The Skyline Flutes is composed of (from left) Fran Moskovitz, Jerry Ervin, Sandy Schwoebel and Christine Harper.
The Skyline Flutes is composed of (from left) Fran Moskovitz, Jerry Ervin, Sandy Schwoebel and Christine Harper.

When the Skyline Flutes –Jerry Ervin, Christine Harper, Fran Moskovitz and Sandy Schwoebel – return to Academy Village Tuesday evening (July 22), it’s with repertoire by composers who wrote early and often.

Indeed, all the composers on the quartet’s program, set for 7:30 p.m. at the Arizona Senior Academy at Academy Village, had finished not just their compositional careers but, alas, their time on earth by age 40.  The Skyline Flutes, Ervin points out, can choose from a group of composers that includes lots of heavyweights: from Baroque-era Henry Purcell to Mozart, Mendelssohn and Schubert; Frenchman Georges Bizet; Americans Stephen Foster and George Gershwin; and Englishman John Lennon.

Ervin, who was a founding member of this polished, professional group in 2008, spun the idea for the program from the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s “40 Under 40” awards to top young community leaders.

“It led me to think about composers who made their mark before they were 40,” Ervin said. “It turns out there were a bunch of them.”

And though it was “a little macabre” to settle on composers whose lives were cut short, coming up with a top-notch roster was, unfortunately, quite easy.

Somewhat more difficult, save for the experience of Ervin and fellow quartet members, is finding repertoire for flute quartet by these composers.

None of the composers on Ervin’s list wrote for this combination of instruments – typically two C flutes, an alto flute and a bass flute – nor is there much original material for flute quartet, period. Ervin finds saxophone quartet arrangements work well. “That really broadens our repertoire,” he said.

“I tried to sell this concept to the National Flute Association a couple of years ago,” he adds, “but I think the title of my presentation was too academic. This time when I put it in, I’m going to call it “The Joy of Sax.”

Submitted by Susan Isaacs Nisbett, Academy Village Volunteer

Skyline Flutes to Feature Early-blooming Composers: July 2014
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