Born on January 26, 1930, in Yakima, Washington, Donald Peck received his early musical training in Seattle, where he played in the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra. As a teenager, he performed with his first teacher, Frank Horsfall, in the Seattle Symphony. He was a scholarship student at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where he studied with William Kincaid. Peck performed with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., and spent three years in the U.S. Marine Band. He was Principal flute of the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra for two years before Fritz Reiner invited him to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1957 as Assistant Principal flute. The following year, Reiner promoted Peck to Principal flute, a chair he would hold for over forty years until his retirement in 1999.
Peck first appeared as soloist with the Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival in August 1959, in Bach's Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, and on subscription concerts in Orchestra Hall in November 1960, in Bach's Second Orchestral Suite, both with Walter Hendl conducting. During his tenure, he appeared as soloist on more than 120 concerts directed by twenty-five conductors — including music directors Reiner, Jean Martinon, Sir Georg Solti, and Daniel Barenboim — in Orchestra Hall, at the Ravinia Festival, and on tour.On April 18, 1985, Solti led the Orchestra in the world premiere of Morton Gould’s Flute Concerto, commissioned for Peck. [The flutist speaks about this work during the interview. His performance was issued on one of the Radiothon CDs, and is shown below. Also see my interviews with Alex Klein, Christoph Eschenbach, Larry Combs, Mariss Jansons, Miklós Rózsa, Victor Aitay, and Pierre Boulez.]
Also for Peck, William Ferris wrote his Flute Sonata [recording shown farther down on this webpage] and Lee Hoiby dedicated his Pastorale Dances for Flute and Orchestra. He regularly performed as a guest artist with other orchestras, including appearances at the Pablo Casals Festival with concerts in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and in Carnegie Hall. In Australia, Peck recorded Mozart's flute concertos for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and he regularly appeared at the Carmel Bach Festival in California, the Victoria International Festival in Canada, the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming, and the Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts, along with numerous other orchestras from coast to coast.
As Principal flute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Peck performed on over three hundred recordings under twenty-two conductors for twelve labels. In his retirement, he recorded works for flute and piano with Melody Lord for the Boston label. Peck also was a longtime member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Alumni Association.
Peck served on the faculties of DePaul and Roosevelt universities, where he taught flute and woodwind ensemble. A frequent lecturer and guest teacher, he gave master classes at the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music in New York, at the Rotterdam Conservatory in Holland, for the Osaka Flute Club in Japan, at the Sydney Flute Association in Australia, and at over thirty universities and music groups throughout the United States and Canada. For many years, Peck played a flute — fashioned in platinum-iridium — handmade for him by Powell Flutes of Boston.
In 1997, the National Flute Association honored Peck with a lifetime
achievement award. Indiana University Press published Peck's memoir,
The Right Place, The Right Time! Tales of Chicago Symphony
Days in 2007, and the Chicago Flute Club's biennial international
flute competition is named in his honor. Peck died on April 29, 2022
at his home in Chicago.
== From a tribute article by Frank Villella,
posted on the CSO website.
Born in Yakima, Washington, on March 10, 1924, Lois Schaefer attended the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp as a teenager, later attending at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Georges Laurent (Principal flute of the Boston Symphony Orchestra), Frank Horsfall, and Sebastian Caratelli. She completed her bachelor of music in flute performance in 1946, and received an artist diploma the following year.
Hired by Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Rafael Kubelík in 1951, Schaefer served the Orchestra as Assistant Principal flute until 1954. During her time in Chicago, Schaefer also taught at Chicago Musical College. By 1956, she returned east and was hired as Principal flute of the New York City Opera, where she would remain for ten seasons. She also performed and recorded with the NBC Opera Theatre Orchestra, the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra, and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra.
In 1965, Schaefer was hired by then–music director Erich Leinsdorf to the position of flute and Principal piccolo for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, her “dream job.” During her twenty-five-year tenure, she also served as Principal piccolo for the Boston Pops Orchestra. “In more than 2,000 Boston Pops performances of [John Philip Sousa‘s] ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever,’ a moment always arrived when Lois Schaefer was the star of the show,” wrote Bryan Marquard in the Boston Globe. “Though she was a master of the memorable piccolo solo that is the highlight of the song, she didn’t take her eyes off the musical score—not in her first concert, not in her 2,000th. She was determined to never make a mistake on her notoriously difficult instrument, which sometimes waits silently through portions of concerts, only to suddenly be highlighted for all ears to hear.”
Schaefer served on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music from 1965 until 1992. She also was a board member of the National Flute Association, receiving their second-ever lifetime achievement award in 1993.
According to her sister Winifred Mayes, a cellist with the BSO from 1954 until 1964, Schaefer was “very, very happy in Boston. . . . She loved the orchestra and the people in it. She always felt very secure and warm towards them, and they towards her. I think it was perfect for her.”
In her final season in Boston, Schaefer
was soloist in Daniel
Pinkham‘s Concerto Piccolo, written especially for
her. Upon her retirement in 1990, Globe music critic Richard
Dyer wrote, “For her twenty-five years as solo piccolo, Lois Schaefer
has been the highest, brightest voice in the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
. . . To hear her in a Rossini overture is like watching the sunlight dance
on rippling water. She can also break your heart with a perfectly placed
high pianissimo in a Mahler or Shostakovich slow movement.”
Schaefer died on January 31, 2020.
[Slightly edited from the
Giorgio Federico Ghedini (July 11, 1892 - March 25, 1965) began studying piano and organ in Cuneo, where he was born. He moved to Torino in 1905, where he studied cello, harmony and counterpoint at the local high school of music. He went on to study privately with Maestro Giovanni Cravero, and later under Marco Enrico Bossi at the high school of music in Bologna, where he received his diploma in 1911.
He worked as a conductor and mixed with the leading exponents of Torino’s music world. He taught at the public school for choir singing in Torino, and at the conservatories of Parma and Milano.
He worked as a teacher of composition in Turin (1918–1937), Parma (1937–1941), and finally Milan, where he directed the local Conservatory (1951–1962). Among his pupils, the most eminent were Marcello and Claudio Abbado, Luciano Berio, Guido Cantelli, Niccolò Castiglioni, Carlo Pinelli, and Fiorenzo Carpi.He did not begin publishing his own compositions until 1920. In 1921 he composed the spiritual cantata Il pianto della Madonna and Doppio quintetto, inspired by Baroque concertante. In 1926 he wrote Partita, and declared his rejection of 19th-century symphonic music.
Ghedini also composed many religious works, taking his cue from the Bible, the Roman Catholic liturgy and medieval poetry. Examples include Missa monodica in honorem S. Gregori Magni (1932), Concerto spirituale “De l’incarnazione del verbo divino” (1943) and Credo di Perugia (1962). Ghedini’s first opera was Maria d’Alessandria, which premiered on September 9, 1937, at the Teatro delle Novità in Bergamo. Architetture (1940) gained him worldwide fame. Its modernist approach was inspired by Stravinsky and Bartòk, as was his Concerto dell’albatro (1945).
Giorgio Federico Ghedini was promoted by Casa Ricordi and Rai, and was a central figure in Italian music. The postwar period proved fecund for him, when he composed concerti like Il Belprato (1947), L’Alderina (1950), Il Rosero (1950) and L’Olmeneta (1951). In his latter compositions, a dialogue with 19th-century symphony culture ensues, as in Concerto per orchestra (1955). In 1952 Ghedini received the Rai’s Premio Italia award for his radio opera Lord Inferno, with libretto by Franco Antonicelli.
© 2003 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in the home of Donald Peck on August 13, 2003. Portions were broadcast on WNUR the following year, and again in 2012, and 2019. This transcription was made in 2022, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here. To read my thoughts on editing these interviews for print, as well as a few other interesting observations, click here.
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Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.