A Flute for the Tsar

Flautists of the Imperial Theatre, St. Petersburg



Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre 1790 by Johann Georg de Meyr


Although opera and ballet companies catering for an elite audience already existed in St. Petersburg from the early eighteenth century, Empress Catherine II issued an imperial edict that “Russian Theatre should be not merely for comedies and tragedies, but also for opera”. This decree of 12th June 1783 brought the building of the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre which opened its doors on 24th September of that same year with a performance of Paisiello’s opera, Il mondo della luna. Giovanni Paisiello (1740-1816) had been personally invited to St. Petersburg by Empress Catherine and he produced opera at the new theatre for the following eight years.


In carrying out Catherine’s wishes the wheels were set in motion for St. Petersburg to become a European centre for music and the arts in the nineteenth century. To achieve this, the best musicians and artists were imported. The Western European influence was such that most of the musicians, including flautists, holding key positions in the imperial orchestras, were foreigners. Not only that, but the opera repertoire at the Imperial Theatre reflected Catherine’s taste. Italian opera dominated the stage for the remainder of her reign. However, Russian works gradually began to appear on the St. Petersburg stage, including Fedul & Children, an opera by Vasily Pashkevich based on a text written by Catherine herself of course.


It would seem that European flautists were eager to be part of Catherine’s envisaged city of arts. Certainly in the nineteenth century, foreign flautists appointed to the Imperial Theatre Orchestra enjoyed a respected position, earned good money, were invited to the homes of aristocrats, gave flute lessons to the richest families in the city and taught classes at the Theatre School. St. Petersburg had much to offer.


In the years following Catherine’s decree of 1783, European flautists visited St. Petersburg on tour. Christian Carl Hartmann travelled from Paris to give a concert there on 5th October 1786 and Friedrich Ludwig Dulon (1769-1826) arrived via Konigsberg in 1793. Apparently he stayed long enough to take up an engagement offered by Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich at a salary of 1000 roubles.

However, it appears that one of the earliest settlers in nineteenth century St. Petersburg to be appointed first flute of the Imperial Opera Orchestra was Joseph Guillou(1787-1853). Born in Paris, he studied under Devienne and Wunderlich at the Conservatoire there, gaining his diploma in 1805. From 1816 he was court musician to King Louis XVIII and three years later became professor at the Paris Conservatoire (1819-1829) where Dorus was among his pupils. His busy life in Paris included the work of soloist with the Opera orchestra, composer and music critic. He also found time to play in chamber ensembles and it is thought that he formed a wind quintet with Gustave Vogt(1781-1870), oboe, Jacques-Jules Bouffil(1783- ?), clarinet, Louis-Francois Dauprat(1781-1868), horn, and Antoine Henry, bassoon.


By 1829, Guillou found that financial problems made it necessary to undertake a tour of Europe. In all likelihood this undertaking was to escape his debts as he never returned home. Instead, he settled permanently in St. Petersburg from 1831, remaining until his death. Once there, he set about regaining for himself a busy and successful life. With his appointment as first flute at the Imperial Theatre (1831-1853) came further opportunities to make a good living. He acted as critic in the press, taught classes at the Theatre School, gave private lessons, composed music for his instrument and became publisher of L’artist Russe, a magazine in which he wrote in French about Russian musicians.


Sharing the work as soloist in the Imperial Theatre Orchestra at this time was Heinrich Soussman (1796-1848). Although nine years younger than Guillou, he had by all accounts, something of a colourful past in that he had served in a German infantry regiment during the 1812/1814 campaigns against France. It would seem that both men preferred to let sleeping dogs lie. The politics of their respective homelands had no part in their musical life in St. Petersburg.


Heinrich Soussman


Soussman was a Berliner and something of a child prodigy. At the age of six he received lessons on the violin from his father and later took up an old system flute. He studied first with Gottlieb Kruger, first flute to the King of Wurtemburg, and then with August Schroeck, flute soloist of the Berlin Opera Orchestra. Sustaining a chest wound whilst serving in the band of an infantry regiment he was invalided home and earned a living playing the violin until he had recovered sufficiently to resume flute playing. In 1816 he was appointed to the Royal Chapel, Berlin and studied theory and harmony with Carl Friedrich Zelter. He travelled extensively as a soloist for the next few years and made a triumphant appearance in St. Petersburg in 1822, just one year after he had partnered his teacher, August Schroeck(1779-1854) in the Berlin premiere of Weber’s Freischutz. Almost at once he received an invitation to become a flautist of the court orchestra.


It wasn’t until 1836 however, that he took up his position in the orchestra of the Imperial Theatre. Guillou had already taken part in the Russian premiere of Rossini’s Semiramide the previous year but now musical tastes were changing in St. Petersburg and together, Guillou and Soussman, along with their old system flutes, were facing one of the most important of premieres in all of Russian music.


At the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre, on the evening of 29th November 1836, Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar was presented for the first time with a cast of Russian singers under the baton of Catterino Cavos (1775-1840). Twenty years before, Cavos had conducted the first performance of his own opera on the same libretto, in the same theatre. He was a prolific composer of operas, ballets and orchestral works in addition to being a respected conductor and teacher of singing. He built the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre into a stronghold of Russian opera and did much to foster the national character of Russian music. One can only imagine that he was keen to secure the services of the most renowned musicians for his orchestra. Obviously, Guillou and Soussman ably delivered such services. Indeed, Glinka is reported to have said that, “the flautist Soussman was undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best player in Europe”.


It would appear that Soussman had a very successful first season at the Imperial Theatre but the following year (1837) he took the time to visit Germany where he played at Breslau and Berlin. He received an enthusiastic welcome at Breslau and a notice of his concert in the Allgemeine Zeitung praised his powerful tone, tenderness of expression, facility of execution, double tonguing and faultless intonation. His concerts may well have included some compositions of his own as he wrote many in which the flute is required in a variety of instrumental combinations.


Returning to St. Petersburg, he continued to play alongside Guillou at the Imperial Theatre and wrote his Grosse Praktische Flötenschule Op.53 to use with pupils. With the death of Cavos in May 1840, Soussman and Guillou were left to present the first performance of Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila given under Albrecht two years later (27th November 1842). It must have been a highlight for both flautists and once again they were accompanying a cast of the best Russian singers, some of whom had taken part in the first performance of A Life for the Tsar, six years before. Most notable were Osip Petrov, Mariya Stepanova and Anna Petrovna-Vorobyeva.


The death of Soussman in 1848 left a vacancy in the flute section of the Imperial Theatre Orchestra which would have been difficult to fill. Nevertheless, Ernst Wilhelm Heinemeyer (1827-1869) was invited to St. Petersburg and took up the position. Born in Hanover, he had studied the flute with his father, Christian H. Heinemeyer (1796-1872) and from 1845 to 1847 he had worked in the court orchestra alongside his father. For the next twelve years he held a respected position in St. Petersburg playing in the Imperial Theatre Orchestra and teaching at the Theatre School. It is likely however, that he spent his first year in St. Petersburg playing in the court orchestra before taking Soussman’s place in 1848.


Heinemeyer must have been quite an outstanding player to hold positions such as these at the age of twenty. Unfortunately, his career was short. Pensioned out of the Imperial Theatre Orchestra in 1859, almost certainly through illness, he returned to Hanover and in 1866 moved to Vienna where he died on 12th February 1869, aged 42. In St. Petersburg, Heinemeyer had worked with two great players. He partnered Guillou for five years and then Ciardi for six years after the death of Guillou in 1853. He had played with some of the best flautists of his time and some of the best orchestras in Europe.


Cesare Ciardi


His successor, Cesare Ciardi(1818-1877), went to St. Petersburg with a reputation equal to any of his predecessors. Born in Prato, Tuscany in 1818 he showed an early gift for music which was fostered by his teachers Giuseppe Nuti and Luigi Carlesi, preparing him for his first public appearance in 1827 at Genoa’s Palazzo Reale. On that occasion he was presented to the royal family and audience by none other than Nicolo Paganini. This was the start of a concert career which took him to many of Europe’s prestigious venues and earned him the epithet of virtuoso. Critics, including Enrico Montazio, considered him one of the great soloists of the time and in a review of one of his performances in the 1840’s, the Rivista Musicale di Firenze noted that he was an “admirable player…who broaches the most obtruse difficulties with clarity…..and performed one variation at such speed and with such perfection as to give the audience the impression that three instruments were playing all at once.”


His concert tour of 1847 brought him to London where he was encored at the Opera House whilst Grisi, Mario and Tamburini were waiting to be heard. According to W. S. Broadwood, he also appeared “at the classically exclusive Philharmonic, whose members he shocked by playing a fantasia on an air from ‘Lucia’. His tone, colouring and facile execution, always faultless in their elegance, carried all before them.”


Whilst in London, Broadwood introduced Ciardi to Rudall and Rose. John Finn noted that “when brought before Rudall he produced a cracked old [system] boxwood instrument [by Koch of Vienna] upon which he commenced to play with such clear, beautiful tone, faultless elegance and taste that Rudall …..who had been listening like one hypnotized, declared….that he is fit to play before a chorus of angels!” There is no doubt that Ciardi had great technical and expressive ability. This was demonstrated through his numerous compositions for the flute which often formed the basis of his concert performances.


Arriving in St. Petersburg in 1853, Ciardi’s reputation had preceeded him and he took up prestigious appointments as court musician, professor at the Imperial Chapel, the Theatre School and the Conservatory where later Tchaikowsky was to become his pupil. He was often invited to give recitals at homes of aristocrats and give lessons to members of rich families. On occasion he was accompanied by Tchaikowsky who played the piano for him. However, he still made time for composing and other artistic pursuits. He is known to have been a good caricaturist and sculptor too. Lorenzo tells us that he sculpted a bust of Rubinstein which he presented to him on his birthday.


Ciardi was present when the current Maryiinsky Theatre opened its doors with a performance of Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar conducted by Konstantin Lyadov on October 2nd 1860. The following year he witnessed the abolition of serfdom in Russia and composed his Gran Concerto in D Op.129. His work at the theatre inspired other compositions too. In 1862 Pugni’s ballet, The Pharoah’s Daughter was given and he composed a piece based on a theme from the score. Indeed, the 1860’s were busy but interesting years for Ciardi. Compositions such as the well known Le Carnaval Russe,flowed steadily from his pen and he appeared under the direction of Wagner when the composer visited St. Petersburg in 1863 and Berlioz four years later performing Harold in Italy.


The new theatre with its impressive auditorium of gilt moulded decoration, white sculptures and blue velvet chairs must have inspired some skilled performances during the 1860’s but the last year of that decade marked a new chapter in its history with the promotion of Eduard Napravnik(1839-1916) as chief conductor of the Imperial Theatre Orchestra. Napravnik played a very important role in developing Russian opera. He dedicated over half a century to the Maryiinsky Theatre(1863-1916), training singers and maintaining a brilliant orchestra which performed concert programmes to a very high standard, in addition to operas and ballets.


Theodor Waterstraat


From 1857 onwards, Theodor Waterstraat(1835-1896) played alongside Ciardi. His arrival in St. Petersburg marked a significant point in the development of flute playing in Russia. Born in Germany on April 5th 1835, he seems to have been the first player to use a Boehm system instrument in the Imperial Theatre Orchestra. During his 39 years at the Maryiinsky Theatre(1857-1896), Waterstraat played in many premieres of the Russian operatic repertoire, including Boris Gudonov, Rubinstein’s The Demon with Osip Petrov as the prince and Prince Igor, whose all Russian cast included Ivan Melnikov, Olga Olgina, Mariya Slavina and Fyodor Strawinsky (Igor’s father). He also took part in the premiere of Tchaikowsky’s fifth symphony(1882) along with Ciardi and probably attended Paul Taffanel’s concert in 1887 when he visited St. Petersburg with Saint Saens, clarinettist Charles-Paul Turban and oboist, George Gillet to play Caprice on Danish & Russian Airs composed that same year by Saint Saens.


Between 1857 and 1896, Waterstraat held important teaching posts. He taught flute at the conservatory and took orchestral classes for the Royal Chapel Choir. Two of his pupils became the first Russian flautists to hold important positions in royal orchestras. Alexander Semenov (b.1862) was solo flute of the Imperial Court Orchestra and taught at the Choir School of the Royal Chapel, whilst Fedor Stepanov(1866-1914) became the first Russian professor of flute at the conservatory and played first flute in the Imperial Maryiinsky Theatre Orchestra. In launching the professional careers of these two players, Waterstraat effectively established Boehm system flutes in St. Petersburg, for both became respected teachers of their chosen instrument.


Carl Wehner


Adding grist to the mill, Carl Wehner(1838-1912), a pupil of Caspar Roeder and Theobald Boehm, arrived in St. Petersburg in 1867, spending 17 years of his long career in that city. He played a wooden, Boehm system flute with covered holes and open G sharp for the whole of his working life and according to Lorenzo, “his clearness of tone and interpretation were unique and unsurpassed.” Ciardi helped him to establish himself in the city and sent all his aristocratic applicants who desired instruction on the Boehm flute, to Wehner. Eventually one of his Russian pupils, Andreas Niehoff (b.1856) secured a position in the Imperial Theatre Orchestra during the 1880’s.


Wehner seems to have been able to hold his own among his older and masterful colleagues. Playing on his wooden Boehm flute he appeared not only in opera premieres given by Napravnik but also under the direction of a number of famous composers, including Tchaikowsky and Rubinstein. However, it seems that he had time for other things too. At some uncertain date he visited Siberia and Lorenzo claimed to have had a photograph of him taken at that time, wearing heavy fur coat and cap with a pistol on his belt, looking every inch the adventurer rather than flautist.


Having served in the Tsar’s opera theatre and contributed to the establishment of Boehm’s instruments in St. Petersburg, Wehner left for Hanover where in about 1885 he played at the Konig Theatre. From there he was recruited by Theodore Thomas for the New York Symphony Orchestra under Damrosch. He then played a season with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra before becoming principal in the New York Philharmonic where he spent the last fourteen years of his career.


In 1898 his Twelve Grand Technical Exercises were published and in his last years he devoted himself to teaching, although according to Lorenzo, in spite of financial difficulties, he would neither hear nor teach anyone with a metal flute. He died in New York City on 27th March 1912 after a remarkable career. His preferred wooden, Boehm & Mendler flute, made c.1878, is now in the D.C .Miller Collection (DCM 157).


However, St. Petersburg had not seen the last of old system Viennese flutes. In 1871 the twenty two year old Ernesto Köhler(1849-1907) was appointed to the flute section of the Imperial Theatre Orchestra and played alongside Wehner, Waterstraat and Ciardi using his old system Viennese style flute. It appears that Napravnik increased the size of his orchestra as there had never been four flutes before that time although they may have played for both opera and ballet sharing duties perhaps. The section was neatly divided into two with Wehner and Waterstraat holding Boehm system flutes whilst Ciardi and Köhler used old system instruments. Nevertheless, all were wooden instruments.


Of all the foreign players to have held posts in the Imperial orchestra, the Italians, Ciardi and Köhler seem to have had outstanding qualities and were revered by master and peers. Köhler spent 36 years in the service of the Tsars, remaining in St. Petersburg until his death on 17th May 1907. The year before his demise he was honoured by a writer in the St. Petersburg Herald(Nov.25th 1906) who gave a concise description of his career and words of appreciation. That was on the occasion of his thirty fifth anniversary of being flautist of the Imperial Theatre Orchestra; a time when Köhler was contemplating retirement.


By 1906 he was no stranger to St. Petersburg audiences. He held all the usual prominent appointments and enjoyed much popularity as a composer. In addition to over 100 works for flute, he composed an opera, Achmed, which had a successful run in St. Petersburg in 1893, and more than one ballet – one, entitled Clorinda, being very popular at the Imperial Theatre.

Ernesto Köhler

Some of his compositions were related to the operas performed at the Maryiinsky Theatre. Airs with variations or fantasias based on operatic themes were eagerly sought by audience members for souvenir performances at home. Virtuosic display was an important ingredient in his Flute Concerto Op.97 and other concert pieces. Nineteenth century audiences enjoyed such technical display and certainly Köhler’s faultless execution and fine tone were considered second to none.


Born in Modena, Italy on 4th December 1849, Köhler was taught the flute by his father, Josef who was first flute in the orchestra of the Duke of Modena. As a youngster he made a number of concert tours and even in those early years critics unanimously commended his fine tone, execution and style. He was appointed first flute in the orchestra of the Karl Theatre, Vienna in 1869, remaining until 1871 when it is said that Ciardi urged him to go to St. Petersburg. On Ciardi’s recommendation he was appointed to the Imperial Theatre Orchestra and gained a number of teaching posts. He taught at the Prince Oldenburg School and conducted student orchestras at the Imperial School of Communications and Engineering. His reputation in St. Petersburg was such in later years that he was honoured as Freeman of the City.


During his 36 years in St. Petersburg however, he was never persuaded to take up the Boehm system flute. His colleagues, Waterstraat and Wehner may or may not have suggested the change but it is thought that Köhler probably played on his Viennese style flute throughout the whole of his career. However, the 1899 catalogue of J. Zimmermann contains the following endorsement by Köhler of the Modell Zimmermann flute:


“In the instrument workshops of Jul. Heinr. Zimmermann, flutes are manufactured which make possible the high g’’’ – a’’’ trill, which trill cannot be done on other flutes. These flutes bear the name “Modell Zimmermann”. Since they combine very easy speech and the above mentioned advantage with a large, full tone and pure intonation, I do not hesitate to recommend this model, when means permit it.”


It is not known for certain whether Köhler played a Modell Zimmermann or not but he did write a popular Flöten-Schule which was published by Zimmermann in about 1880. The picture on the cover shows Köhler holding a similar type of flute with an ivory head.


In the nineteenth century there was an array of different simple system instruments to be found in the hands of flautists in Russia. Apparently, no suitable instruments for the professional were made by Russian craftsmen. Zimmermann, who operated not only in St. Petersburg but also in Moscow and Riga, promoted the flute almost single handed. Other flutes of various types from different countries were to be found in the hands of Russian players and teachers who had brought them into the country.


Nevertheless, the teaching of Waterstraat and Wehner, using Boehm system instruments, was beginning to bear fruit in the Russian capital. Undoubtedly, Waterstraat’s pupil, Fedor Stepanov emerged from the conservatory in 1890 as one of the most important Russian players of the century.


Fedor Stepanov


A native of St. Petersburg, Fedor Vasilyevich Stepanov (1867-1914) began his studies in Waterstraat’s classes at the Court Choir Chapel, graduating in 1885. He continued under the guidance of Waterstraat at the conservatory(1885-1890) after which he gained a place as first flute in the orchestra of the Russian Musical Society. Having acquired some orchestral experience he auditioned for the place of first flute in the Imperial Theatre Orchestra.


On 25th March 1892 he played before a panel of judges including the conductor E. Napravnik, R. Drigo and N. Kotkova. The other competitors on that occasion were Constantine Zuev, Vladimir Gurevich, Alexander Semenov, Anton Lalo and Ivan Petrov. All were fellow students and outstanding players but all failed to beat Stepanov to a position in the Imperial Theatre Orchestra. His success was a victory not only for himself but for all Russian flautists of the future. The Imperial Theatre Orchestra had always given preference to foreign players before that date. Stepanov had the honour and distinction of being the first Russian flautist to have gained such a prestigious position.


Stepanov’s future now seemed secure. He enjoyed certain civil privileges and was exempt from estate taxes. Although his position at first seems to have been that of second flute at a salary of around 720 roubles a year, Napravnik, soon realizing his qualities, transferred him to the position of first flute at 1200 roubles per year.


It is understood that the Directorate of the Imperial Theatres operated a system whereby the title of ‘first flute’ indicated a first flute player of the second category whilst ‘soloist’ referred to a first flute player of the highest rank, or first category, with a salary of 1620 roubles a year plus certain privileges.


In the 1890’s, Stepanov was busy with the progressive trend of premieres of operas by Russian composers. He would have taken part in the premieres of Rimsky Korsakov’s Christmas Eve and The Tsar’s Bride. In 1899 the Maryiinsky Orchestra accompanied Angelo Neumann’s German Opera Company during their visit to St. Petersburg performing Wagner operas (The Ring) under the direction of Karl Muck.


At the same time his working life included conducting and teaching the cadets at Pavlovsk Military School and professional duties at the conservatory(1905-1914). There he was training future orchestral musicians and achieved excellent results by all accounts. G. Shevend graduated from his class in 1908 with a diploma, large silver medal and a Schubert prize. This represented outstanding achievement as similar success in the flute class before Stepanov’s time had not been realized. For his work as a professor at the conservatory, Fedor Stepanov was awarded the Order of St. Stanislaus III degree. His pedagogic legacy stretched well into the Soviet era through flautists, Tsybin and Platonov. His School for the Flute and Guide to Scales, Chords and Arpeggios (Zimmermann ZM 17020) influenced Russian performing practice well into the twentieth century.


At the turn of the century Stepanov was aged 33 and had already achieved far more than any other Russian flautist in St. Petersburg. He held one of the highest positions in his profession as teacher and performer. He continued the pedagogic work of his own teacher and was a respected citizen. He made gramophone recordings in 1901 and 1906 and in these can be heard his clear delivery of a fairly dense but bright sound, even throughout the registers, with little or no vibrato.


Nevertheless, due to illness, his performing career was soon to come to an end. His illness quickly progressed and on 13th June 1907, Stepanov was forced to resign from the orchestra. On 1st August 1907 he was formerly dismissed without pension provision. Having played in the Imperial Theatre Orchestra for 15 years he, as a Russian citizen, had no right to receive a pension whereas foreign musicians working in the same orchestra could expect one. A number of requests were made to the Directorate of Theatres asking for an exception to the rule to be made for an outstanding Russian artist. Every request fell on deaf ears confirming that a similar fate awaited any native musician regardless of merit. Russian flautists at that time were certainly second class citizens in that they had to serve longer than any foreign player in order to receive any pension at all. Even if they managed to reach the rank of soloist, they could expect a salary of 300 roubles less than their foreign colleagues.


Fedor Stepanov continued teaching for several years after leaving the orchestra and died in St. Petersburg on 4th July 1914. Today he is remembered as one of the first great Russian players and his name can now be found on student flutes made in Taiwan, specifically for the Russian market.


Karl Schwab(1873-1938) and Julius Federgans(1862-1920) had taken up their places in the Maryiinsky Orchestra in 1896 and 1897 respectively. Having spent more than ten years alongside Stepanov, these two players continued the now established performance practice of using Boehm system flutes.

Karl Schwab


Born at Wildberg on 26th June 1873, Schwab studied in Stuttgart with Karl Kruger who had been a pupil of Boehm. He graduated from the conservatory in flute, piano and composition and, at the age of 24, travelled to St. Petersburg to take up a position in the Imperial Theatre Orchestra. He probably played only for the ballet performances at first but was soon promoted to first flute in the Imperial Maryiinsky Opera Orchestra where he remained until 1916.




Exactly why he left that respected position is unclear and it is uncertain what he did for the following four years. He may well have been dismissed, as Germany was now Russia’s enemy and the Germanic name of the Russian capital had been changed to Petrograd. Social unrest and wartime grievances brought about the February revolution of 1917 when Tsar Nicholas II and his family were murdered. The political climate must have made life extremely difficult for musicians and citizens of the larger cities.


However, Schwab stayed in Russia as in 1920 he was flute soloist in the Veronezh Symphony Orchestra and teacher at the music college there, where he was forced to teach not only flute but also accordion.


He remained in the Veronezh Symphony Orchestra until 1937 when he was arrested on what is thought to be false charges of espionage. His arrest may have been brought about through his friendship with Osip Mandelstam(1891-1938) who arrived in Veronezh in about 1934. He may have known Mandelstam from his time in St. Petersburg where the poet authored the manifesto for the new movement of Acmeism in 1913, only a few years before Schwab’s exit from the Imperial Theatre Orchestra.


It is interesting to note that both Schwab and Madelstam ended their days in similar circumstances. Karl Schwab was sentenced to five years imprisonment at a penal camp outside Veronezh and died there on 18th January 1938 before completing his sentence. Osip Mandelstam was arrested on charges of ‘counter revolutionary activities’ in May 1938 and sentenced to five years in correction camps. He died at a transit camp near Vladivostok on 27th December 1938.

Julius Federgans

Julius Federgans, Schwab’s old colleague at the Imperial Maryiinsky Theatre, had died in 1920 leaving the flute section of the orchestra still in the hands of foreign and Russian players. The theatre took on a new title that same year – State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet – and as the twentieth century progressed, the services of foreign players were no longer required.


The flautists of nineteenth century St. Petersburg were certainly some of the best players in Europe. They were flute players, composers and teachers of distinction who influenced music making in one of the great European cities. They took part in the development of a national musical character and their work was of great consequence. As always, the circumstances and the fortunes of the individuals involved varied considerably but the status of the Maryiinsky flautists has always commanded the respect of musicians worldwide and continues to do so today.






© Stuart Scott, 2010


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