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Q&A with MSO flutist Susan Mott

March 22, 2007|by KATE COLEMAN

Susan Mott, 42, who is in her 17th season of playing flute and piccolo in the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, lives in Clear Spring.

She's not the only musician in her family. Husband Bill Mott is band director at three Washington County elementary schools. Son Daniel, 14, plays trumpet in the Clear Spring High School band and daughter Rebecca, 10, plays flute in the Clear Spring Elementary School band. Elizabeth, 8, has started playing piano with her mom and is on a list to take lessons.

"She's very excited," said Susan Mott.

Q: How long have you been playing flute and piccolo? When did you start? Why?

A: Thirty-three years. I started in fourth grade at LaVale Elementary School in Allegany County, Md.

My brother played trombone, and my sister played the flute. There was just an extra flute in the house, so I just decided to join the band.

Q: Do you play with other musical ensembles?

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A: I'm half of Duo Classico with guitarist Candice Mowbray. In the summer and spring, we're doing lots of weddings, garden parties. It's sporadic, but sometimes we've done as many as three weddings in one day. We do more dinner parties in the fall and winter.

Q: How do you prepare for a concert? How much time do you spend preparing for each performance?

A: It depends on the performance, of course. Every orchestra plays it a little bit differently, so I usually try to get two or three different recordings of a piece to get an idea of tempos. Then (I) just follow through, listening to my parts, and then I just start practicing. I usually do a couple hours a day. My kids are soccer (and) basketball players, so I fit in as much time as I can - an hour or two a day.

Q: Do you practice every day? How long?

A: I try to. I might miss a day or two if it's a crazy week, but I try. Two to three hours would be great.

Q: Do you have a day job?

A: I have a couple. I teach at Clear Spring Elementary - woodwinds and brass. This is my first year and the first year for instrumental music at Clear Spring. I teach flute privately at home. I'm also the booking agent for the MSO educational program. That's all the concerts in the schools, Kinder Konzerts, Symphony Saturdays program in Washington and Allegany counties, Holiday Brass. I book about 70 concerts a year for the MSO.

Q: Compare playing in the MSO and under Elizabeth Schulze's baton to playing with other orchestras and conductors.

A: Elizabeth has a lot of energy, and it really comes through. You feel that way as well when you're playing for her. She challenges the orchestra. She has a wonderful way of putting new music with old music - a really good programming sense. She comes to the orchestra with lots of experience, fresh ideas, and it's just been a pleasure.

Q: Who's your favorite composer? Do you have a favorite composition?

A: I love Samuel Barber. I don't know if his "The School for Scandal" is my very favorite, but it's way up there on the list.

Q: What kinds of music do you listen to in your leisure time? What's the last CD you bought?

A: Everything. Michael Bublé. I love him.

Q: What's your favorite "nonclassical" piece of music?

A: I love Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole - that era. Forties, Fifties.

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