Since 1997, Norman Thibodeau has been giving programs titled "Voices of the Flute," involving extended techniques such as double stops, circular breathing, acoustic modifications to the flute, and electronic effects such as digital delay. The programs also include improvisation and original works. He has a special interest in the possibilities of the Kingma System flute, and the Hogenhuis quarter-tone Contrabass flute.
Mr. Thibodeau was the assistant principal flutist of the Orquesta Sinf-nica del Estado de Mexico and a member of the Albany-based St. Cecilia Orchestra . He recorded solo flute music of Anthony Holland for Albany Records. He is a member of the chamber group "Musicians of Ma'alwyck" and has performed with the Maverick Chamber Players, including the premiere of a chamber orchestra version of David Del Tredici's "Final Alice."
His composition "Introduction and Variations on Hatikvah," for flute and piano, has been recorded for Albany Records by flutist Jan Vinci on her CD Global Flutescape. A flute choir arrangement of Stephen Foster's "Slumber My Darling," published and recorded by ALRY Publications, was performed at the National Flute Association convention in San Diego by a choir of over 170 flutists.
Mr. Thibodeau was trained at Peabody Conservatory and the University at Albany and has studied contemporary techniques with flutist Robert Dick. He has been trained in the Feldenkrais Method, and is an Authorized Teacher of Awareness Through Movement®.
The flute has such an amazing range of sound beyond its familiar classical identity. This class explores the wealth of flute sounds and the music that can be made with them.
Extended Techniques are not confined to a certain repertoire or musical style. They're not necessarily new and recent, but in many cases, have been part of ethnic flute traditions for centuries. The techniques aren't just accessible to highly-advanced flutists, they can be both musically and technically developmental, and, though often challenging, can provide some of the greatest adventure and enjoyment to be found with the flute.
The course is open to flutists at any level of experience. If you have no previous experience with Extended Techniques, you can start here. If you already know some techniques, you can refine them and add more. If you are well-versed in a variety of techniques, this can be an opportunity to make music with like-minded flutists. My experiences teaching Extended Techniques and improvisation to even very young students (such as at Suzuki workshops) have convinced me that the most important element is to just take the plunge and enjoy the possibilities.
The course will cover all the major Extended Techniques, including varieties of the simple key click, progressing through easier multiphonics, singing and playing, acoustical modifications to the flute, diffuse tone, whistle tones, tongue stops, tongue pizzicato, glissandi and microtones, multiphonic tremolos and multiple trills, and circular breathing. The potential of the Kingma System flute will be discussed and demonstrated, as will the potential for combining various techniques simultaneously to produce rich textures from a single flute.
Any Extended Techniques solo you would like to play (or that you are you might be composing!) is welcome in class. By all means, bring your big and little flutes, even your pre-Boehm and ethnic flutes.
All these techniques lend themselves to improvisation, and can be a great springboard for group improvisation, so the course will include constructive "how-to's" for putting this into action. All are encouraged to give it a try, as it can be one of the most rewarding and illuminating of musical experiences.