History of Flute Repertoire

Short History of Flute Repertoire in general

Of course we conservatory-trained flutists can play everything in our traditional repertoire. For a complete list, one can check other sites, books and catalogues (e.g. http://www. fluteworld.com/ ).
My favorites span many centuries, beginning with ancient melodies from various cultures and continuing via winding paths to music being written this very minute!


Historical Anthology of Music, Volume I: Oriental, Medieval, and Renaissance Music: Revised Edition (Oriental, Medieval, & Renaissance Music).
Archibald T. Davison & Willi Apel (Editors) A required textbook in college, it has proven to be an indispensable resource for many of my solo projects, most recently for one involving ancient music of Greece.


Also in my college years I fell in love with Renaissance dance music, playing it first in “Early Music” groups on recorder or Renaissance flutes and later in solo versions on my Western flute.


BACH BACH and more BACH!! Partita in A minor, Sonate in C-major (yes, as a solo), and Sciarrino’s adaptation of the Toccata and Fugue in G minor.

MARAIS Les Folies d’espagne



STAMITZ Caprices. Thanks to Zdenek Bruderhans I now appreciate the humor and style in these little pieces!


DONJON Etudes de salon.  My junior-high teacher had given me The Modern Flutist (pub. Southern Music Co.) so I could practice the Karg-Elert etudes and orchestral excerpts collected there, but I eventually figured out how much fun the (unassigned!) Donjon pieces were!

KARG-ELERT 30 Caprices. Yes. When I was fighting them in the 9th grade, they were NOT my favorite. Way too many accidentals and modern in a weird way. By high school I was proud I could play them, and by the time we were analyzing and memorizing Number 30 in grad school for Prof. Alex Murray I had learned to love them. And I had learned how “romantic” they really were!


DEBUSSY Syrinx. Of course! It’s not only “lovely music”, but it’s a brilliant composition, as I discovered when I had to analyse it for a musicology prof in grad school. I also had the privileges of studying it with Marcel Moyse, who claimed he had played it for Debussy himself (!), and, years later, being asked to perform it in Paris’s Chatelet. Unforgettable experiences for this girl from Michigan….

BOZZA Images. This was one of my “signature pieces” for awhile. The most fun performance, however, was a spontaneous “concert” I gave to a group of children at a friend’s home.


This is where making categories gets really interesting. Besides the afore-mentioned works of Karg-Elert, Debussy and Bozza, there is EVERY kind of music to be found in this time period—from the neo’s: neo-Baroque, -Classic, -Romantic, -Impressionist, to 12-Tone, Avant-garde, Experimental, Spectral, Concrète, Minimal, Complexity, Simplicity, World, New Age, Crossover, etc. etc. And we flutists can find all these trends right in our own repertoire: the history of 20th Century music unfolding in hundreds of pieces written for just for flute alone!!

My personal list, including some “firsts” in the solo repertoire for flute:

Claude Debussy Syrinx (1912) Symmetrical scales, exotic/ancient themes, theater
Sigfrid Karg-Elert Sonata Appassionata (1917) Tonality of romanticism pushed to the limit
Paul Hindemith Acht Stuecke (1927) Quartal harmonies
Ruth Crawford-Seeger Diaphonic Suite (1930) (a language speaking of both serial techniques and minimalism)
Edgar Varese Density 21.5 (1936) Particularly significant! “Blocks of sound”, percussive key-clicks, extremes in registers and dynamics…

Then come solos in a more traditional vein: Ibert (1936) Honegger (1937), Bozza (1940), Jolivet (1944), etc.

And then:

Roman Haubenstock-Ramati Interpolations (1957) and

Luciano Berio Sequenza (1958) Complex twelve-tone rows serve as the basis for exploiting the agility of the flute, with wild, pointillistic leaps and even more extreme changes of dynamic and register. New also is the space-time notation, and the introduction of a harmonic multiphonic.

After Interpolations and Sequenza the door is wide open and music for solo flute is THE medium for modern composers. From then on, it is almost easier to list the composers who did not write for solo flute. But I continue with  my personal choices here in the “mini-history” of the 20th century

Kazuo Fukushima Mei (1962) Reference to ancient music, glissandi, quarter-tones
B.A. Zimmermann Tempus Loquendi (1963) Extremes in dynamic & register, changing between c-, alto- and bass- flutes, open elements in score
Burt Levy Orbs (1965) use of extended techniques (especially multiphonics & tongue-rams)
William Brooks poem piece white-gold blue (1969) Adding voice, theatrical aspects, open score, improvisation
Mauricio Kagel Atem (1969/1970) Music theater, improvisation
Brian Ferneyhough Cassandra’s Dreamsong (1970) More extended techniques, open form
Toru Takemitsu Voice (1971) Voice, extended techniques
Heinz Holliger Lied (1971) “Noise” timbres, ad lib. amplification
Michael Manion Constellations (1974) Graphic score, live electronics
Robert Dick Afterlight (1975) Waves of overblown multiphonics
Younghi Pagh Paan Dreisam Nore (1975) Extended techniques
(Brian Ferneyhough Unity Capsule (1976) Complexity, multi-layered to the extreme)
Thorkell Sigurbjornsson Calaïs (1976) Reference to ancient or archaic music, dissembled flute
Jon Gibson Equal Distribution 1 (1977) Minimalism
Salvatore Sciarrino All’aure in una lontanza (1967) (first performed 1977!) “Whistle tones” inside the flute, air-sounds
Karlheinz Stockhausen In Freundschaft (1977/1983) Extended serialism, prescribed motions
Kaija Saariaho Laconisme de l’aile (1982) Sounds from noise to pure flute tone organized in a graded scale

Flute solos continue to make musical history of course, but I will leave the chronological listing to offer some of my favorites alphabetically. 

Solo with Orchestra

Solo with Orchestra

Solo with Orchestra


20th/21st Century: Written for CAMILLA HOITENGA

Concertos written for Camilla Hoitenga


  • J.S. Bach Suite in b-minor, Brandenburg and violin concerti
  • C.P.E. Bach Concerto in d-minor
  • M. Blavet Concerto in E
  • J. Quantz Concerto in G
  • G.Ph. Telemann Concerto in E
  • A. Vivaldi All concerti, also for piccolo
  • L. Boccherini Concerto D-dur
  • D.Cimarosa Concerto in G for two flutes
  • W.A. Mozart Concerti in C, D, G, Andante & Rondo
  • Bizet Carmen Fantasy
  • Blodek Concerto
  • Chaminade  Concertino
  • Gluck Reigen Seliger Geister

With chamber orchestra:

  • Ernst Bloch Suite Modale, Two Last Poems…Maybe
  • Avner Dorman Piccolo Concerto (very rhythmic and exciting, VERY virtuosic for picc!)
  • Sofia Gubaidulina Music for Flute, Strings and Percussion
  • Michael Jarrell Double concerto (for flute and oboe)
  • Kent Kennan Night Soliloquuy
  • Arvydas Malcys Vox Clamantis in Deserto
  • Thea Musgrave Orfeo II for flute and strings
  • Doina Rotaru Concerto for flute, 13 strings and 2 percussion
  • Bright Sheng Flute Moon (picc/flute, harp, piano, percussion, strings)
  • Kuldar Sink Concerto

With large orchestra:

  • Henk Badings Concerto (with symphonic wind ensemlbe)
  • Marc-André Dalbavie Concerto written for Emmanuel Pahud
  • Lukas Foss Renaissance Concerto written for Carol Wincenc–a real crowd-pleaser, fun! (!)
  • Gabriela Lena Frank, Illap: tone Poem for Flute and Orchestra
    (“depicts a moment in the life of Illapa, a powerful weather god from ancient Sount American Andean Culture”)
  • L. Glodeanu Concerto
  • Toshio Hosokawa per-sonare (flutist also playing piccolo, alto and bass flutes)
  • Jacques Ibert Concerto (old favorite–always effective!)
  • György Ligeti Double Concerto (for flute and oboe)
  • Carl Nielsen Concerto
  • Uros Rojko Inner Voices (a very cool! sort of “spectral” work)
  • Kaija Saariaho …à la fumée (flute and cello)
  • Joan Tower Flute Concerto (1989) American “classic”
  • Lotta Wennäkoski soie (2009)


Chamber Music

Chamber Music


Flute and piano repertoire was naturally dominant all through my school years. In college I added other instruments: a guitarist to share the Ibert “Entr’acte”, an organist for Frank Martin’s Sonata da Chiesa, a cellist for Villa Lobos, etc. And for years I enjoyed being part of our Collegium Baroque Trio, enjoying the music of Bononcini and Caldara with oboe, cello and harpsichord.

In graduate school came duos with a harpist or a percussionist, wind quintets and smaller ensembles, and, most importantly, the ensemble “Roulette”, with composer/performer/improvisers David Means, Robert Fleischer, and Dan Senn, (composers/inventors!), Jim Staley and Bob Gale (trombones), John Fonville and myself (flutes).

When I came to Cologne in 1980 I co-formed groups with various wind and/or string players, playing repertoire from Bach to Mozart to Jonathan Harvey to Stockhausen, and even had a folk/rockgroup (called “Dreirad”, meaning “tricycle”) that included a bouzouki.

Since then I have continued to have the privilege of enjoying intense and exhilarating chamber music experiences with colleagues in many countries, performing music of many epochs.


Bach, Blavet, Handel, Telemann, Mozart, Reinecke, Schubert….
Specific lists from the classic or standard repertoire available upon request!)


Debussy, Fauré, Reger, Caplet, Bonis, Ibert, Poulenc, Roussel, Prokofiev, Martinu….
(Here, too, detailed lists available.)


In this category there are so many pieces to choose from, with more appearing practically every day.
For the moment I begin with the pieces written for CAMILLA HOITENGA & friends:


WILLIAM BROOKS  (*1943) Sweet (2009)  (Music Theatre for soprano and flute)
PIERRE-ADRIEN CHARPY Matar, no te mataria (2009)   (soprano and flute)
Miyuki ITO Ajuga (2009) (soprano and flute, opt. video)
KUMIKO OMURA North Wind (2009) (soprano and flute, opt. video)
KAIJA SAARIAHO (1952) Changing Light (2002) (soprano and flute, opt. video)
Ariel’s Hail (2000) (soprano, flute, harp)
HARTMUT SCHULZ Requiem (2010) (bariton, flute and piano)
SHOKO SHIDA (*1942) Uneri  (1980) (soprano, flute electronics)


GENE COLEMAN Shredded Heritage (2000) nohkan, 2 guitars, electronics
FRÉDÉRIC MAINTENANT Interstice (2003) flute, guitar, electronics
Miyuki ITO Lunar Phases (2006) (flute, harp, viola)
ANNE LEBARON Solar Music (1997) (flute and harp)
MIQUEL LORCA Venus (2009)  (flute and harp)
Noriko NAKAMURA Bright moon (2009)  (alto flute and koto)
ORJAN SANDRED Swirling Leaves (2006) (flute and harp)
SHOKO SHIDA Aya (2000) flute and 2 guitars
Takehito SHIMAZU Fuzzy Diagonals I (2001) flute, 2 kotos, Japanese dancer
(buyoh), electronics
Takehito SHIMAZU Fuzzy Diagonals II (2001) (flute, 13-gen koto, dance)
Takehito SHIMAZU Fuzzy Diagonals III (2002) (flute, 2 guitars)
Takehito SHIMAZU Ist Herr Dharma? (1994) (flute , guitar, percussion)
Yoko TAKAHASHI Baraka (2001) (flute and koto)
WANG YING Gläsernes/Durchsichtiges Lied (2009) (flute and harp)


MICHAEL DENHOFF Maramba (2006) (flute and celeste)
CHRISTOPHER FOX Pastoral (2000)
MARTIN SCHERZINGER The Whistle of the Circle Movement (2000)
STEPHEN HARRAP Passacaglia (2004) (flute and organ)
Hiroko KATSUMOTO Unendliche Geschichte Variation (2003)
DAGFINN KOCH Hommage an Grieg (2010)
MARTIN SCHERZINGER The Whistle of the Circle Movement (2000)
Helena TULVE New Work (2011/12) (flute and prepared piano


Yoshihiko SHIMIZU (2009) – three flutes

Yoko TAKAHASHI (2005) – two flutes and piano

Yoko TAKAHASHI (2004) – two flutes


Satoshi IKEGAMI Morphogenesis (2005) (flute, saxophone)
Aya HORIE Passion II (2005) (flute, saxophone and piano)
Miki KUMAGAI Ryugo no Tsukai (2005) – (flute, saxophone and piano)
Mio MINAMIKAWA Forest in the Sky (2005) – (flute, saxophone and piano)
Yoko TAKAHASHI Kerahami (2005) (flute, saxophone and piano)


JOHANNES FRITSCH Trio vom Ende(1992) Alto flute, bass voice & percussion
Carl-Axel HALL Unio Mystico (1994) (flute, also piccolo)
Yoshihiro KANNO Deep Sea Maze (2007) (flute, also alto, piccolo)
ANNE LEBARON Transfiguration (2003) (soprano, flute, harp, percussion
FRÉDÉRICK MARTIN Musica Falsa (1998)
MICHELE RUSCONI New Work (2011) flute, harp, percussion
KAIJA SAARIAHO (1952) Terrestre (2003) Fl./Vn/Vc./Harp/Perc.  10”
Terrestre (2004) Fl./Vla/Vc./Harp/Guit.  10′
Shoko SHIDA (1999) Mugen (Beyond) (1999) (bass flute)
JOVANKA TRBOJEVIC The Wounded Angel (2009) (also alto flute)

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