Linda Vogt 28.9.22 – 2-4-2013

2 Apr

We are saddened today to hear of the death of “Australia’s Great Lady Of The Flute”

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It came as no surprise when in 1989 Linda Vogt Evans was awarded the Order of Australia for her services to music. This deserved recognition was inevitable as many of us were aware of her years of continual dedication to her study of the flute. It was evident very early in her flute playing career that she possessed unusual qualities. These included also outstanding talents and leadership that some day would broaden the nations understanding and musical development in all aspects of flute performance. She has been a motivating force in the Australian flute world. Her reputation grew as a leader destined to become an innovative and creative influence throughout the continent. Interestingly, she did not limit her teaching to only the more advanced, but consistently showed the desire to excite each flutist in becoming a better player eventually, flutists of all levels of playing, young and old, would come to her. And, she represented the best of human qualities, as is the case with many who are influential. As an inspired individual and a motivator she became known throughout Australia for her total commitment to a higher standard of flute playing. My first encounter with Linda was in 1971 during a concert tour by the Baroque Chamber Players of Indiana University. She attended a masterclass that I gave at Macquarie University in Sydney. I remember well her broad look of expectation during the class, as though saying, he may say something new. She appeared wonderfully enthusiastic; and equally attractive was the excitement she showed as an avid performer and teacher — (also, she was awfully nice to look at). Our collaboration began as she successfully coordinated a residency for me at the Sydney Conservatorium in 1973. This was to begin our professional association, and with it a strong friendship that continues today. My lasting impression was ensured by the attentiveness evidenced during the well-attended masterclasses at the conservatorium. The eagerness of these flutists could only have been encouraged further by the influence of dynamic and stimulating people such as Linda, whose energy was directed in search of a bright future for Australian flute playing. Her tireless efforts were equally devoted to the founding of the Flute Society of New South Wales. This contributed to a widespread interest, and future planning for the development of the national flute conventions under the leadership of a national organisation. From the very first Australian flute convention in 1973 (National Flute Seminar Convention) she remained active, focusing on the importance of sustaining the convention movement. Ultimately, this became a reality with the formation of the AFA (Australian Flute Association). With this in place, future conventions were assured. As musical director of this first convention in 1973, I had the pleasure of Lindas collaboration as Executive Director — which meant that she would do all of the work! I convinced her she could do no wrong — after all, this convention was to be the first ever in Australia. Convincing flute players in great numbers to attend an event of this magnitude in Sydney [and on Easter weekend] seemed at the time a unique challenge. However, Lindas organisational capabilities brought about the success that would be hers, not only for this seminar, but by establishing traditions for future conventions. Again, it was Linda at her best. Coincidentally, this gathering preceded the first NFA convention in the U.S.A. by four months. During my residency at the Sydney Conservatorium she was most enthusiastic not only as a teacher and performer (at that time a member of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra), but her attitude was always that of a professional student. She was a sincere performer. I considered Lindas playing at that time excellent indeed; with elegance, charm and conviction, indicating an accepted influence from abroad. She not only was receptive to the ideas expressed by foreign flutists, but equally anxious for the opportunity to learn from other musicians as well. Her research into Australias musical past has resulted in numerous articles published in prominent music journals. These too have nourished a greater understanding for determining a bright musical future in which she has already played a vital role.


Linda Vogt, A.M. (b.28.9.22)
A View of the Past.

Edited by Karen Chugg
Compiled by Robert Brown
Lindas career as a flautist has spanned a period of over 50 years, since the Second World War. One of the few remaining musicians able to recount from personal experience the early development of flute playing in Australia, Linda refers to this era as, my times – just as her teacher Leslie Barklamb would talk about his times. Linda Vogt however, is very much a woman of the 90s. Firmly located in Australias musical history and yet firmly in the present. In 1998 Robert Brown visited Linda at her home in the beautiful and rugged Blue Mountains of New South Wales, where she lives with her husband, the piccolo player, Colin Evans. As did Neville Thomas in 1992, Robert Brown set out to document the career of this gifted flautist, teacher and innovator. To capture such a woman in print is indeed a challenge. However for those readers not privileged to have met Linda, contemplating her life choices can, in part reveal the person. The decisions she has made throughout her life have led her from the shy girl from a working class background, to the confident, strikingly handsome recipient of the Order of Australia for Services to Music. Fortuitous decisions however, do not necessarily follow a fulfilling path without a sympathetic personality, self-awareness and insight. Lindas plucky approach to living revealed itself at a young age when she volunteered to learn to play the instrument earmarked for her brothers use, in her school orchestra. It fortified her as she played the piccolo for the first time in her life on the day she joined the A.B.C. Sydney Studio Orchestra; changing systems from 1867 model to Böhm on the job; performing live broadcasts with established jazz musicians in their own idiom; taking on the Directorship of the First Flute Convention in Australia and achieving her certificate in computer literacy in 1998 at the age of 76. These are but a handful of the many examples of Linda’s willingness to have a go. Linda Vogt is first and foremost a musician and her love of the flute is best expressed through her playing. Her skill, expressiveness, warmth and style arrest the listener, from her recordings of earlier broadcasts. Conveying her joy in music, her playing reflects not only tangible emotions, but also dedication. Her work reflects a readiness to learn and to recognise learning opportunities and a joy in sharing her skill and knowledge. When I look back I think…I must be a survivor! Linda tells how she was frequently thrown in at the deep end in life, and how surviving was the result of a combination of hard work and musical nous. That was life – one thing grew out of another. However it was her introduction to the study of the Alexander Technique of posture and breathing in 1973, that Linda identifies as the time she stepped forward as a personality. A long dedication to the practice of yoga, Alexander technique and Ti Chi taught her to look the audience in the eye and to do the things I actually did. As a mother, Linda concentrated on that chapter of her life with typical application and insight, returning to her career when she found herself unable to endure the separation from music making. Her love of music has led her to accept and meet the challenges required in the performance of jazz when she joined forces with some of Australias most respected musicians, in turn earning their continuing respect and admiration. Throughout her diverse career, Linda has taught many flute students, bringing with her the influences of her forebears and her life. In todays changing racing world, she is a collector of flute memorabilia, involved in Flute Conventions, a surfer on the Internet and a planner of great things to come. With her infectious laugh and energy Linda began her narrative with Robert Brown, from the rare position of one able to inject life into an era which threatens to become the province of remaining relatives of bygone flautists – a dusty museum of interest to collectors. With her own particular enigmatic style, Linda articulates her own valuable contribution. For a flautist who professed to have survived by ‘keeping my head down and getting on with the job, Linda Vogt is already half way to establishing the legacy of a formalised documentation of flute playing in Australia, of sharing knowledge and helping to create a growing flute community within the country. Lindas story begins in a working class area in Melbournes northern suburbs. Born to musical parents her childhood was imbued with an appreciation of opera and the great piano classics. Perhaps it was this environment, and witnessing her parents playing and enjoying piano duets, that instilled in Linda the belief that acquiring musical skills is as much a matter of sharing and learning from one another as it is in isolated practice and competition. When violinist Stuart Wilke requested volunteers for the Preston Girls High School Orchestra, Linda took the opportunity using a flute owned by her family. On occasions, Mr Wilkes knowledge of flute fingerings was deficient and he would seek advice from Leslie Barklamb. Having completed two years of secondary school, Linda attended a shorthand/typing course at Stotts Business College – in keeping with many a familys expectations of a suitable career for a young woman. Her love of the flute was nurtured during her employment at Norman Brothers, the staff attending symphony concerts and expressing interest in Lindas burgeoning talent. Wrestling with her rather unresponsive thick wooden Rudall Carte 1867 system flute, Linda eventually sought tuition from Leslie Barklamb. In 1940, he nominated her as a suitable flautist to play as an extra in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra*. Never having studied at a conservatorium, Linda relished the opportunity to perform beside her teacher, and to learn through that experience. She greatly admired the artistry and playing of the then Principal, Richard Chugg, whos French style and use of vibrato prompted Linda to realise that is what the flute should sound like! In 1942 Professor Bernard Heinz (later Sir), unexpectedly invited Linda to join the A.B.C. Sydney Studio Orchestra, which later became the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. A vacancy existed in the section while Neville Amadio completed his military service. With the rather concerned consent of her parents, Linda, an inexperienced 19-year-old, set out for Sydney the following week on the Spirit of Progress train. Les Barklamb arrived at the station in time to see her departure and to pass a piccolo through the open window, the first she had ever held. Met at Sydneys Central Station and transported directly to the rehearsal studios (then in Burwood), Linda arrived during the morning tea break. She was introduced to the members of the orchestra and principal flute Bert Anderson, and rehearsals began with Linda playing flute and piccolo! In 1942 the orchestra consisted of 45 players. There were no tape recordings in those days and so the orchestra performed frequent live broadcasts every week1. Playing direct to air gave rise to many notable and hilarious situations. One such situation which prompts Lindas enthusiastic laughter, occurred when Neville Amadio, who hadnt taken careful note of the order of music, opened with the spectacular chromatic scale in the Flight of the Bumble Bee. His confident entry was met with stunned silence by the rest of the orchestra in the studio, who were poised to begin Delius Lark Ascending! As the war neared its end, Linda prepared to return to Melbourne. Neville Amadio would be returning from military service and resuming his position as Principal flute; Bert Anderson would revert to second flute. Women recruited into the orchestra were required to surrender their positions to the returning service men. Tragically, Bert Anderson developed quinsy and died within the week, however this enabled Linda to retain her position2. Bert Anderson had fantastic technical ability. I sat there for 3 years, observing his professional application and performance. Linda acquired Berts silver Haynes after he died. This meant changing from her 1867 system to the Böhm system while continuing to perform. Richard Chugg encouraged her to take up the challenge, although he himself didnt change from the Radcliff system. Aware that she was a woman in a mans world, she worked particularly diligently, concentrating wholly on the job at hand. The whole of my career I gave the men a run for their money! With the expansion of the orchestras flute section in the late1940s, Colin Evans joined as third flute and piccolo. Despite an initially unpredictable friendship, Linda and Colin, with considered impetuosity, decided to marry. Linda describes her marriage as a unique relationship – a very good union. Having enjoyed a very good life together, as two flautists, we always had great respect for one anothers musicianship. Colin retained his position in the orchestra for 35 years, while Linda left before the birth of the first of their two children. With typical focus, Linda accepted motherhood and reflects for other young women be pregnant – enjoy the new chapter. Despite the dedicated care of her terminally ill father until his death and the care of her young children, Peter and Deirdre, Lindas emotional fulfilment required her return to music making. In the early sixties one of the leading jazz musicians of the time, saxophonist Charles Munro approached Linda to join a jazz quintet for radio broadcasts3. The flute was becoming a popular jazz instrument but the multi-instrumental jazz musicians were having difficulty with the embouchure and tone production. Never having listened to jazz or needed to improvise, she took the challenge head on – If youre game, Im game. With an agreement that her improvisations would be annotated, Linda joined the quintet for six months of broadcasts, fully enjoying the relaxed approach of the musicians and greatly admiring their multi-instrumental skills and improvisatory talents. They, in turn, learnt to refine their tones through greater breath control and better tone production. In Sydneys jazz world Linda became known as Hot Lips. For her, it was another opportunity to broaden my horizons – Ive loved jazz ever since. In 1966, Nicola Snekker arranged the first masterclass at the Sydney Conservatorium, given by Jean-Pierre Rampal. All the local flautists attended this event, however none, other than Nicola, were prepared to perform before their peers. This episode prompted Linda to initiate a group of professionals to meet regularly, having prepared a set piece, and to play in front of one another, with the intent of prompting constructive criticism and learning from one another. If you go blindly through life with blinkers on, youre no richer for it. Deirdre Hall, Nicola Snekker, Jack Freeland, Andrew Gardner, Mal Cunningham, Don Burrows, Greg Matheson, John Leeman, William Frater, Norma Scott, Michael Scott, Rosemary Prior and Gioconda Augimeri and visiting artists Maxence Larrieu (France) and Douglas Whittaker4contributed to the group5. As soloist, Linda was engaged frequently by the A.B.C. and Musica Viva, and she appeared regularly with the Sinfonia of Sydney conducted by Carl Pini and Neville Marriner. She was associate principal of the Elizabethan Theatre Trust Sydney Orchestra in 1973 and 1974 and toured Australia and South East Asia for Musica Viva with the Carl Pini Chamber Players. She taught at the Canberra School of Music in 1969 and 1970 and played at the opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973, in Prokovievs opera War and Peace. In 1971 Professor James Pellerite, Professor of Flute at Indiana University* toured Sydney and Melbourne with a chamber group and presented masterclasses and lectures. Later, Linda was instrumental in negotiating a placement for him for three months at the Sydney Conservatorium, as Artist-in-Residence. Lindas flute group became the Sydney Flute Society and successfully achieved an Arts Council Grant to provide Pellerites fare from America. Attending his lectures proved to be momentous. Jim was more able to explain about flute playing than anyone else before or since. He had a concept in his mind, would draw a diagram on the board, and then explain it and brilliantly demonstrate it. When he arrived in Sydney, Professor Pellerite immediately sought a teacher of the Alexander technique. Already a long exponent of yoga, Linda also investigated this new method of posture and breathing created particularly to meet the needs of musicians and performers. The focus of lengthening the spine and creating maximum breathing control proved another important influence on her flute teaching personal presentation and confidence. It enabled me to finish my career. Professor Pellerites stay culminated in the First Australian Flute Seminar in 1973, with Professor Pellerite as Musical Director and Linda as Executive Director – the first flute seminar or convention held anywhere in Australia. \lquote From that time on, the standard of flute playing in Australia went up noticeably all around the country. It was the beginning of more communication, more sharing of knowledge – the whole thing opened up like a flower. Linda has since been involved in the Flute Convention movement in many capacities since its inauguration. Triggered by the inexcessibility of sheet music in N.S.W., in 1976 Linda founded Zephyr Music Pty Ltd, importers and suppliers of classical and educational sheet music, which has proved to be a successful family business6. In 1984 under her guidance the Flute Society of N.S.W. launched its journal The Flute. She has since presented seminars and workshops for flute societies throughout Australia. In the Australia Day Honours list issued on January 26th 1989, Linda Vogt was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia for her services to music. The A.M. was the biggest surprise of my life – a great thrill, Im very grateful. More recently it can be said that two of Lindas consuming passions are the recording and promoting of Australian flute history and researching data and writing articles about our flute heritage, some of which have been published in the national magazine, Flute Australasia. The practical implications of these interests have meant that Linda has over the years acquired at least three important and valuable flute collections, which she has presented to the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, for preservation, display and occasional performance at the museum . She has her own personal Aladdins cave of memorabilia, which forms the basis of another large undertaking: Its not going to be a history of Flute Playing. (Something) more comfortable than that. It is going to be like a letter not an academic thesis. (It will) express my era – my view of the past.


Footnotes

  1. Leslie Barklamb played second flute in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra until a hand dysfunction forced his departure in the mid 1950s. In 1966 he was appointed Senior Lecturer of Music at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium.

  2. At that time there were only double woodwinds in each section. Linda was the first female wind player in the Sydney Studio Orchestra, and the second female wind player in any A.B.C. Orchestra. Constance Pether was appointed Principal flute in the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in 1936.

  3. Bert Anderson and Alfred Hole, who played a simple system piccolo, were two musicians who originated from the Military Band system in England. They joined the A.B.C. Military Band and later Anderson transferred to the A.B.C. Studio Orchestra.

  4. Other members of the quartet included Mark Bowden, drums, Don Andrews, guitar and a bass player.

  5. Australian Co-Principal with the B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra, toured for the A.B.C. in 1969.

  6. Linda valued a remark made to her by Richard Chugg – You can learn something from every flute player you meet, even if its the wrong way.

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