Full Reviews

PERFORMING TRAIL OF TEARS, ADRIAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (MI)
NOVEMBER 2, 2014
By Arlene Bachanov
Daily Telegram Special Writer
If you’re John Thomas Dodson and you’re programming what will be your last few classical concerts with the Adrian Symphony Orchestra, well, you might as well start things off with a bang.
Yes, I know, the ASO actually got its season under way back in September. But that was a pops concert, and it had a guest conductor, so Sunday’s classical-music concert was the first one with Dodson on the podium in what will be his farewell season with this orchestra.
And wow, what a concert it was.
The afternoon featured guest flutist Amy Porter in a performance of a remarkable modern concerto by American composer Michael Daugherty called “Trail of Tears.”
Daugherty wrote the piece with Porter, a fellow member of the University of Michigan music faculty, in mind. In fact, a lot of collaboration took place between the two in the writing process, and the result is a clearly heartfelt connection between music and musician.There’s a difference between playing the notes of a piece, and having the music come from somewhere deep within, and Porter most definitely does the latter in this work.“Trail of Tears” is a work dealing with the forced relocation of the Cherokee in the late 1830s that came to be called by that name, and you hear clearly in the music the disruption and pain that event caused thousands upon thousands of Native Americans.The music captures all in one work the vistas of the 19th-century prairie, the turbulence of being uprooted from one’s ancestral home and forced to march hundreds of miles to an unknown land and an uncertain future, the aching sense of loss not only of one’s sense of place but also of the thousands of people who died along the way, and the resilience of the human spirit.It’s a very evocative piece, raw in its early emotions and triumphant in the end as it closes with Daugherty’s take on a specific Native American ritual, the “sun dance,” which suggests the hope for a better future despite the pain of the tragedy itself.Not only is it emotionally interesting, but it is musically so as well, with complex rhythms, a lot of percussion — including a rain stick, which you sure won’t see onstage in a symphony-orchestra concert very often — and sounds you’d never imagine could come out of a flute.And from beginning to end, Porter’s playing of this fascinating work was just spectacular, flowing perfectly from muscular to mournful as required. In the first place, she’s a performer with impeccable technique, and having that ability coupled with, as noted earlier, the way this particular piece seems to come from within her, led to a piece that was stunningly performed. At the same time, the orchestra under Dodson’s direction played the work beautifully in its own right.
In a master stroke of programming, Dodson chose to precede “Trail of Tears” with Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” With the emotional punch this piece packs, it’s tough to imagine any work better suited to set the mood for such a piece as Daugherty’s, and the ASO’s rendering of it was breathtaking. Also breathtaking, in a completely different way of course, was the work that made up the second half of the program, Schubert’s “Great” C Major Symphony, generally but not always numbered as No. 9.

It’s fair to say that even if you know this work, you’ve never heard it the way the Adrian Symphony performed it Sunday afternoon. For one thing, the edition used is relatively new. For another thing, Dodson’s interpretation of it was quite different in many ways, and it was obvious about two bars into it that this was going to be something pretty interesting.

Schubert’s symphonic masterwork went unpublished during his lifetime and was not well received when it was first performed because it’s so massive and so complex, besides being very different from anything that had preceded it. And even today, to be performed the way it should be takes some fairly heroic playing on the part of its musicians.But for a slightly sloppy horn introduction well into the second movement and a very few other missteps along the way, the ASO played this work brilliantly.To say that it’s a challenging piece is a real understatement. It requires, especially as Dodson conducted it (amazingly, from memory no less!), the orchestra to certainly be on its toes, and the musicians were all of that and more on Sunday. By any measure, it was a tour de force rendering of one of the truly great works in the repertoire. Couple such a spectacular performance with the equally terrific “Trail of Tears,” with something of the quality of the “Adagio for Strings” in there for good measure, and the result was a fine way for Dodson’s last performances at the helm of the Adrian Symphony to get underway.


IN RECITAL AT ZANKEL HALL, SKIDMORE COLLEGE
OCTOBER 11, 2014
Written by Geraldine Freedman
The Daily Gazette, Albany/ Schenectady NY
Flutist Amy Porter gave a superb recital Saturday night at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center and showed that she’s not only very versatile but that she can do everything well.
She chose a program that tested every aspect of her playing from a Baroque sensibility to using the instrument as a vehicle of sound effects, and she met each challenge with passion, skill and much musicality. The concert was also stream lived, which allowed her many students and two of the composers whose work she played to ìlisten in.
Porter, who teaches at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, played with a big colorful sound, a very fleet, smooth technique, fabulously light double tonguing, effortless breath control and a forthright style of musicianship that was open, direct and had its own kind of exciting brio.
Her pianist, Katie Leung, who was once a Porter flute student, provided exceptionally sympathetic support, matching nuances and excellent balances.
They began with Poulenc’s Sonata (1957), one of the most familiar works of the repertoire for its lyricism and line. The first movement was well nuanced with strong colors and a judicious use of vibrato. The slow second had a thrilling depth of expression with finished phrases and the finale was brilliant and playful.
Porter’s arrangement of Bach’s Prelude from his solo Cello Suite No. 5 in C minor was done with great passion. Flutists don’t have this type of piece in their libraries, so this arrangement is a welcome addition. Itís very challenging and dramatic, but satisfying to perform.
Christopher Caliendo has written several sonatas for Porter. “The Western Sonata” (2010) is vivacious, jaunty, jazzy and brilliantly conceived. Porter was at home with its shifting moods and technical and offbeat demands.
Skidmore flute professor Jan Vinci joined Porter and Leung for Ian Clarke’s “Maya”(2000). Working in close harmonies, they interwove and blended in a pretty piece that often sounded like a rippling stream.
Heinz Holliger’s “Sonate (In)solit(air)e” (1996) for solo flute is a tour-de-force for a flutist to make all kinds of sound effects over a three-octave range including multiphonics, whistles, blasts of sound, and key slaps. Despite the weirdness, the seven movements had continuity and a hip coolness that made the crowd smile. Porter played all this stuff so well.
Porter and Leung finished with Daniel Dorff’s “Sonata (Three Lakes)” (2014). The three movements had long flowing arched melodies in sunny colors, a light and spare piano part, and rippling technical passages. The duo played with great energy and finesse and got a standing ovation.
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 IN TRANSLATION: SELECTIONS FROM JS BACH’S CELLO SUITES

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Written by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim     September 17, 2014

In the title, the flutist Amy Porter likens the act of transcribing Bach’s Cello Suites to a translation. But her gleaming, lyrical reading of these profoundly personal works feels more like a distillation that concentrates and heightens their melodic structure. But a little is lost in the process, too, especially the rich depth of the cello’s low register, and the spatial dimension spun from the string crossings during those recurring, ruminating arpeggios.

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AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

BACH: Cello Suites

Amy Porter, fl

JULY/AUGUST 2014

There is much in Porter’s background that qualifies her to make this recording. She studied at Juilliard with Samuel Baron, longtime member of the Bach Aria Group. She tells us in the notes, “I began learning the Cello Suites at the suggestion of Boston flutist and cellist Tim Taranella, playing from the edition in treble clef given to me by Professor Paul Meisen. In 2005, Professor Meisen and I both served on the jury of the Kobe International Flute Competition, where he delivered a lecture in German, translated into Japanese, on the Bach Partita (for unaccompanied flute) and Cello Suites. His lecture compared the two works and offered a contrasting cello performance of Bach’s Partita in A minor. Mesmerized by Professor Meisen’s 2005 lecture, I began the journey of learning the Cello Suites in earnest.”

This 2-disc set is meant to complement an edition of the cello suites for flute published Carl Fischer. The printed edition includes all the movements, but Porter doesn’t record every movement, omitting the ones she considers least suited to the flute. Thus the subtitle of this collection is ‘Selections from JS Bach’s Cello Suites’, making the incompleteness clear on the cover. Suite 6 suffers the most: only two movements here. Beyond the obvious problem of how to render double stops and other polyphonic writing, any transcriber of these works for flute also must occasionally choose what octave to place the music in. Porter tells us, “Often, I avoid soaring into the highest octave of the flute for the sake of the sound of the music.”

It is probably important to note first that this recording uses a modern flute; in fact, the booklet tells us that it is a 14k gold Muramatsu instrument. Overall, this playing is very fine and refined. She uses a lot of slurs, more than some people might prefer to hear, which means it is the songlike and not necessarily the dancelike quality of the writing that comes across. In contrast to the respectful character of Porter’s approach, to her credit, she is willing to take considerable liberty with the tempo. She has a vibrant sound and excellent control over the breathing, the wide intervals she plays, and the intonation. Listen merely to the Prelude from Suite 3 to hear all three. She has been placed in a resonant space that adds ebullience to the sound without taking away any of the clarity.

I had high praise for Porter’s other recent recording, also on Equilibrium (May/June 2013: 193). I

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AMERICAN ART
Written by Allan Pulker
THE WHOLE NOTE, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
Published on 04 June 2014
This CD’s title, American Art, is a good fit for the hour or so of music it presents. The three long compositions on it, Eldin Burton’s Sonatina, Robert Beaser’s Variations, Christopher Caliendo’s Flute Sonata No.3 and the one short piece, Michael Daugherty’s Crystal, are all creations of highly accomplished composers, and have an unmistakably American sound. They could not have been written anywhere else. As a matter of interest, they are also all tonal; not in a way that is slavishly imitative of the great ones of the past, but in a way that brings to life a broad palette of human experience, singing, dancing, weeping and rejoicing its way into the souls of performers and listeners alike, in a uniquely contemporary way.
Above all, the performances are a flawless collaboration between flutist Amy Porter’s confident and authoritative artistry and Christopher Harding’s superb work on the piano. He caresses the keys, bringing fluidity and lyricism that you don’t always hear from pianists; and Porter, with her incomparable technique, incisive articulation and varied dynamics, is a match for everything the composers throw at her.
The duo’s sparkling teamwork as well as the virtuosity of both players is particularly evident in the short final movement of Caliendo’s Sonata, “Bronco Buster.” In the second movement of Beaser’s Variations Porter’s effortless and gradual movement from primordial stillness to breathtaking excitement and intensity is a good example of her artistry.

This recording opens a window on the possibilities of contemporary music and a side of life south of the border that you will never hear about on the news!


IN TRANSLATION: Selections from the Six Cello Suites of J.S. Bach
Bruce Hodges, The Juilliard Journal May 2014

The appeal and meticulous construction of Bach’s six Suites for Solo Cello are too seductive to remain the sole province of the cello. Through the years they have been transcribed for mandolin, electric bass, saxophone, and ukulele, among many other instruments. Now flutist Amy Porter (B.M. ’86, M.M. ’87) has created her own version, noting in her brief liner notes that flute teachers often use Bach transcriptions with students. She encourages students to use this recording—and her accompanying score, published by Carl Fischer—as a springboard to develop their own arrangements.

From the outset, Porter’s crystalline tone is appealing. (Her excellent technique aside, some of her lustrous sound is due to her 14-karat gold instrument, made by Muramatsu.) The Fourth Suite shows, as well as anything else here, how successful these transcriptions can be in the right hands. Porter’s adaptation seems completely natural, as if Bach had originally written it for flute. The opening Prelude has both freshness and innocence, and Porter takes the Allemande at a genial tempo to show off both Bach’s extraordinary control of line and implied harmony, as well as her own precision. After the winsome Courante and a stately Sarabande, she ends with the Gigue, which will surely convince any remaining skeptics that these masterpieces lose little in translation.

Porter omits the penultimate Bourée, as she does with some movements of each suite, explaining that they are “too challenging in instrument range and replicating double stops,” though her printed edition includes all the movements. (For listeners whose favorite is the final suite, be forewarned: Porter omits four of its six sections; only the Prelude and Courante are included on this recording.)

The translucent sound—with just the right resonance, it’s never tiring to the ear—is thanks to recording engineer Jason Corey, who recorded Porter in Hill Auditorium at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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IN TRANSLATION: Selections from the Six Cello Suites of J.S. Bach
and
AMERICAN ART with Christopher Harding, piano
www.infodad.com

The greatness of Bach’s Cello Suites is beyond doubt as well, these being both seminal and towering works for their instrument, for all the particular difficulty of performing No. 6, which was written for a five-string instrument, not a modern, four-string cello. These are emphatically cello suites, despite the oft-repeated claim that Bach’s music is so pure, so inherently “musical” (however one chooses to define that word in this context), that it can be played on any instrument. The fact is that these particular suites are very clearly designed to test the mettle of cellists (and cellos!) and are written with the specific sonorities and capabilities of the cello in mind. They have nevertheless often been transcribed, most notably for viola, and it is probably inevitable that Bach’s music in general will continue to be played on instruments other than the ones designated in the composer’s scores – especially since Bach himself often redid movements or entire pieces originally written for one instrument so they could be played on a different one. Still, Amy Porter’s flute transcriptions of 25 movements from the six cello suites verge on the quixotic, most notably in the two she arranges from Suite No. 6, thePrelude and Courante. The problem is not Porter’s playing, which is absolutely first-rate, and not her transcription ability, which is substantial (although this release is rather oddly titled “In Translation”). The problem is simply that this music does not lie at all well on the flute, whose constricted, high range is about as far from the very substantial, low range of the cello as it is possible to be. Porter is quite obviously aware of this, and it explains why she chooses only some movements of the suites to transcribe, not all of them: many are simply beyond the compass of the flute and would require rewriting rather than transcription – an endeavor that would scarcely repay the effort even if it were not to seem almost sacrilegious. In any case, what Porter gives us here is a fascinating tour of portions of these six-movement suites: five movements apiece from Nos. 1, 3 and 4, four movements apiece from Nos. 2 and 5, and the two movements from No. 6. Porter uses these arrangements as teaching exercises in her master classes, but these suites were never intended as études, and the flute transcriptions do not come across that way: they are musically solid even though their sound, two octaves above that of the cello, can be somewhat wearing if listened to for too long – it is usually single suite movements, not sequences of them, that are played on various instruments not intended by Bach, as the Bourrée of the third suite occasionally is on bassoon, trombone or even tuba. Listeners intrigued by an unusual handling of some Baroque masterpieces will enjoy this two-CD Equilibrium set, which – notwithstanding the excellence of the performance – gets a (+++) rating in light of its niche nature and its ultimately limited appeal.

Porter shows her skill and virtuosity as well in another (+++) CD on the same Equilibrium label – this one, called American Art, containing no masterpieces but providing interested listeners with a chance to hear some virtually unknown flute music by some contemporary American composers. The most interesting work here is by Michael Daugherty (born 1954): Crystal, a 2006 arrangement taken from the second movement of the composer’s 2004 Concerto for Orchestra and set by Daugherty for flute (here played by Yi-Chun Chen), alto flute (Porter), metal windchimes and piano. Both acoustically and musically, this piece shows Daugherty’s considerable skill in structuring his music and in making it aurally unusual and appealing. Unfortunately, Crystal is the shortest work on this CD, and the others are not at this level. Eldin Burton (1913-1981) contributes a Sonatina for Flute and Piano (1948) that is pleasant enough, classically proportioned, but not especially distinguished. The Variations for Flute and Piano (1982) by Robert Beaser (born 1954) are considerably more substantial, superimposing a three-movement form on a set of 15 variations, but at more than 27 minutes, they go on rather too long and do not have any particular thematic distinction. More interesting is Flute Sonata No. 3, “The N.C. Wyeth Sonata” (2006), by Christopher Caliendo (born 1960). It was written for Porter, who gave its première, and it certainly requires considerable virtuosity and breath control. But it is one of those self-consciously programmatic modern works whose movement titles try to give the audience information that the music itself does not effectively convey: “Youth, Trains, and Tin Pan Alley,” “A Dead Son, Reflection, Memory,” and “Bronco Buster.” Porter plays the work sensitively and with clear emotional involvement, and pianist Christopher Harding ably supports her here and throughout the CD. It goes without saying that works like those on American Art pale by comparison with the music of Bach, Beethoven or Brahms, but listeners will not come to this disc with the same expectations they will bring to the other recordings. Those interested in hearing fine flute playing of some moderately interesting, well-constructed but scarcely groundbreaking contemporary music would seem to be the target audience for this disc – and the people who will find it most satisfying.

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30 Caprices by Karg-Elert: DVD Study Guide with Amy Porter
October 2013 Spanish Flute Society
We flatter and admire composers for their work, their careers, and their contributions, but…who is “hiding” behind the music on the stand? Who gives life to the music, that prisoner between the five lines that mark nothing but points in space? …Strength, beauty, a captivating and seductive force, sensitivity, perfection and a sense of humor characterize the impressive American flautist Amy Porter in this DVD recording of Karg-Elert’s 30 Caprices for flute.Amy Porter, winner of several of the world’s most prestigious competitions – Kobe in Japan, Paris/Ville d’Avray in France -is currently among the most requested and popular flautists, offering recitals and masterclasses worldwide.
It is a DVD that no flautist will be able to indifferently pass by. Amy Porter, with impeccable technique, simply “strolls” through a work that presents great difficulties for the flute in terms of sound, technique, and expression. What’s more, in the purest American style, the DVD includes a section of “outtakes” where Amy displays a great sense of humor and charisma that make this fantastic visual document even more attractive and inviting.
The performer herself presents each caprice to us in a simple, fresh, and approachable style, first offering a few technical guidelines for its study in terms of breathing, phrasing and other considerations, then passing directly on to her interpretation. It is therefore very valuable material from the pedagogical point of view as it introduces us to a compositional style as peculiar and complex as Karg-Elert’s, who devised these studies for flute out of the need to unite the existing musical literature with the harmonic and melodic complexity of the orchestral works of modern composers like Mahler, Bruckner, Shoenberg or Richard Strauss, among others.They say that one day Paul Taffanel performed Study No. 3 of Joachim Andersen’s 24 Studies in front of his students and the composer himself, who was visiting the eminent flautist’s class that day. When the performance ended, Andersen, applauding and completely moved, said, “I didn’t know I had composed such music.” Well, something similar would have happened to Karg-Elert if he had seen this DVD, although I have a feeling that from the other world he has been inspiring and taking pride in the soul of his true muse, Amy Porter.
In short, a great work very recommendable for flautists who want to feel, in a very direct form, the elegance, the interpretative force and precision of one of the strongest flaustists in the current musical world.
Only one objection to this marvelous DVD: it is said that taste is subjective (although that’s debatable), but I would have changed the white flowers that decorate the pages of each caprice to red roses which in my opinion match much better with Amy’s character, or don’t they…
Whether with petunias, orchids, gardenias, or roses, AMY PORTER needs no decoration to fill the space with beauty; indeed, she is already a flower.
 


Thirty-two Rose Etudes for Flute by Cyrille Rose
(based on the etudes of Franz Wilhelm Ferling) ed. Amy Porter © 2011 Carl Fischer
“The musical route that produced this interesting edition is a circuitous one. These etudes, composed for oboe by 19th-century composer Wilhelm Ferling, inspired clarinetist Cyrille Rose to arrange them for his instrument with only minimal alterations. Preeminent flutist Amy Porter hybridized this product one step further by arranging these etudes for flute. As Porter mentions in the preface to the edition, Cyrille Rose and flutist Henri Altes were faculty colleagues at the Paris Conservatoire in the mid-1800s, and both wrote seminal studies for their instruments to explore the capabilities of the then-new Böhm system. Clearly, whereas flutists have their Altes and Taffanel-Gaubert studies, clarinetists have their Rose. Having spoken with clarinetists and compared versions of the Rose urtext with Porter’s rendition, I believe that she has produced an entirely viable product that will enable all of us who are students of the flute to improve our skills. Additionally, she has enhanced some of Rose’s diacritical markings. It is important to read Porter’s provided comments on each etude—not only because of their relevancy, but because she clarifies measure count in instances in which the piano accompaniment begins before the printed flute part. One suggestion: Perhaps in a future product, Porter would consider recording several model examples on the CD by collaborating with the keyboard player on several selections.”Erich Graf, NFA Flutist Quarterly, Spring 2012, Volume XXXVII No. 3

Trail of Tears with Tupelo Symphony

Whether played around the dancing flames of ancestral campfires or in a modern concert hall, no musical instrument so links the long ages of human history like the flute. And as played by the charismatic soloist Amy Porter (with whom Daugherty collaborated in writing “Trail of Tears”), no instrument could conceivably sound more lively or richly expressive.Like a seer foretelling an ominous whirlwind, Porter launched the concerto’s first movement (“where the wind blows free”) with a breathy, haunting solo full of eloquently bent pitches and Jethro Tull-like flutters. Soon the orchestra joined her in multihued tones of wistful farewell, culminated by a wrenching “Trail of Tears” march, commemorating the 4,000 Cherokee (plus unknown thousands of other tribal migrants) who died while trekking to Oklahoma.From this turbulent mood of oppressive sorrow, Porter and the TSO then soared to the transcendent realm of eagles and ancestral spirits in the second movement (“incantation”), before plunging into the wildly rhythmic finale (“sun dance”) with its pulsing tom toms and dynamically hopeful theme of reconnection to ancient traditions.

Both a dazzling artistic triumph for Porter and the TSO as well as a powerful tale from our American past, anyone who heard this electrifying performance of “Trail of Tears” is unlikely to forget it for a long, long time.

Read more: djournal.com – 1/30/11 ROBERT BRUCE SMITH Tupelo Symphony plays American music of wonder and tragedy

Trail of Tears with American Composers Orchestra
“Amy Porter played with graceful poise.”Allan Kozinn, NY Times
March 25, 2012
Michael Daugherty wrote a kind of retro work, a concerto for flute based upon a subject going back to Dvorák and MacDowell, the innocent American Indians, losing frontiers and sadly going on a long march. The story was told in literal fashion, ending with a frenetic Rain Dance.One couldn’t, however, ignore Amy Porter’s extraordinary flute solos. Yes, Mr. Daugherty had written in a few trick sounds. But the main thing was her ease at her momentum for his ceaseless technical demands.Harry Rolnick, ConcertoNet.com
March 23, 2012
Trail of Tears with Ann Arbor Symphony

There is no text in Daugherty’s “Trail of Tears” flute concerto, a co-commission by the A2SO that received its Michigan premiere Sunday, with the composer present. But there might well have been text. Partly, that is because the work is Daugherty’s musical evocation of the pain and dislocation of the five-month forced march that took 4,000 Cherokee lives in 1838-39 as they were relocated to Oklahoma under Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act. But mostly, it is because soloist Amy Porter deeply imbues her performance with a sense of narrative and of speech and, yes, drama.Daugherty, a member of the U-M faculty, made the work for his colleague Porter, and she wears it like a glove — or perhaps it wears her. The haunting melody with which she opens the piece, and which dominates the first movement, turns from blue sky to black clouds in an instant with the entrance of the orchestra. The sudden transition is overwhelming: peace turned instantly to turbulence. Bent notes and trills convey a sense of Native American music and the natural world. We hear birds, we hear hoofbeats; ankle bells jingle and rattle sticks rustle; drums and flute talk back and forth.A middle movement radiates a quiet, determined acceptance that ascends to wild outcries over an orchestral drone. Thrillingly, the flute melody of the first movement returns in the last — transformed into pure breath with pitch, a sort of hoarse, urgent cry for what once was.

Susan Nesbitt, Ann Arbor News September 27, 2010

“Amy Porter deeply imbues her performance with a sense of narrative and of speech and, yes, drama.”
annarbor.com

ALSO FEATURED ON UNIVERSITY RECORD ONLINE
Front Page for the week of October 4, 2010
http://ur.umich.edu/1011/Oct04_10?show=2


Performing Trail of Tears with the Delaware Symphony
January 21-22, 2011

Music director David Amado continued the concert with a more substantial second premiere, Michael Daugherty’s “Trail of Tears” for flute and orchestra.The DSO had co-commissioned the three-movement concerto jointly with the American Composers Orchestra, the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and the Omaha Symphony, which premiered it last year. Wilmington native Amy Porter, for whom the work had been written and who introduced it in Omaha, was the soloist.As its title indicates, Daugherty’s score commemorates the forced migration of the Cherokees from Tennessee to Oklahoma. The music, which generally subordinated the orchestra to the soloist, whose song represented the Cherokees, included many piercing reminders of hardship and heartbreak, from a persistent flattening in the middle of a motivic lyrical phrase to the flutist’s savagely breathy attacks on the instrument.

The alternation between rhapsodic solo recitatives and shorter, more pungent answering tuttis suggested an unresolved dialogue.

The music’s somber subject did not prevent frequent wild eruptions in the first section, “Where the Wind Blows Free,” and the closing “Sun Dance,” whose opening bars, leaping furiously from one meter to the next, recalled both the barbaric Stravinsky of “The Rite of Spring” and the prankster of the “Circus Polka.”

Having tamped down her exuberance for the central “Incantation,” Porter rode confidently above the orchestra in the formidable final movement. The composer joined her onstage to share the standing ovation that greeted the performance.

Thomas Leitch for the News Journal January 22, 2011

Trail of Tears World Premiere with Omaha Symphony
March 26, 2010
“The concerto could not have had a more auspicious debut. Porter, a charismatic performer, was focused, flexible and intensely in the moment. She tossed off fiendishly difficult passages as if they were child’s play and performed lyrical passages with heart-rending emotion. Music director Thomas Wilkins and the Omaha Symphony provided supple and sensitive support. For their efforts, Daugherty, Porter, Wilkins and the orchestra received an extended ovation.”John Pitcher, Omaha World-Herald, March 27, 2010

Bolcom Lyric Concerto Recording

“This crowd-pleaser will be sure to find friends among flutists and their audiences.”American Record Guide May, 2004″ Bassett Bolcom Daugherty includes the premiere recording of William Bolcom’s Lyric Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (1993). Lyric Concerto was premiered in 1993 by the St. Louis Symphony and James Galway, who had requested a Celtic concerto. Porter, who performed this piece with piano accompaniment at the 2003 NFA Convention is an exceptional flutist, plays with great virtuosity, and is ably accompanied here by an orchestra of college students, who sound professional in every way.”

Flute Talk Magazine January 2004


Six Songs for Flute and Piano by Godard
“Amy Porter has arranged the art songs in Six Songs for Flute and Piano in their original keys , and has also added variations ‘in keeping with the tradition of F. Borne and T. Boehm.’ The arrangements are a welcome addition to the lyrical, program music for flute and piano, and of medium difficulty, technically. Musically, they require a mature musician. Porter has done an excellent job with the new edition by Little Piper.”Ruth Ann Mclain, NFA Flutist Quarterly, WInter 2007
“What a happy opening to a CD! The Trio by Dring has so much power! Finally, a good overview of pieces for flute and oboe with a lot of variety. This CD is very good for amateurs and a clear choice for students. If there is interest in this repertoire this CD is an absolute must. The American musicians play excellently. Very in tune, very carefully phrased and therefore the music becomes even more transparent. Excellent changes in character and nice to listen to.”The Dutch Flute Society Magazine, Holland, June 2003
“ This 56 minute recording of chamber music for flute, oboe and piano is interesting because it includes a delightful and various selection of music. The recording is valuable as an example of excellent repertoire for this combination and the flute playing is exceptional throughout, as is the oboe performance.”Flute Talk Magazine May/June 2003

” Porter performs with fluidity impressive technique, a warm tone, and musicality that includes a wide range of colors and a thorough understanding of the emotional musical content. That the Karg-Elert Caprices are included here is unique. While they are on her DVD, she states that she wanted them available to listeners at an affordable price. Teachers will fins it beneficial to own a copy of this recording to play for students studying these pieces.”Flute Talk Magazine, November 2007

Karg-Elert 30 Caprices for Flute; A Study Guide with Amy Porter (DVD)
“Then she performs the etudes. Oh my teachers were right – it is music! One of the major benefits of this DVD is that I find it very motivating. Coming home late after a rehearsal I am far more likely to pop this DVD in, at least listen to my current etude a few times and play it once or twice before I go to bed. Each time I watch and listen, I seem to notice something stylistically concerning dynamics, breathing or phrasing. Best of all, I can honestly say I’ve noticed a difference in my playing as a result.”Kathleen Herb Baker, San Diego Flute Club Newsletter, Dec. 2006

“The 30 Caprices came to my attention back in the late 1960’s published as a part of The Modern Flutist. As a young musician, these studies were a bit of a mystery. Had I had access to this wonderful study guide at that time, I would have gotten a lot more out of them. Amy Porter does an excellent job of explaining and performing these caprices.Each caprice is presented in two parts. The first section is a discussion of the music and the second is a performance of it. Porter is very clear and organized in her explanations, both about the technical and musical aspects of each caprice. The music appears on the screen and the section under discussion is highlighted. Details within the highlighted area are further marked to make it very easy to follow. Suggestions are made for breathing, and any terms that might cause confusion are explained.The performances of the caprices are beautiful. The technique is very fluid and the tone is smooth throughout the entire range of the flute. This is especially evident in the many compound intervals that are extremely prevalent in these studies. An added bonus is being able to see Porter’s beautiful hand and finger position that many players would do well to emulate.

This DVD is a wonderful tool for anyone who studies or teaches these caprices. It would also a great addition to any serious flutists library.”

Keith Pettway, Flutist Quarterly Magazine, Winter 2007


Porter Ambrose King: Music for Flute and Oboe
“You’ll enjoy the Madeline Dring (1923-77) Trio which is lyrical and theatrical. Jean-Michel Damase’s (b. 1928) Trio has a rich jazz influence in the harmonic structure. The Bozza pieces are idiomatic and Porter and Ambrose King find a nice balance between the playful and serious aspects. They work quite well as a duo. Their warm sounds blend well and they are consistant in their musical ideas and expressions.”American Record Guide, September/October 2003
“Hearing these pieces performed all on one CD is a true pleasure. Listeners will find a wide assortment of styles, nationalistic influences and ensemble combinations. Both Porter and King do a superb job of blending, tuning and ensemble playing. Alberto Ginastera’s Duo for Flute and Oboe is extremely difficult to perform successfully. Both Porter’s and King’s playing seems natural and spontaneous with incredibly accurate articulations in fast technical passages. Overall the ensemble performance by Porter and King is a highlight of the CD.”The Double Reed Magazine (Winter 2003, Vol. 26, No. 4)

There is a certain fascination in composing (and performing) works for unaccompanied flute. A particular skill is needed in order to sustain interest through a single line. Some fine and interesting works have been produced by numerous twentieth- century composers, especially, of whom four are represented here.Hindemith’s Acht Stücke of 1927 are very varied and concentrated miniatures. Dohnanyi’s Passacgalia (1959) is based on a short, simple chromatic theme, busy variations, culminating in a truly virtuosic final page. The Sonata per Flauto Solo (1983) by Rósza consists of three well-contrasted movements, with a great clarity of line, far from the romantic themes (and lush textures) of the familiar film scores. Karg-Elert’s Sonata Appassionata Op. 140 (1917) is a single-movement work with many changes of mood, living up to its title. His 30 Caprices Op. 107 (1913-1915) provide the player with a thorough workout, covering a diversity of keys, rhythms, irregular time signatures and moods, with considerable technical demands. However, throughout all these difficult works there is an emphasis on technique at the service of music. This emphasis is mirrored in the performances on this disc. Amy Porter’s skill enables her to express passion, whimsy, simplicity and many other moods with apparent ease, giving a sense of total involvement. Particularly delectable is her staccato playing in various pieces, showing that staccato need not equate to marcato.Anybody studying any of these works would do well to listen to this recording. Anybody not studying them will enjoy hearing someone else do all the hard work; and this disc demonstrates impressively how enjoyable our single-instrument can be.

Christopher Steward
September 2007
Pan; The Flute Magazine of the British Flute Society


Passacaglia
Works for Solo Flute by Hindemith, Rósza, Dohnányi and Karg-Elert
This is outstanding. Amy Porter is the flute professor at the University of Michigan and is widely respected as both a performer and teacher. If you have not heard her playing, you should. She is a charismatic and highly skilled performer. When I saw her teach a masterclass a couple years ago, I found myself nodding enthusiastically with every point she was making. Her approach is equal parts pragmatic and artistic and she reminded every student to “stop being a flutist; be a musician”, a truly courageous thing to say as it acknowledges the fact that many flutists are poor musicians.
It is truly remarkable playing, especially when you consider that she finished the entire recording in just two days. Professor Porter is an expert in all things Karg-Elert, and she plays his music with perfect balance of finesse and power. I think all collegiate students should study the 30 Caprices, and having this performance as a reference should be mandatory. Her Hindemith is clean, colorful, and precise. I have never heard the Rosza Sonata, but after hearing this, I am looking forward to learning it. I usually start looking at my watch or out the window in the first minute of performances of the Dohnanyi, but this one grabbed me and did not let go. Recording engineer David Schall also deserves high praise for capturing solo flute without the usual reverb or fussiness. A must buy.By Christopher Chaffee, American Record Guide, July/August 2008, Vol. 71, No. 4

Performing Mozart D Major Concerto and Foss Renaissance Concerto with the Tupelo Symphony

“Amy Porter raised her golden flute and breathed living inspiration into this musical treasure during Saturday’s performance. A graduate of the Juilliard School in New York and former student at the Mozarteum Academy in Salzburg, Porter’s natural affinity for graceful Mozart phrasing, plus her lively stage presence and artistic bond with the TSO, won exclamations of delight from the audience when the last notes were sounded.Steven Byess, principal guest conductor, took the podium after intermission to conduct Porter (who happens to be his wife) and the TSO in the Lukas Foss “Renaissance” Concerto for Flute and Orchestra. Written in 1985-86, this tremendously inventive work consists of four movements based loosely on musical ideas from the musical periods of the Renaissance and Baroque. “It’s like a dream,” commented Byess, to explain the fantastic, otherworldly quality so skillfully recreated by soloist and orchestra.”Robert Bruce Smith, Tupelo Daily Journal 9/2003


On Amy Porter Performing Lukas Foss’ Renaissance Concerto with the New Hampshire Symphony

Girl with golden flute takes no prisoners”Simply put, it was one kick-ass performance. Sure, there are a lot of other ways to describe Amy Porter’s flute playing. If nothing else, it’s multi-dimensional. At last Friday night’s New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra concert, she was by turns extroverted and introspective. Completely committed to the music, she was passionate when the part allowed and neatly precise when the score required it.And it all added up to a stunner. In a performance of the strange and unusual “Renaissance Concerto,” a work written in 1982 by Boston-based composer Lukas Foss, she did nothing less than take us all on a hair-raising tour of all her instrument could do. Together, we plumbed the spooky depths of the low notes, rode rollicking cascades of scales and arpeggios, and heard close up why the shrill highest notes of a flute can overpower the sound of an entire orchestra.Even if you couldn’t warm to the sometimes-difficult sounding music (though on first hearing, I liked it), you had to admire the performance of the soloist that was taking place on the Palace Theatre stage. From start to finish, Porter put everything she had into making the 20 minute work come to life, mixing brilliance and daring to bring off a demanding score that required her to slide pitches, tap her flute like a drum, and walk off stage before it finished.

The “Renaissance Concerto” was the centerpiece of an unusual NHSO program featuring modern works based on elements of the past. In his score, Foss took baroque dance tunes, early opera music and other souvenirs from musical history and put them in a blender. The result was a modern-sounding work with a theatrical flair and a good dramatic line. While it might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, it’s certainly worth hearing again.”

Jeff Rapsis, Hippopress , Manchester, NH, April 2003


“It is just great. Your interpretations of all the music is deep and thoughtful. I am very happy to say I have this recording. Great flute playing.”
– Sir James Galway

Passacaglia Amy Porter – Solo Flute
The repertoire chosen for this CD, Passacaglia, on the Equilibrium label, represents some of the great unaccompanied repertoire for solo flute written during the twentieth century. Amy Porter’s choices include works by Hindemith, Karg-Elert, Dohnanyi and Rosza. Porter is a flute player of great renown, and has a number of successful CDs to her name. This release is one that will no doubt appeal to many ‘serious’ flute players.The repertoire is not in the category of ‘easy-listening, however Porter has approached each of the pieces with her convincing sense of style and musicianship and makes a great success of these difficult works – each of the works represents a series of challenges both diverse and extreme in approach and requires a great technical control in all areas of technique. Porter manages to make these difficult moments sound easy and relaxed.The seldom performed Sonata per Flauto Solo by Miklos Rosza is exciting and rhythmic in its delivery, with the Hungarian Folk and French impressionist influence of his music being well delivered by Porter. Perhaps better known for his film score writing, Rosza’s works include the score for Ben-Hur (1959) and Spellbound (1945). Dedicated to British flautist Christopher Palmer, and written in 1983, this piece certainly deserves its place in the flute players’ repertoire.Of particular note on this solo flute CD is the entire collection of Caprices by Sigfrid Karg-Elert, which sit alongside the Sonata Appassionata in f-sharp minor for Flute Solo, Op.140. These Caprices are all short works presented almost as a series of Etudes. They vary in the degree of difficulty and the challenges they provide, but like Karg- Elert’s solo Sonata, are all worthy exercises for any keen flute player.

Performing Mozart Flute Quartet In C Major At The Ann Arbor Museum Of Art, Chamber Music Ann Arbor
“There was not one nanosecond of settling-time in the opening Mozart Flute Quartet in C Major, K. 285b. From the first notes, it was clear that flutist Amy Porter, violinist Catherine Cho, violist Schotten and cellist Norman Fischer had captured the grace, energy and buoyancy of this delicious Rococo miniature. This is the second time I’ve heard Porter, new to the U-M faculty, and she’s been simply spectacular both times. Here she wowed with exquisite ornamentation and a sound as ravishing for its colors as for its dynamic range.”Susan Issac Nesbit, The Ann Arbor News, May, 2001

Performing Lukas Foss’ Renaissance Concerto With The Ann Arbor Symphony
“In her role as soloist, Amy Porter brought out a quality in the instrument often overshadowed by its facility for chirpy acrobatics. Hers is a sound of extraordinary richness and warmth, the perfect compliment to the the musing, singlike passages that pervade the concerto. Her encore, a whiazzing note-laden confection by Godard, was ample proof that she is likewise a formidable technician. Oh, and yes – it was impossible not to notice the audible murmur as she first appeared on the stage, resplendent in gold from her dress to her flute, like one of the Michigan Theater’s gilded carvings come to life.”Michael Rodman, Ann Arbor News, October 7, 2000

Erno Dohnanyi’s Passacaglia for Flute Solo, Op.48, No.2 was written in 1959 for flautist Eleanor Baker who performed the premier performance of this at Carnegie hall in 1969. Both this challenging work for Solo Flute and Paul Hindemith’s delightful and melodic Acht Stucke fur Flote allein are played with conviction and a clear sense of musical line and direction by Porter.This CD represents a huge undertaking on behalf of Amy Porter, as any CD of unaccompanied works is always challenging simply because of the clarity of sound and crystal clear exposure of the artist to the listener. Amy Porter has approached this CD with full knowledge of this, and her interpretations and technical mastery are beautifully controlled at all times.Mary O’Brien, Editor, Flute Focus Magazine, New Zealand: July 1, 2009


Heard On The Atlanta Chamber Player’s Twentieth Anniversary CD

PERFORMING ON THE TITLE TRACK, Conversations”…an innocent American lyricism, a quality exemplified by a lovely flute melody in the opening Prologue, played with great sweetness by Amy Porter of the Atlanta Chamber Players.”January/February 1997 American Record Guide


Heard On CRI Records, Anne Lebaron Sacred Theory Of The Earth

“…features Amy Porter on two works for flute. LeBaron’s works feature surreal combinations of Peruvian folk songs, waltz rhythms, medieval hymns, and Baroque masses juxtaposed as items in a painting by Dalí. The performances are clean and exciting, and the music is wonderful to listen to with as many different colors as styles.”Flute Talk Magazine, February 2001″…the other two pieces show great crossover promise, melding aspects of New Age, ambient/experiental and post-jazz improv. LeBaron’s harp and Amy Porter’s flute create a luminous, ethereal enviroment in Solar Music. Sachamama, in combining the exquisite drones of Harry Betroia’s famous metal sculptures with Peruvian folk songs and rainforest flute melodies, envelopes listeners in an uneasy, subtropical calm.”

Manny Theiner, Pittsburgh Weekly, January 17, 2001


Heard On The CBS Masterworks CD Bach On Wood
“Amy Porter’s precise, unhurried playing is the perfect counterweight. Her smooth, solid playing lends an ethereal air to the whole.”Sheila Mullan, The Anniston Star

Playing Jacques Ibert’s Concerto For Flute And Orchestra With The Houston Symphony

“She played with a consistently unforced tone that was firm but not overblown in the top notes and sweet and lovely in the rest of the instruments range. She has succeeded in avoiding all the overdone playing styles of the most famous flutists today… She also was an exuberant, easily extroverted performer whose enthusiasm for the music made the composition sparkle.”Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle”Porter’s playing had a strong melodic profile and rhythmic vitality, propelling the breezy, sometimes sultry themes of the concerto along on a bright, rich band of tone.”

Carl Cunningham, Houston Post


Playing Mozart’s Concerto No. 1 In G Major (K.313)
“Amy K. Porter gave a gracefully shaped performance of Mozart’s Flute Concerto No.1.”Allan Koznin, New York Times

In Recital At Weill Hall At Carnegie Hall
” … Miss Porter was a particularly strong performer, technically robust and musically forceful.”Bernard Holland, New York Times

In Recital At The Grand Opera House, Wilmington, DE
“The flutist matched her fine controlled playing to a commanding, sensual stage presence. Her eyes and gestures clearly betray an emotional commitment to the music she plays.”Tom Butler, News Journal

In Recital At The Center For Chamber Music, Greenwich, CT

” … Porter is a genuine artist who imprints her vision on everything she plays. Her vision is one of lyricism based on a profound understanding of her instrument and the things it can express. She makes the flute sing but with nuance and a range of expression that transports it to higher levels. She plays a gold flute which makes her tone darker, more focused and less breathy than most. Her control is exceptional, her sense of rhythm highly developed and her agility extraordinary. She uses them all to serve her artistic goals and that is what made the audience listen so intently to every note she played.”John Sweeney, Greenwich Times”…flutist Amy Porter proved how versatile her instrument can be when played by a virtuoso. The purity and brilliance of Porter’s sound combined with her amazing breath control and obvious musicality made listening a pleasure. Possessing imagination and daring, Porter is not afraid to take risks and venture into less familiar territory.”

Marion M. White, Greenwich Times