Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Boxwood Flute Festival

I’m back.

I went to Boxwood, in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. It is a music camp for those interested in the traditions of the flute, especially featuring the Celtic traditions and baroque flute. Most of the players who attend play wooden flutes (baroque flutes or the 19th century wooden flutes that are used in Irish playing today).

This year’s flute teachers included Chris Norman (who runs Boxwood), Rod Garnett (who helped found Boxwood), Kevin Crawford, Jean-Michel Veillon, and Marten Root; other teachers included uilleann piper Paddy Keenan, Cape Breton and baroque violinist David Greenberg, harpsichord and piano player David McGuinness, and guitarist Andy Thurston.

As those in the know can tell from this line-up, it was quite a week! What extraordinary players!

The week began with an opening concert in this rebuilt church, St. John’s Anglican Church. It was burned almost to the ground in November 2001, but was re-built and reopened last year.

We had classes by day in this remarkable building (the Lunenburg Academy):

In the afternoons I would have coffee or tea in the Historic Grounds coffeehouse, often with Boxwood friends, overlooking the Lunenburg harbor:

After the evening events, we would gather in the fire hall for “sessions.” This picture shows Chris Norman, Kevin Crawford, Paddy Keenan, and Jean-Michel Veillon, along with many others:

Neither words nor pictures can really capture what it was like, because always there was the music (the haunting music of 100 wooden flutes!) pulsing in the background.

I learned a lot. I was greatly inspired by the brilliant playing of the teachers and many of the participants as well. I’ve always loved traditional Irish, Scottish, and Cape Breton music, as well as baroque music, of course, but this time I also learned about the traditional music of Brittany, France, via the amazing playing of Jean-Michel Veillon. So now I have a new kind of music to love and explore and maybe even incorporate into my repertoire.

Here's a link to a review of the Finale Concert of the event.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Dear "me",

    Sorry to see that you removed your post! I did see it before you removed it and am glad you appreciated learning about Boxwood. Also I visited your website and I really like it -- wonderful mixing of beautiful photography and short reflections! Thank you!