Felix Skowronek Memorial Event
Saturday, November 4, 2023 | 2:30-4:30pm
6541 Jones Avenue NW, Seattle, WA 98117
THIS IS A TICKETED EVENT
$10 Members | $15 Non-Members
This event is funded in part by a smART Ventures grant, sponsored by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS). Special thanks also to our Season Sponsor, FluteWorks Seattle.
The Felix Skowronek Memorial Event is an annual event to honor the Seattle Flute Society's founder, Felix Skowronek. The event traditionally features local artists and/or wooden flute specialists. Past events have featured performances by Demarre McGill, Jeffrey Barker, Janet See, and Cathy Ransom Karoly, among others. In the online 2020-2021 Season, the Felix Skowronek Memorial Event was expanded into a series of presentations, workshops, and performances by local flutists, teachers, and artisans. The event in its original design returned for the 2021-2022 Season onwards.
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2:15pm - Doors Open
2:30pm-3:40pm - Guest Artists' Recital
2023 Felix Skowronek Guest Artists (Pamela Mortensen, didgeridoo; Chiyokten, Coast Salish flutes; and Hanz Araki, Irish flute and shakuhachi) present an exciting and varied selection of repertoire drawn from the traditions of their respective instruments.
3:45pm-4:15pm - "Introduction to Global Flutes" Panel Discussion
Our Guest Artists discuss their individual creative paths and explain the basics of their instruments, including construction, sound production, and other playing techniques. After the discussion, audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions.
4:15pm-4:30pm - Meet and Greet
Visit with the Guest Artists, observe their instruments at close range, participate in hands-on demonstrations, and purchase merchandise.
About the Artists
In 2005, Washington-based musician, composer and producer Pamela Mortensen walked into a local record store in Seattle looking for something different to listen to. She found a copy of David Hudson’s album, Rainbow Serpent and listened to it and walked out with the fire to learn how to play the didgeridoo. Since then, she has performed with this ancient instrument at fairs, festivals, house concerts and stage all over the Western U.S., Canada and Mexico bringing her brand of music which is a blend of powerful rhythms, dynamics and emotions. She draws inspiration from the mountains, rivers and forests of the Pacific Northwest and from her own mixed Scandinavian and Turkish heritage and weaves them all into a rich carpet of sonic delights.
She has become a master at bringing composition to didgeridoo, crafting music that is recognizable to the Western ear. This is no small feat considering didgeridoo is primarily a drone instrument. But Pamela combines her deft skill as an intuitive composer with her rhythmic prowess, vision to create sonic landscapes and powerful rhythms that has audiences up and dancing or sitting back in deep reflection. She is equally at home with synthesizer, piano, organ, hand percussion and voice often combining these with didgeridoo in recordings and performances. The result is soul-stirring music that is all at once from the ancient future.
Among some of her accomplishments are graduating cum laude from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington and winning awards from ASCAP, Yamaha Corporation and Seattle Arts Commission. She is an active member of the didgeridoo and Native American flute communities bringing didgeridoo to communities that otherwise would not be able hear it. Her collaborations have included working with Egyptian tabla player George Sadak and Yaima member Mas Munbear. Pamela is keen on continuing collaborations with other artists whose vision is about healing and creating a more beautiful world through art and music. Learn more at pamelamortensen.net/home.
A personal note from Pamela:
Thank you so much to those Aboriginal communities who have shared the didgeridoo with the outside world as part of sharing their culture. It’s my hope that in doing so, all of us can bridge cultural gaps as we learn more about each other and work together to build a world out of love, respect and balance.
Paul Chiyokten Wagner is a Saanich Nation tribal member which is located on so called Vancouver Island BC Canada. As a Traditional Coast Salish Storyteller & flutist he brings us on a wonderful, profound and humorous journey to the world of Mermaids, Leprechauns, Grandmother cedar trees and marauding giant ogresses in traditional story, song and Native American flute music of his Coast Salish territory. We don’t simply listen to the story… we are part of the story! We will travel to the ancient forests, meadows and waters of the Salish Sea and experience the eternal connective sounds of nature with masterful deliverance of Coast Salish Native American flute music and storytelling.
His debut CD “Journey Of The Spirit” won the JPF National Music Award “Best Native American Album 2009” Chiyokten is also the founder of Protectors of the Salish Sea of who actively stand up for the tree, plant and animal peoples as well as our human peoples of Mother Earth and the livable future for all children. Learn more at www.sacredbreath.ca and protectorsofthesalishsea.org.
For six generations, Hanz Araki's family has carried the Kodō name and its perspective on the tradition of Kinko-Ryū shakuhachi. Named for his great-great grandfather, Hanzaburō, or Hanz as he’s commonly known, made his professional debut in 1988 in Shimonoseki, Japan where he was given the name Baikyoku by his father, Kodō Araki V. He attained the name Kodō at his father’s retirement ceremony in Tokyo in 2009.
Hanz performed and taught in Japan until 1992 when he returned to the United States and shifted his focus almost entirely to performing. Notable appearances include The Newport Folk Festival, The Vancouver Folk Festival, Celtic Connections in Glasgow, Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, The Gates Estate, and was a featured soloist for The Seattle Symphony “Celebrate Asia” concert in 2013. He was also invited to perform and speak at the Interdependence Day Celebration in Mexico City and The Future of Music Coalition conference in Rio de Janeiro. He was also the recipient of a Maine Traditional Arts Fellowship in 2021.
In addition to his career in traditional Japanese music Hanz is a Juno Award-winning Irish flute and whistle-player and singer. His most recent album of Irish music was recorded in his mother’s ancestral village of Dingle, Co. Kerry with Lúnasa founding member Donogh Hennessy producing.
Felix Skowronek (1935-2006) earned a B.M. from the Curtis Institute, where he was a student of William Kincaid. Skowronek was a founding member of the Soni Ventorum Wind Quintet and played as principal flute of the U.S. Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra, and the Seattle, St. Louis, and Puerto Rico Symphonies. He also played principal for the Seattle Opera's summer series of Wagner's Ring cycle. He served as professor of flute at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico and the University of Washington. He was the founding president of the Seattle Flute Society and served as president of the National Flute Association from 1985-86. He was twice the music director of Belle Arte Concerts, from 1983-1992 and 1999-2004.
Skowronek acted as a consultant to the Verne Q. Powell Company. An authority on the use of foreign and domestic hardwood species for flute and woodwind instrument manufactures, he documented the tonal qualities of numerous hardwood species carved into wood flutes and wood flute head joints. His research, performances and lectures throughout the 1980s and 1990s contributed significantly to the return of the wood flute and the option of using a wood head joint to create specific tonal effects relevant to the specific genre of music to be performed.
Highlights from the 2019 event
featuring Leonard Garrison
Highlights from the 2018 event
featuring Janet See