The Los Angeles Philharmonic recently announced that this coming May, they will once again be holding auditions for their Principal Flute chair.
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
Who heads the woodwind section?
I don’t think you can name one person that heads all the woodwinds.
Of course not. There are four principals – flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon. They are the leaders of the woodwinds. Incidentally, in LA Phil, one of them has been with the orchestra approximately three times as long as the other three combined.
(That would be principal clarinet Michele Zukofsky, who must be one of the longest-serving active players in the country.)
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Her last name is Zukovsky.
The number of her years with LA Phil is very impressive, but – even more astonishingly – it is the quality of her playing throughout all these decades, including now, that is truly miraculous.
I’m so disappointed to read this but of course I have to remind myself this is better for M. Beaudiment. Still, as a Philharmonic goer, I can be sad about it, right? Thanks to CK for letting us know and I hope he will give us updates on M. Beaudiment’s remaining schedule with the LA Phil. Of course there are still more than 100 good reasons to see the Phil but I think some of us will want to make sure we can see him a few more times before he leaves.
The CSO will be having auditions for its principal flute position, coincidentally in May?!
Mathieu Dufour, who has left the CSO for Berlin, was briefly principal flute of the LAPO. 🙂
I realize that.
Today, it was most enjoyable to listen to Julien’s return to the Phil, playing wonderfully throughout the program, and even sharing the section with his nemesis, of course with Elise playing referee!
He will be playing in the Mahler 6th and Dvorak 9th concerts, then going on tour, but that’s all folks!
What is this “nemesis” claim based on?
Mark – his playing is so much superior to anyone in the section, including Ms.Karoly.
That is why he is the principal, but you have not answered my question.
Accusatory labeling of a person, whether explicit or implied, that is not based on and/or supported by any factual evidence, is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
I heard Mr. Beaudiment in a petite masterclass and in a performance (w/ full orchestra) of the Mozart Flute Concerto in D, at NFA (National Flute Association) last year (August). Before his concerto performance, he dedicated it to his mother, who was (may still be?) suffering from cancer. This MAY be a reason or contributor to his reason(s) for returning to France. So, let us not create or stir a pot of controversy among the wind section based on highly speculative and truly unfounded conjecture. It is sad he is leaving, but the existing players will carry on at a very high level and the position–a highly desirable one–will be filled! There are some amazing players from around the world who will seek it, I am certain.
Thank you very much for your comments. People who were at that NFA raved about his performance, just as many LA Phil attendees had done during his tenure here. His absence is certainly felt.
At the same time, Catherine Ransom Karoly (acting Principal until the chair is officially filled once again) is a very talented player who will handle the 1st chair responsibilities capably in the interim.