For fans of Julien Beaudiment, the current occupant of the position and budding star within the orchestra, this news is certainly a major disappointment.
For almost everyone who follows such things, musicians and audience members alike, this news is probably alarming.
Given that five people have now formally held the position since 2006, and after clouds of controversy covered each of the departures of the previous two Principal Flutes, Mathieu Dufour and David Buck, speculation has already begun to run rampant in certain orchestrally-obsessed corners of the internet: what is going on within the LA Phil and/or the woodwind section to consistently drive first chair flutists away??!!!
Well, at least in this case, absolutely nothing.
- In mid-December 2014, Mr. Beaudiment shared the following statement with his friends on Facebook (reprinted here with his permission): “I’m deeply saddened to inform to all my friends that I’ll be leaving Los Angeles next year. This city and the orchestra have become my second home, but for personal reasons I must return to my first home of France. . . .”
- Recently, he let me know that while the reasons behind his departure later this season are very private and delicate, he reiterated that his decision has “nothing to do with the orchestra which I truly love. More importantly it has absolutely NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY MUSICAL OR HUMAN RELATIONSHIP ISSUES” and that the members of the LA Phil and its administration have been “part of my family.”
Furthermore, I know of many members of the orchestra who think highly of Mr. Beaudiment and his playing and are very sad to see him have to make the decision to leave.
Mr. Beaudiment has not been playing with the LA Phil this month, but will return in a few weeks and will join them on their tour of Asia in March.
- Julien Beaudiment sees his American Dream become a reality as Principal Flute of the LA Phil
- Catching up with the LA Phil: trying to fill empty chairs
Photo credit: CK Dexter Haven