by Daniel Hathaway
“I always tell my students that performing on different instruments during the same recital is a bad idea,” Oberlin Baroque flute professor Michael Lynn said in a recent lunch interview. Casting aside his own advice, Lynn will host “A Passion for Innovation: A Lecture/Concert on Ten Rare Flutes, 1770-1900” on May 20 at 11:00 am in Kulas Recital Hall at the Oberlin Conservatory. With the assistance of several Oberlin colleagues, he’ll demonstrate just a few of the sixty flutes in his personal collection using period repertoire specially matched to the instruments.
The idea came to him when he acquired a crystal flute made by Claude Laurent in Paris in 1821. Among the most expensive flutes on the market at that time, these instruments were priced well out of the reach of mere musicians and were frequently given as gifts by the wealthy (among their owners were James Madison and Napoleon Bonaparte). Some 120 of these flutes still exist.