Lisa Cella is coming back to San Diego for a two-day festival of flute music. It looks to be a fascinating overview of contemporary music for flute, both solo and ensemble. The concerts are at the Atheneum in La Jolla, and information about the programs can be found here.
Of course, I'm particularly excited that Lisa will be playing Ripples, my piece for alto flute. When I wrote it I was interested in (or maybe even obsessed with) the connection between the performer and the instrument, the embouchure in particular. Several performance techniques are chained together, linked according to whether they are played with a closed or open embouchure. The act of moving the flute toward or away from the lips -- a small physical motion -- has dramatic sonic consequences.
The piece assumes a critical distance from the traditional bel canto voice of the flute, delving into the basic connection between the performer's breath and the instrument. When the usual methods of sound production are disrupted or altered the result is fragile and mysterious. The unstable territory that emerges depends upon a sensitive collaboration between the performer and listener.
While Lisa's extraordinary technical skills will serve this piece well, it is her humanity and depth of spirit that will be on display Friday night.