Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Paul Taffanel

Happy birthday, Paul Taffanel! Taffanel is generally considered to be the father of the modern French flute school, which became the dominant style of playing in Western Europe and the U.S. through the mid-20th century. He was born on September 16, 1844, in Bordeaux, France. His father was a music teacher. By the age of 10, Paul was playing flute in local concerts, and at 12, he was accepted as a student byLouis Dorun, who he followed to the Paris Conservatoire in 1860. Taffanel had a fabulous career as a flute soloist and orchestral player, as a teacher at the Paris Conservatoire from 1893 on, and as a conductor. He also composed and arranged music. He died in Paris in 1908.

Taffanel's playing style was particularly noted for the pure tone with limited vibrato. We flute players are indebted to Paul Taffanel, and many of us can trace our heritage -- our teacher's teachers -- back to Taffanel.

If you're interested in learning more, there's a book, Taffanel: Genius of the Flute, by Edward Blakeman (published by Oxford University Press, 2005). You can find it at the Polley Music Library.

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