When One Flute Isn't Enough

Lisa Beznoziuk
Lisa Beznoziuk
Lisa Beznoziuk

English flutist Lisa Beznosiuk is a period-instrument specialist. That means she makes music out of her some twenty-odd flutes as close to exactly what a composer would have heard at the time he composed his piece.

It's not entirely accurate to describe the English flute virtuoso as simply a 'flutist.' She is a purveyor of historical flutes, playing repertoire that ranges from Rameau to Rachmaninoff on instruments either played in the composers' day or on very accurate copies. The sound and style she strives for with each flute she plays illuminates the exact sound sensibility the composer would have had in mind when he wrote for the flute.

Before becoming one of the most noted flutists in the world, Ms. Beznosiuk started out as most flutists do, playing the modern silver "Boehm-system" flute. It was when she heard a performance by Baroque specialist Stephen Preston that she knew the wooden flute was the sound for her. But she didn't stop with the Baroque flute. She plays regularly on a whole range of instruments from a unique original four-keyed classical instrument that she used for a critically acclaimed Mozart and Beethoven disc, to a rare late 19th century nine-keyed flute that she uses for Wagner and Berlioz. While the added keys make getting around the instrument easier, the characteristic sound is the same. In fact, she notes that even Wagner preferred the light and dulcet tones of the wooden flute to the new louder, more intense sound of the Boehm-system flute when it was introduced in Bayreuth.

Lisa Beznosiuk performs all over the world with some of the leading English ensembles including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. They were part of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's International Chamber Music Festival in January and she stopped by at the MPR studios to talk with classical host Alison Young.

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