Interview with Alice K. Dade, Assistant Professor of Flute, University of Missouri School of Music
Where are you?
I am in Colorado Springs, Colorado where my husband conducts at Colorado College Summer Music Festival. We haven’t seen each other for a couple weeks as I was performing at the PRIZM International Chamber Music Festival in Memphis, Tennessee and with the Concordia Chamber Players as part of the Princeton Music Festival.
What’s on your schedule right now?
After I have a fabulous and inspiring time at Flutes by the Sea, I will drive to San Luis Obispo and perform at Festival Mozaic. This summer I’m performing Brandenburg Concerto no. 5 (with my husband playing violin solo!), Bach B minor Mass, as well as some chamber music. After that, I perform at the National Flute Association Convention in Washington D.C. on a concert of all women composers on Thursday, August 13, at 1:30 (shameless plug). In early September I am presenting masterclasses and recitals at the beautiful Alhambra Theatre in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, The University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky University, and The University of Memphis with a program of pieces written in the past 30 years by composers Michael Tilson Thomas, Jennifer Margaret Barker, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Lowell Liebermann. In other words, my schedule consists of a lot of practicing! Such good music, though.
If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?
I think I would do something in comedy? Improv and standup. I could also see myself living in Europe and teaching at a culinary school. The good thing about this is I try to include these things in my life as well as music. I would be terrible at a 9-5 job-I need variety in my schedule. Playing in a two hour rehearsal and coming home to make gyoza and back to practicing or teaching is a perfect day for me. But, I don’t want the next day to be the same!
What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
This is a tough one because I feel like numerous people, things, pieces, and works of art have influenced me through the years. I do have early memories of watching movies on laserdisc with my family. John Williams’ music made Christopher Reeves Superman and Harrison Ford an exciting archaeologist. Henry Mancini gave Audrey Hepburn the perfect mysterious and quirky angle. A character’s leitmotif provides the audience with information that is impossible to put into words. I think that’s amazing.
What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
The hardest thing about being a musician is that there is always something to work on or improve. The best is that there is always something to work on or improve—over the years I’ve become more and more comfortable with the beginning stages of my artistic process. I solidify an idea or direction and I know it will take some time. I used to cringe in the beginning, hating what I sounded like and not wanting to hear all of the imperfections! Now I’ve grown more patient and interested in how I get to the next phase or plateau of the process. The direction or idea I eventually reach will never be the final answer—it will change each time I play the piece.
What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
It’s imperative for concerts to be more accessible for new ticket holders and on the fence audience members. In no way do I mean to dummy down programming, but we have to consider performing more outreach concerts, educational concerts, speaking before pieces in a language that does not include music theory vocabulary, and creating a more casual and comfortable atmosphere. We need to think more and experiment more because, like anything, the world is changing. The classical music world cannot remain the same.
True or false: “Music is my first love”.
Before I discovered music, I think I was sort of floating along. Nothing really excited me except maybe reading or movies. When I started playing the flute at age ten I was hooked. I realized this was something special. I think music was my first addiction.
You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
My answer to this question would probably change depending on when I was asked! Right now, on the first concert of the season I would program a piece I recently heard as part of the PRIZM International Chamber Music Festival by Eichberg titled Only the Wind for Overtone Singer and String Quartet. It was beautiful and inspiring (written for overtone singer extraordinaire, Gareth Lubbe). Going along with the theme of the voice and singing in an extraordinary way, I would also program Crumb’s Vox Balaenae. The second half (in my perfect world) would be filled with arrangements of Burman’s Bollywood performed by string quartet and singer (perhaps Kronos and Asha Bohsle are available?). The season would mostly be new music with some sort of twist similar to this first concert with overtone singer. I would love to include concerts with elements of acting, movement, and comedy as well.