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Concerto for Flute and Orchestra

flute and orchestra
My Flute Concerto was written for the celebrated flutist Robert Aitken, with funds provided by the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council. The work is in three movements. The first is a furious rush by the soloist, punctuated with explosive sounds from the orchestra. By contrast the second movement is very slow and sustained in which the flutist play phrases quite high and then by contrast, quite low. An impulsive 5/16 rhythm sustains the last movement which explodes into jet whistles in the final bars. R. Murray Schafer
Edition: Performance material

Product Details


The Flute Concerto was written for my friend Robert Aitken, who gave the first performance with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. The Maestro, with a capital M, was Charles Dutoit, who treated the work as a pièce de garage, placing it at the beginning of the program and insulting Bob Aitken by following it with the Schumann piano concerto played by some headliner pianist.

I have never wasted my time kissing the feet of conductors, though I am always willing to explain my ideas whenever required, and so when Dutoit summoned Bob and me to a preliminary meeting in Montréal, I went.

I have a vivid memory of him waltzing into the room on his platform shoes saying, 'Eet is clear, Mr. Schafer, zat you are not a conductor. Please (passing me the baton) show me za way to conduct eet.' He was referring to the last movement which is in very fast five-eight time. Bob murmured in the background, 'Just beat one to the bar.' Dutoit wheeled about, 'Eh? Mr. Aitken would prefer to conduct eet.' 67 There was no further discussion and after the one and only rehearsal the Maestro hurried offstage without consultation. I didn’t attend the première, which was a great success – even though the last movement was too slow. R. Murray Schafer

Orchestral Cast

2pic., vib, mar, tam-t, log dr)-hp.pno(cel)-str

More Information

Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
Performance material
Arcana Editions
Year of composition:
25 ′
World Premiere:
October 8, 1984 · Montreal, QC (CA)
Place Des Arts
Robert Aitken, flute · Conductor: Charles Dutoit · Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal

Commissioned work :
commissioned by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra

Technical Details

Product number:
Delivery rights:
Distribution rights for all countries except USA and Canada


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  • Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
    Conductor: Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra: Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal
    October 8, 1984 | Montreal, QC (Canada) , Place Des Arts — World Premiere
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