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Alexa Still Named Associate Professor of Flute at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music

Jun 27, 2011

OBERLIN, OHIO (June 20, 2011) – International flute icon Alexa Still has been named Associate Professor of Flute at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Distinguished as a performer and teacher, and for her collaborations with an array of celebrated musicians, composers, and conductors, Still’s appointment completes a faculty roster noted for its world-class instruction.

“Alexa Still is an extraordinary musician who brings deep intelligence and insight to her work as an artist and teacher. Few individuals so brilliantly combine superb musicianship with a unique capacity for mentorship,” says Dean of the Conservatory David H. Stull. “We are thrilled to bring her to Oberlin, where she will join a group of colleagues who are committed to advancing the study and performance of music at the highest level in the world.”

Associate Professor of Oboe and English Horn Robert Walters extols the scope and breadth of Still’s musicianship: "The purity and cultivation of her approach to the instrument, coupled with her deep fascination for every imaginable musical context in which a serious flutist may find him or herself, is simply exhilarating. She is a magnificent performer and teacher."

Heralded as “impeccable in technique and taste, seductive in phrasing," (Stephensen Classical CD Guide), Still possesses an unusually broad repertoire and has collaborated with some of the most notable artists across the globe. She has presented several world and regional premieres of concertos including Anthony Ritchie’s Flute Concerto with the Southern Sinfonia, David Hamilton’s Hine Raukatauri with the Auckland Chamber Orchestra, Maria Grenfell’s Maui Tikitiki a Taranga with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and John Corigliano's Pied Piper Fantasy with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Still also appeared in the first fully stage-directed version of Pied Piper Fantasy with the Brooklyn Philharmonic in honor of John Corigliano’s 70th birthday. Other works written for and premiered by Still include Joseph Schwanters’ Looking Back with pianist Stephen Gosling (National Flute Association Convention in New York 2008) and numerous works by New Zealand and Australian composers.

In 2008 Still travelled with Oberlin’s Associate Professor of Harp Yolanda Kondonassis on the Chamber Music New Zealand Celebrity Tour, and Still has also appeared with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson trio, Takacs Quartet, Nexus Percussion Ensemble, cellist Peter Rejto, and pianists Cristina Dahl, Stephen Gosling, and Clemens Leske. A New Zealand native, Still held the principal flute positions in both the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra for more than a decade. In 2004 she served as guest principal flute in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Still’s appearances in the United States are numerous, among them are recital engagements at SUNY Stony Brook, the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., Detroit Institute of Arts, the New York Flute Club, University of North Texas, and National Flute Association Conventions in Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Solo engagements include the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, and Long Island and Brooklyn philharmonics. Internationally she has appeared at the Hamburg Hoschule for Music and Theater in Germany, with the Istanbul Chamber Orchestra in Turkey, on a recital tour of China and Japan, and at International Flute Festivals in Brazil, Venezuela, China, Australia, Slovenia, England, and Mexico.

Volumes of critical praise follow her performances. Bernard Holland of the New York Times writes that he “found himself so involved in the music at hand that the artist's technical sureness and musical intensity were noticed only in retrospect.” The City Times (New Zealand) asserts that Still “knows how to end a phrase to keep one longing for more.” Known internationally for her many recordings on the Koch International Classics label, she is praised for playing“so convincingly I cannot separate her from the music,” (American Record Guide) and as "a stunning showcase…." (Fanfare).

A luminary in the flute world, Still is in demand the world over for her teaching in addition to her performances. She has presented master classes and lectures across Europe and the United States, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Slovenia, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Canada, China, and Korea. Previously serving as Associate Professor of Flute at University of Colorado at Boulder and, most recently, Professor of Flute at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Australia, Still’s students have gone on to win numerous international competitions and to earn positions in prestigious ensembles worldwide. In recognition of her services rendered as President of the National Flute Association, Still was honored with a Life Membership in 2007 and was voted “List Member of the Millennium” by The Flute List in 2000.

Still earned her undergraduate degree from Auckland University in New Zealand and her master and doctoral degrees from SUNY Stony Brook. Recipient of a Fulbright Award in 1996, her principal teachers include Samuel Baron and Thomas Nyfenger.

Adept also as a silver smith and in operating a metal lathe, Still’s expertise extends beyond the music of the flute and into the mechanics of the instrument. She has published dozens of articles and essays on flute modification in addition to writing about flute technique and performance.

Following the retirement of flute legend Michel Debost, Still’s appointment at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music is the first changing-of-the-guard the flute department has seen in over two decades.

“I feel very honored to be following in [his] footsteps,” says Still. She adds that Oberlin’s reputation is “legendary” and she is “excited to be working with the elite students that Oberlin attracts.”

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