As they struggled to adapt a beloved musical event to the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers of the Wisconsin Flute Festival made two big changes for 2021: inviting more top talent from more places, and paying all performers. The result, according to Madison Flute Club Co-Artistic Director Danielle Breisach, is a “rock star lineup.” Speaking with WORT’s Peter Haney by Zoom videoconference, Dr. Breisach noted that past festivals have centered on a single national headliner, completing the program with regional artists, many of them volunteers. Without the expenses of facility rental and travel in 2021, more money was available for honoraria. The result is that this year’s festival features prominent musicians from as far away as Sweden who might not have chosen to visit Madison otherwise, offering recitals and workshops in styles from classical to Klezmer. Many are free and open to the public. The festival starts Tuesday, April 20th, and runs Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays through May 8th. Highlights include concerts and master classes by Nancy Stagnitta, Stephen Clark, Christina Jennings, and Alberto Almarza. There’s even a workshop on flute beat-boxing by up-and-coming performer Brittany Trotter. It’s not the same as a live festival of course, but the program accommodates a wide range of tastes, and various levels of flute fanaticism.
[Image courtesy of the Madison Flute Club. Credit: Roopa Shah]