What inspired you to play the flute?
As a little schoolboy I played treble recorder like everybody. By looking for a real instrument my parents proposed a “real flute” a Böhm-flute.
Who were your musical inspirations?
I listened to my mother who was a singer. Later on I found my ideal in many great musicians, for example the violoncellist Pao Casals or the pianist Edwin Fischer. My idol as flutist was a man I have never met or heard. He was not even alive anymore. He existed only in my imagination : Philippe Gaubert.
What Flute do you play?
During my career I played many different instruments (Italian, French, German, American, Japanese). However, by listening my recordings I wouldnâ€™t be able to tell you which instrument I have used…! Nowadays, I am playing a gold Yamaha flute.
How do you keep yourself interested in practicing and playing these days?
First by searching to find the right expression for the music I am going to play. Second by trying to acquire the necessary instrumental means. This never ends … What was the inspiration for your pedagogical books (Check- up, Interpretation, The Singing Flute and Study with Style)? My experience as a teacher.
How has the flute world changed since you were a student?
Let me just name three facts: 1. At the time you mentioned (end of the forties of the last century) there was, I think, only one great city in the world where you could find an excellent flutist in every orchestra â€” Paris! Nowadays you will find good flutists around the whole world. There playing is generally on a high instrumental level, although perhaps less personally varied. 2. When I won the prize of the Munich ARD competition in 1953 there were about 30 applicants, and some four or five of them were really good players. In 2015 at about 270 applied for the competition. I had to judge 60 who were admitted to play and all of them were very good. 3. I studied in the conservatoriesof Zurich and Paris. In both of these places there was just one female flutist. What a difference nowadays…!
Do you prepare students for orchestral auditions and what is your philosophy for this kind of preparation?
I have never prepared my students especially for auditions, that means I never handled this theme. Times have changed. Before I joined the Winterthur symphony orchestra as solo flute in 1950 I had only played just half a dozen orchestral parts – the ones in Taffanels’ method…!
What advice would you give to young flute players graduating from music conservatoires now?
Be flexible, be ready for everything; play piccolo, play traverso, enjoy teaching! If you have the chance to earn your living by making music don’t forget it is a privilege!
Peter-Lukas Graf Discography: Flute Solo
Telos Music TLS 026
Ex Libris CD 6039
The 5 authentic sonatas (Aglaia Graf)
(Schubert, Widor, Martinu, Poulenc)
(Reinecke, Milhaud, Hindemith, Martin, Prokofiev)
(Chaminade HÃ¼e, Enesco, Gaubert a.o.)
(Bach, Schubert, Mozart)
(Bach, Chopin, Ibert, Mozart, Ravel, Villa-Lobos a.o.)
(Rossini, Donizetti, Spohr, Paganini, FaurÃ©, Lauber)
Debussy (Sonate No 2)
Ravel (Introduction et Allegro)
J.S.Bach, Kuhlau, Doppler)
Beethoven: Triosonata G-Major fl/fg/p -woO 37,
Serenade D-Major fl/v/vla op 25
Krommer: 3 fl-quartets op. 17/92/93; Prix Choc Paris
Mozart: 4 quartets/Carmina
Ex Libris CD-6087
No 1 G-Major/No 2 A-Major
No 4 B-Major/No 6 D-Major
Flute and Orchestra
J.S. Bach: Musical Offering
Martin, Ravel and Roussel (K. Graf, soprano)
Bach, Haendel, Quantz, Couperin, Vivaldi and Lotti
Q&A with Claire Wickes - First Flute of the English National OperaRead our interview with Claire Wickes: At The Coliseum (where the ENO performs) we’re very lucky with the acoustic — you can play freely without having to modify anything, the woodwinds project...
Q&A 2 with Walter Auer - First Flute of the Vienna PhilharmonicWalter Auer began his professional career as Principal Flutist with the Dresden Philharmonic and the NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Hanover before he was appointed to his current position as...
Julien Beaudiment talks to us in this online Q&A session about his orchestral life, solo career and performances, shares his view on how to play Bach and how to structure practice when there are no concerts happening. Watch exclusively videos only on Principal Chairs.
Aldo Baerten – First flute of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra talks to us about his orchestral career, flute tips and tricks, solo career and how to deal with your practice in these times of uncertainty. Watch his exclusive video masterclasses on Principal Chairs.
Peter Verhoyen joins Principal Chairs to talk about his orchestral career as a piccolo player. We also talk about his beloved instruments and his teaching at the conservatoire and the summer school which he hosts nearly every year with in Bruges.
We talk to Walter Auer, first flute of the Vienna Philharmonic about his career as a soloist and an orchestral player in one of the top orchestras in the world. View his masterclasses recorded at the Royal Academy of Music in London on the Principal Chairs website.
Michael Cox, in partnership with Principal Chairs, presents his Masterclass Series. They were held online during lockdown in the UK in summer 2020. Participants were invited to send in video performances for Michael to watch in a Live answering session.