Although there are plenty of female flutists in orchestras--the flute supposedly being the wind instrument of choice for young girls--only a few have cracked the glass ceiling to emerge as concert soloists. This recital, sponsored by the Chicago Flute Club, brings to town a woman who's as good as celebrated fellows like Jean-Pierre Rampal and James Galway, but doesn't yet have the resume to prove it. Linda Chesis, a respected, Yale-educated teacher at the Manhattan School of Music, is already fairly well-known on the concert circuit, having premiered works by Steve Reich and Philip Glass with Solisti New York and accompanied the likes of soprano Jessye Norman; she also heads the Broyhill Chamber Ensemble, an estimable east-coast outfit due to visit Chicago later this spring. So far she's soloed with second-tier symphonies like Houston and North Carolina, but she deserves better. In all those contexts, as well as in her ad hoc trio with Carol Wincenc and Laura Gilbert, Three Flute Moms, Chesis performs with fluency, elegance, and remarkable breath control--she's a paragon of the French school of flute playing, which emphasizes clarity and a light touch. Not surprisingly, she studied with Rampal, and she's among the half dozen Americans to have been awarded the Paris Conservatory's Premier Prix de Flute. She repaid the kindness of the French recently with a sprightly, airy, subtly sensual CD of chamber works by Debussy (on the Music Masters label). On the program for her solo debut here are pieces by Poulenc and Donizetti, both of which cast the flute as a coloratura, and Bruce Saylor's charming aria Soggetti Cavati; only Copland's jaunty, folksy Duo will require Chesis to shed her Gallic personality. She'll be accompanied by pianist Melody Lord. Sunday, 1 PM, Unity Church on the North Shore, 3434 Central, Evanston; 847-864-8977. TED SHEN
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Christian Steiner.