Flute Philosophies of Tom Nyfenger

Thomas Daniel Nyfenger

Tom Nyfenger (1936-1990) was one of the most respected flutists, teachers and clinicians of his generation. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he established himself as that rare musician who could seemingly solve any musical problem and help others find their path. After a brief stint as solo piccolo player with the Indianapolis Symphony (1961–1963), he moved to New York City in 1963 where he quickly gained a formidable reputation as a free-lance player and teacher. Ultimately, he was hired as a regular member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra and began long-term associations with the Aeolian Chamber Players, the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, the Festival Winds, and the New York Woodwind Quintet. He served as the principal flute of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the New York Chamber Symphony (originally the Y Chamber Symphony of New York), the Mostly Mozart and Casals Festival Orchestras, and the New York Chamber Soloists. As an educator, he taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Sarah Lawrence College, Vassar College, Rutgers College, S.U.N.Y. Purchase College, Queens College, the Mannes College of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, and Yale University, where he served as chairman of the wind department. In 1986, he published his first book, Music And The Flute. A double CD of several of his live performances was released in 1992 entitled The Flutistry of Thomas Nyfenger. I edited and help publish a second book entitled Beyond the Notes—Musical Thoughts and Analyses in 2009.

My master class incorporates Mr. Nyfenger’s approach to embouchure development, articulation, vibrato production, finger technique, tone colors, and as he would say, “prescriptions” for more efficient playing. I offer audio and video performances by Nyfenger and other flutists to further demonstrate the concepts that I will offer.