World Flute Society

 

2018 Evening Convention Performers


Click on the artist's photo to visit his or her Web site.




Renée Blanche, Mistress of Ceremonies


Renée Blanche, after serving on active duty in the military, began her part-time career in radio as a volunteer announcer at community radio station KXCR FM in El Paso, Texas. What started out as a hobby eventually became a passion. Encouraged to seek a paying position in commercial radio, she was hired as a weekend announcer and produced a show called “El Paso After Dark,” which combined New Age and light contemporary music for K-LITE. B-94 FM followed after K-LITE went out of business.

Since September 1994, Renee hs been the host and producer of Night Tides, a contemplative New Age music show that airs on KCUR 89.3 and KCUR.org every Sunday night from 8:00 p.m. to midnight CST. Local KC magazine The Pitch, in the "Best of Kansas City" edition, awarded Night Tides “The Best Sunday Night Ritual” in 2002. In 2012, Renée was awarded “Best Radio Voice” by the same magazine.

Renée is a T’ai Chi practitioner, loves to dance, walk and spend time in the mountains of Colorado.

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Evening Concert Performers

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Dr. José Valentino

Internationally acclaimed recording and performing artist, Dr. José Valentino Ruiz is a two-time Latin GRAMMY® nominated artist -producer - audio engineer, renowned multi-instrumentalist, composer, record producer, university professor, and clinician known for his passionate performances, versatility, and fluid expression on the flute, saxophone, bass, piano, and Latin percussion.

During his academic studies, José's albums, performances, ensemble leadership in higher education, improvisations and compositions, and engineering skills led to him becoming the record holder for the most International DownBeat Music Awards®, with 42 awards total between 2006 and 2016.

José has collaborated as a co-main artist, performer, sideman, and producer for albums with Grammy-winning and internationally recognized artists/composers such as Chick Corea, Paquito D'Rivera, Hubert Laws (NEA Jazz Master), Candido Camero (NEA Jazz Master), Jim Walker, Phil Ramone, Jonathan Butler, Alex Acuña, Aaron Neville, Brian Lynch, Nestor Torres, Dave Valentin, Andy Montanez, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Dave Cleveland, and Abraham Laboriel, just to name a few.


As a radiant performer, José has performed with his ensembles, José Valentino Band, José Valentino & Crossmatch Vamp, and Touch (iPad Band), at many prestigious venues: Carnegie Hall, DC Jazz Festival, The NAMM Show (Largest music convention in the world), RCA Dome, Festival Miami, The Midwest Clinic International Band & Orchestra Conference, Orlando Convention Center, Tanglewood Music Center, COG International General Assembly, National Museum of Arts of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico's Choliseo, Tampa Jazz Festival, Low Country Jazz Festival, Cape Coral Jazz Festival- 2x, St. Armand's Jazz Festival - 6x, MAV's Summer Festival in the Bahamas, Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Winter Park Jazz Festival, Orlando Jazz Festival, Seabreeze Jazz Festival After Party, Clearwater Jazz Holiday - 3x, Festival Miami - 2x, Busch Gardens Summer Nights Music Series, Seaworld's Viva La Musica, National Flute Association, Florida Music Educator's Association Conference, Texas Music Educator's Association Conference, National Association for Music Education Conference, Florida Technology and Education Conference, Popular Music Education Conference, TEDx Talk, FOX News, CBS, NBC, World News, CNN, ABC, ESPN, Univision, Telemundo, and CBS. Performances outside of the United States include: Canada, Greece, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Austria, France, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Bahamas, Liberia, Nicaragua, and so forth.

José's 10 recordings as a leader represent not only his growth as a musician, but also his ability to constantly evolve and reinvent himself as a conceptualist and producer. The genres of his albums range from Pop, Jazz, Contemporary Instrumental, World Music, Latin Jazz, Contemporary Christian Music, Funk Fusion, and Singer-Songwriter.

Listen: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZuGywVHrEI

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Ron Korb

Ron Korb is an award-winning flutist famous for playing a wide variety of indigenous woodwinds from around the world. He is a much sought-after master of the flute and a true musical ambassador whose evocative blend of Asian, Celtic, Middle Eastern, Latin, Classical, and Jazz influences embody the diverse cultures, traditions, and experiences of his travels and mixed heritage.

His most recent album, Asia Beauty, showcases the traditional flutes of China. It has won several awards including “Best of Show” at  The Global Music Awards, 2015. In addition, in 2016, Ron received a Grammy® Award nomination for the 58th Annual Grammy® Awards in the Best New Age Album category for his CD, Asia Beauty.

*Ron Korb is included on the list of the "Ten Best Flute Players in the World."
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Joshua Geisler

Joshua Geisler plays the bansuri, the North Indian bamboo flute, with a flowing, highly ornamented style that weaves together Indian classical music and jazz. With solid roots in both East and West, his music is at the same time experimental and grounded in traditional training. The result is a sound that conveys the essence of the mystical traditions of India, yet is accessible to modern ears. By embracing the concept of hybridization, Joshua has innovated both the playing technique and construction of his instrument. His book, The Chromatic Bansuri, details a unique fingering system of his own creation that enables the bansuri to play virtually any style of music. As a flute maker, Joshua has improved the tone, volume, and response of the bansuri by studying traditional flute-making techniques from around the world, as well as the science of flute acoustics. An award-winning artist, his work has received funding from the American Institute of Indian Studies and the New York State Council for the Arts. Joshua is currently touring Europe with Cirque du Soleil’s “TOTEM.” While studying guitar at Berklee College of Music, he developed an interest in the music of other cultures. At the same time, Joshua was beginning to explore meditation and spirituality. As a way of incorporating these interests, he began learning the bansuri. After graduating in 1998, Joshua moved to upstate New York to study North Indian classical music with the great American bansuri master, Steve Gorn. This was followed by multiple trips to India to study with Pandit Raghunath Seth, one of the living legends of Indian flute playing. He has also studied with Varanasi-based sarod maestro Pandit Vikash Maharaj, a 14th-generation master musician.

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Peter Phippen

Peter Phippen is a Grammy Award nominee, an International Acoustic Music Award nominee, and a Native American Music Award nominee. Phippen has researched the history and performance technique of flutes, both ancient and modern, and shares this knowledge in concerts, lessons, and workshops. His educational and entertaining program covers the folklore and history of flutes from around the world and throughout time.

Phippen performs an enchanting mix of the very old and the very new in music. As a recording artist for Canyon Records, Phippen has released four CDs of original music. He has also recorded numerous instrumental albums for Lifescapes, Promotion Music Records, and Sounds True, where Peter was featured as flutist and composer on renowned percussionist Byron Metcalf’s Inner Rhythm Meditations. This CD charted in the Top 20 of the Zone Music Reporter’s Top 100 from February to June of 2017. In addition, Phippen's solo recordings have been aired on radio and television world wide.

Performing with Peter Phippen: Tiit Raid and Ivar Lunde, Jr.

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Suzanne Teng and Gilbert Levy

World flutist Suzanne Teng and Gilbert Levy (world strings and world percussion) are winners of  the Los  Angeles  Music  Awards, International  Acoustic  Music Awards (Instrumental Division), and two-time winner of the Independent Music Awards (Best New Age Artist). Their critically acclaimed albums have received nominations for the New Mexico Music Awards, Hollywood Music Awards, Just Plain Folks Awards, New Age Voice Awards, and a candidacy for a GRAMMY nomination for Best New Age album.

Teng and Levy perform internationally as a duo and with their contemporary world music ensemble Suzanne Teng & Mystic Journey, a unique instrumental ensemble that blends exotic melodies with global grooves on a multitude of instruments from around the world to create an original style of global fusion that is “sensual and serene” (BILLBOARD MAGAZINE), as well as ecstatic and celebratory.

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Rona Yellow Robe

Rona Yellow Robe was born and raised in Havre, Montana, and is an enrolled member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy, Montana. She is known for her powerful vocal ability, Native American flute playing style, and her heart-filled presence. Rona picked up her first flute in 2002, and she has been on a musical and spiritual journey ever since. It is by playing the Native American flute, which she refers to as her "other voice,” that she has become comfortable sharing with all audiences many aspects of her life that are personal and meaningful to her.

Rona Yellow Robe and guitarist Bruce Witham have been creating music together since May 2008. They have recorded four albums, Voice of the Trees (2009), The Gathering (2012), a Christmas album entitled Lighting Our Way (2013), and their latest award winning album, Shoot for the Moon (2016).

In 2010, Rona and Bruce received the Native American Music Award (NAMA) nomination as Songwriters of the Year for their song, “Voice of the Trees.” Rona and Bruce's album, The Gathering was nominated for Record of the Year for a 2014 NAMA, and Rona went ho
me with Flutist of the Year. In 2016, Rona was nominated for a 2016 NAMA for Female Vocalist for the Christmas CD, Lighting Our Way. Once again, Rona went home with the Flutist of the Year award for her and Bruce’s latest CD, Shoot For The Moon.

Rona and Bruce have always said, "We will perform for five or five hundred." They have done both and beyond. It is all about blessing people's lives with the music. Rona's and Bruce's music is created with the intention to inspire, uplift, and fill the listener with peace, hope, happiness, and visions of joy, love, and prosperity. Rona Yellow Robe and Bruce Witham have performed concerts on stages nationwide, and have recently gone International.

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Dr. Andra Bohnet

Andra Bohnet is a flutist who embraces a rich variety of musical styles with both virtuosity and sensitivity. In addition to her position as Professor of Music at the University of South Alabama where she teaches flute, music history/literature, and chamber music, she is the principal flutist with Mobile Symphony Orchestra where she has been a featured soloist on several occasions. Her newest ensemble, the Trebuchet Wind Trio, released their debut CD, Perpetuum Mobile, in 2016. She also plays Irish flute, whistle, and Celtic harp in a variety of settings including Mithril, a high-energy Celtic/world music band which has released seven CDs, the newest, Bottom of the Punch Bowl, in December 2015, and with percussionist Andy Kruspe.

Andra's solo CD, Clinton on Clinton, rediscovered the music of John Clinton (1809-1864), an Irish flutist, composer, and flute maker who was a major figure in 19th century flute design. For this project, she performed Clinton's music on seven flutes manufactured by Clinton & Co. more than 150 years ago! This research has been presented to the National Flute Association and the British Flute Society.

Andra also recorded and toured previously with her chamber ensemble for flute and strings, the Silverwood Quartet, which has performed throughout the United States and in Japan, including a gala performance for the National Flute Association. The group explores popular and world music, in addition to the classical repertoire. Also the group's primary arranger, Andra's creative charts capture the musical essence of styles ranging from Irish traditional to Tibetan Chant and alternative rock-and-roll. Their CD, A Celtic Mosaic, explores a variety of unique and original music from Celtic sources including music from Riverdance, Lord of the Rings, Ballykissangel, and a trilogy of tunes by Loreena McKennitt. About The Classic Rock Album, rock icon Ian Anderson, flutist, and leader of Jethro Tull, said, "Many thanks for the CD. I enjoyed it very much and especially the variety of musical styles it incorporated. Keep up the good work and help bring the worlds of pop/rock and the Classical traditions together."

Andra performs and records on flutes of all shapes and sizes (classical, traditional wooden, baroque and a variety of ethnic instruments), as well as Celtic harp. She has performed and presented at several National Flute Association Conventions as well as the Canadian Flute Convention, World Flute Society Conventions, and British Flute Societies events. In addition to fluting, Andra is a master martial artist, yogi, avid snow skier, techno-geek, and alternatively wishes she was a hobbit or a Jedi knight!


Dr. Andra Bohnet will perform with bodhrán artist, Andy Kruspe.

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Andy Kruspe

Andy Kruspe is a music educator and percussionist from Huntsville, Alabama, where he teaches private students, concert bands, marching bands, percussion ensembles, and indoor drum lines. He holds degrees from Louisiana State University and the University of Central Florida, and is an educational endorser for Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets.

Andy has performed and recorded with several Celtic artists in the southeastern United States, including Black Market Haggis, David Coe, Candace Corrigan, Mithril, and SlipJig. He has also taught workshops and masterclasses on the bodhrán at several universities and festivals. In 2013, he presented a clinic entitled “The Irish Bodhrán in Context: Celebrating the Evolutions of a Modern Tradition” with Dr. Kyle Forsthoff at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Andy has spent several years studying the bodhrán both in the United States and abroad, including spending several summers at Craiceann - The Bodhrán Summer School on Inis Oírr, County Galway, Ireland. In May of 2014, he won the Over 18 division for the bodhrán at the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Midwest Fleadh in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 2014, Andy published an extensive method book titled, The Bodhrán Primer. In 2015, the book was reviewed in Percussive Notes, the journal of the Percussive Arts Society. Reviewer N. Scott Robinson stated in this review that this book was “… quite possibly the best resource on Irish bodhrán by a musician born outside of Ireland.” Andy’s second book, Playing the Tune, was released in 2015. A review in the December 2016 issue of Percussive Notes stated that this book “provides percussionists with another excellent resource, furthering the pedagogical materials available on the performance practice of the bodhrán.” His third book, First Steps: A Beginner’s Guide to the Bodhrán was released in early 2017.

Andy is happily married to his high school sweetheart, Rachel. When they are not working, they spend their free time traveling, finding good eats, and sampling really good beers.

Andy Kruspe will perform with Celtic flutist and whistle player, Dr. Andra Bohnet.

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Mark Holland

Award winning artist Mark Holland is considered by many authorities to be among today’s top performers and recording artists of the Native American flute. Leader and founder of Autumn’s Child, Mark describes his Autumn’s Child project as global chamber music - a hybrid of world, jazz, classical, and folk styles. Through Autumn’s Child, he showcases the versatility of the Native American flute, creating a new acoustic instrumental fusion and an eclectic sound that is truly one-of-a-kind. Mark is known for his skillful technique yet soulful playing from the heart. The newest Autumn's Child CD, Anything's Possible, won an Indian Summer Music award.

Mark Holland started Autumn’s Child in 1995. He began his publishing and record label, Cedar n Sage Music in 1997. To date, he has recorded 22 CDs. Mark has a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from the University of Missouri where he studied with two members of the Saint Louis Symphony. He has been a featured artist at numerous Native American flute festivals and world flute festivals, among others. He regularly tours throughout the country. Mark has recorded some tracks for a PBS documentary called Redemption Road. He also appeared as a guest on Capitol recording artist Chris Ledoux’s CD, Horsepower. In 2016, Mark appeared on the AO Music CD, Ahsha. He has also recorded numerous CDs with Peter Mayer and tours with him frequently.

Mark's music can be heard on various radio stations worldwide. His music is also featured on various national and international airlines.


Performing with Mark Holland will be Sherry Finzer.

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Sherry Finzer

Sherry Finzer believes that music can heal. She is a Phoenix-based flutist, performer, and composer. In addition, she runs Heart Dance Recordings, a label consisting of artists with a focus on healing music. Her company RS Promotions helps musicians get their music heard on radio stations around the globe.

Sherry’s sound has been influenced by the different music genres that she has played, as well as the variety of artists with whom she has collaborated. Whether creating ethereal music for spas or more upbeat melodies for road trips, her magical tones are created by “low flute” instruments which include the alto, bass, and contrabass flutes.

Recent accolades include awards from Zone Music Reporter for Trialogue – Best Album Acoustic 2016; Flute Flight – Best Relaxation/Meditation Album 2015; and Sanctuary III: Beyond the Dream – #1 on Echoes and CD of the Month, January 2015.

Sherry Finzer will be performing with Mark Holland.

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Xavier Quijas Yxayotl

Xavier Quijas Yxayotl is a world flutist, composer, and instrument maker known for his Aztec and Mayan music recreations from the ancient Americas. He is one of a few Mexican artists who construct instruments identical to those used by the pre-Hispanic peoples. Based upon ancient manuscripts, Xavier’s instruments are replicas of the instruments used by the Aztecs, Mayans, and other indigenous peoples from Mexico. The magic of Xavier’s instruments is a faithful reproduction of the autochthonous musical instruments, and the music is authentic and natural.


*Xavier Quijas Yxayotl is a multiple Native American Music Award nominee.

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Michael Graham Allen (Coyote Oldman)

Recording artist, flute maker, scholar, and musician, Michael Graham Allen has been researching and reintroducing New World flutes since the 1970s. He is a profound music pioneer, recording contemporary flute music well before the Native American flute took hold in the mainstream commercial recording industry. His recordings, Night Forest, Tear of the Moon, Landscape, and Thunder Chord, received much acclaim, marking them as pivotal recordings in the contemporary genre labeled by some as New Age and/or New Age Electronica, respectively. Michael lit a firestorm of innovative musical awareness. He introduced the Native American flute to numerous music markets all over the world, starting a revolution of interest in the instrument and in the culture from whence it originated. Michael is celebrated as an innovator, gifted musician, and a master craftsman, as he is credited with the reintroduction of the Anasazi, Mojave, and Hopi flutes, ancient rim-blown flutes of the New World.

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Tiit Raid

Tiit Raid was born in Tartu, Estonia. He received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees from the University of Minnesota, He taught basic design and painting at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire from 1967 to 2002. He has exhibited widely in the Midwest, and has taken part in exhibitions in Boston, New York City, Toronto, Stockholm, and Tallinn, Estonia. Past gallery affiliations include Suzanne Kohn Gallery, St. Paul; Julia Schmidt Fine Arts, New Orleans; Ann Nathan Gallery, Chicago; and Thomas Barry Fine Arts, Minneapolis.


Raid is a "found object percussionist," an expert at playing the kannal (Estonian lap zither) and a master of the berimbau. Raid is a mentor to Phippen.

Raid gifted Phippen a bamboo flute in March 1987 while teaching Phippen the finer points of improvisation. Raid and Phippen have performed and recorded together for three decades.

Tiit Raid will be performing with Peter Phippen.

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Ivar Lunde, Jr.


Ivar Lunde, Jr., owner and operator of Skyline Publications and Skyline Studios, has been part of the Eau Claire Music scene for almost 50 years. He is Professor Emeritus of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, former principal oboist and conductor of the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra, and co-founder of the Chippewa Valley Youth Symphony, which he led for 25 years. He has taught summer music camps in Idaho and Wisconsin and was Instructor of Oboe and Saxophone at the University of Maryland, College Park. He was principal oboist with the Norwegian National Opera and performed later with the National Gallery Orchestra in Washington D.C. He has been soloist with many orchestras in Europe, including the Bergen Philharmonic and the Oslo Philharmonic in his native country of Norway. Internationally, he has, as a composer, received numerous awards. Many compositions have been recorded and are available locally and on the Internet. Current projects include composing music for the film industry.

Upon his retirement as Music Director of ECCO, Lunde was named Music Director Emeritus.

Ivar Lunde, Jr. will perform with Peter Phippen. He will play double reeds, piano, and Chinese guzheng.

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