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MSO program featuares flute soloist

November 13, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

This weekend's Maryland Symphony Orchestra program, the second of the 22nd season's MasterWorks series, will be Women's Voices.

There are two compositions by women and another - Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" - influenced by a woman in literature.

The orchestra's principal flute since 1983, a woman - Frances Lapp Averitt - will be featured.

And of course, the MSO's music director and conductor is a woman - Elizabeth Schulze.

The program will open with Cindi McTee's "Circuits," a piece Schulze describes as "short, very lively, truly kinetic and humorous."

She conducted its first National Symphony Orchestra performance. Later, the Washington, D.C., orchestra's music director, Leonard Slatkin, took it on tour.

Schulze describes Melinda Wagner's Pulitzer Prize-winning Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion as "a real tour de force for all the instruments." It's very, very colorful. There are different textures interjected with moments of colorful sounds, she says.


Averitt will be featured on the Wagner concerto.

She says she's been working extremely hard preparing for her solo role.

"It's been a wonderful challenge," she says.

"It's like landing in an exotic landscape," says Averitt, who never had heard the piece. "It has gorgeous colors,"

She describes the last movement as joyous: "It's like sailing in the sky."

Talking about the concerto reminds Averitt of the quote on the MSO's season program.

"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything."

Plato said it. Averitt believes it. "I was imagining things all over the place," she says of hearing the Wagner concerto.

Music has long been a part of Averitt's life. She began playing the flute as a fifth-grader in Auburn, Ala. Her mother, who played piano by ear and accompanied dance classes, knew a little bit about music. The flute was an instrument that was part of the band and the orchestra, and some nonmusical factors played a role in Averitt's choice of instrument. She says her older brother was dating a flute player. And her first flute came from a catalog available to her family because her grandfather owned a store in Michigan.

Averitt enjoyed music as a kid. Band was very social, she says. She played piccolo at Auburn University, majoring in music, marching with the band at football games.

She won a scholarship to the Aspen Music Festival and participated in music festivals during summers in college.

After earning a master's degree in music education at Auburn, she went on to earn her doctorate at Florida State University.

Since 1973, Averitt has been a member of the faculty at Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. She began her teaching with music theory classes. Now she primarily teaches flute students and coaches some ensembles.

Averitt has continued her own flute studies in Paris and the United States.

Working with Schulze has been a wonderful experience, she says. "She is a fabulous musician."

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