Native flute will be treat for St. Mark’s recital

James Pellerite, a former flute professor at Indiana University, will perform tonight as part of the St. Mark’s Recital Series. Enlarge photo

Courtesy of 3rd Ave. Arts

James Pellerite, a former flute professor at Indiana University, will perform tonight as part of the St. Mark’s Recital Series.

James J. Pellerite, professor of flute at Indiana University retired a few years ago and turned to a new world of musical exploration – and a new career – with the Native American flute. He will be the featured performer tonight in the St. Mark’s Recital Series at the East Third Avenue Episcopal church. He was not a random booking; Fort Lewis College Professor Emerita Rochelle Mann was a student of Pellerite’s at Indiana. But Scott Hagler, executive director of 3rd Ave. Arts, which produces the Recital Series, said scoring Pellerite is a coup.

“This is a big deal for 3rd Ave. Arts. We’ve never brought anyone in from so far away,” said Hagler, who also will play organ for tonight’s concert as one of several local musicians providing accompaniment for Pellerite. Mann also will.

Pellerite owns his own publishing company, JP-PUBLICATIONS, and commissions works by American composers specifically for the Native flute. They feature the Native flute in solo, chamber and orchestral settings.

“Since I had no previous knowledge of American Indian music, I have approached the study of this beautiful flute of tradition as a classical flutist, and have elected to combine the influence from music of Western societies with the flavoring of Native American-styled ornamentations,” Pellerite said. “My dedicated efforts have brought together many enthusiastic composers who have created a new repertoire for this unique flute.”

Pellerite will premiere three new works tonight: “Legends for Solo Flute” by Colorado composer John Heins; “Oh, That I Had Wings Like a Dove,” for Native flute and organ, by David Patterson; and “Canopache” for Native flute and drone by Carson Cooman.

His pedigree is much more than just academic. Pellerite was solo flutist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and has held the position of principal flute with the symphony orchestras of Detroit and Indianapolis. His resumé includes performances with the orchestras of Chautauqua, N.Y., Radio City Music Hall, L’Orquestra Sinfonica de Puerto Rico, San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra under such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Pablo Casals, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Eugene Ormandy, Igor Stravinsky and Bruno Walter.

The fourth and final performance in the 2012-13 St. Mark’s Recital Series will be held April 12 with a solo piano recital by Lisa Campi Walters, associate professor of music at Fort Lewis College.

ted@durangoherald.com