In 1992, at age 22, the Swiss-born Emmanuel Pahud was appointed principal flutist of the Berlin Philharmonic, a coveted post that rarely goes to such a youngster. He was already well-known in France–he’d trained at the Paris Conservatory in the nimble, light-toned style suitable for the music of the impressionists as well as Les Six. (Mathieu Dufour, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s principal flute, was a fellow torchbearer.) But performing Mahler and Richard Strauss with this quintessentially Germanic orchestra, Pahud developed a heavier intonation and learned to make dramatic gestures. In 2000 he quit the Berlin job to pursue a solo career: he’s toured Europe, North America, and Japan; put out well-received discs on EMI Classics; and crossed over to other fields (a jazz CD with pianist Jacky Terrasson is on the way). Last fall, however, Pahud decided to return to the Berlin gig, explaining that he missed playing the orchestral repertoire; he now splits his time between recitals on the road and Philharmonic concerts. On this North American tour he’s accompanied by pianist Helene Grimaud, who’s known for her sweeping interpretations of the Romantic composers. Their program is on the safe side, an introduction to flute-piano classics: Mozart’s Sonata in B-flat Major is graceful yet energetic; Schumann’s Sonata in A Minor is an exemplar of bipolar romanticism; Brahms’s Sonata in E-flat Major is giddy and lyrical; and Poulenc’s Sonata for Flute and Piano moves from melancholy to merriment with the fickleness of spring weather. Friday, February 14, 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th; 773-702-8068.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Sheila Bock, Henry Fair.