other flutists, including “Lookout”“Fish Are Jumping” and “Air is the Heaviest Metal”, along with a selection of “Flying Lessons” from both Volume 1 and 2.  I’ll also be playing a couple of 20th century classics and at least one or two pieces using the Glissando Headjoint® and bass flute.

FS: Is there anything else you can tell us about this event? Any sneak peaks or special surprises?

RD: Sneak peeks — I’m going to improvise and then explain, as best I can, what was happening emotionally and in my mind.  I’ll also be speaking and demonstrating how I practice.  And I’ll be sharing insights as to where my music comes from, and why — and what I think the next developments in the flute’s evolution will be.