Jane Rutter is an internationally recognised flautist and continues to delight audiences all over the world with her classical flute music. Her French heritage gives her a highly specialised skill and a great affection for French flute music which she studied under the expert tutelage of master flautist Jean Pierre-Rampal.
Jane Rutter is known as the ‘Flute Spirit” and is praised for her mastery of the French flute music style. Jane reaches out to audiences and listeners providing them with a mystical connection to the instrument. From virtuosic classical flute repertoire, to meditative, relaxing flute music and world flute music, Jane has reached the pinnacle of the French flute tradition: ‘the flute as a voice’. With several No#1 albums and ARIA (Australian Grammy) nominations under her belt, her flute playing is greeted with universal praise and standing ovations in Australia and across the globe. Jane Rutter’s film An Australian in Paris: Homage to French Flute is about the Rampal Flute School.
Jean Pierre Rampal was born in 1922 in Marseilles, the son of a flautist. With the Nazi occupation in France, Rampal went underground and eventually graduated at the Paris Conservatoire College of Music. After the war he became first-flute at the Paris Opera rapidly gaining a recognition as a flute soloist. He founded the Ensemble Baroque de Paris in 1952 and continued a distinguished career until his death in 2000.
Rampal maintained that a flautist should play “naturally”, and not as a result of a forced discipline. He urged his pupils to have their own spontaneous presence and distinctive style, not to be afraid of taking risks when expressing their emotions through the breath of the flute, stipulating they should have mastered their technique so well that it would not be forgotten during the stressful demands of performance.
Jane conforms beautifully to these precepts with an intelligence and understanding that receives standing ovations from all her listeners. She has a wonderful collection of flute music, flute cover songs, flute solos, relaxing flute music and famous flute songs. Have a look around her website and get to know this wonderful lady.
Flute music is an ancient joy: mellifluously melodic when required and joyfully quick as our moods might require. It is an instrument that has delighted our ancestors for many, many, many generations. The flute is probably the simplest instrument in the world, except for the drum. The history of flutes and popular flute music can be traced back at least 43,000 years, and no wonder: there is a delightful simplicity in its form, construction and use. Flute songs transcend cultures and societal levels, from the delightfully simplistic folk flute songs to the more complex orchestral pieces, the flute has an adaptability like no other instrument.
The flute exists in cultures that span the globe and which stretch a vast ocean of time. The earliest flute to be found so far, in Swabia, southwestern Germany, is believed to be 35,000 years old, a time when the last Neanderthals were mixing with the first modern humans in Europe. It was made from the hollowed bone of a vulture.
In China it is called the “Xun” and is probably the strangest looking flute design, being a teardrop shaped bowl (known as a vessel flute) large enough to fill a human hand, with six embrasures (four at the front and two at the back) and a larger hole at the top to admit the player’s breath. For seven thousand years, and probably very much more, the rich and varied selection of Chinese flute tunes, some of which are still played to this day, reflect the emotions of that huge mass of constantly changing and thoughtful people.
In Indonesia flutes are called “Suling” or “Seruling” and made from bamboo. Modern day Indonesian flute songs, as with flutes everywhere, have a distinctive and highly evocative sound, creating relaxing flute music which perfectly complements and enhances our thoughts and loves.
Pan, the devilish god of nature, bacchanalian revels, well known for seducing the scantily clad nymphs of ancient Greek lakes and rivers, was a hypnotic master of the Pan-pipes, a close cousin of the flute.
In North America the names of the different kinds of flutes give happy clues as to their use and construction, The Courting Flute, Grandfather’s Flute, the Eagle Bone Whistle and the Love flute.
In South America there are the “pan-pipes”, made famous during the 1970s by George Zamfir, but a closer cousin, however, is the “Quena”. This is flute is also played vertically, as opposed to the more conventional “western” concert flute.
The Celtic or Irish flute is called a “feadóg mhór”, a suitably unpronounceable name for an indefinable and ancient instrument.
The most instantly recognised Australian aboriginal “flute”, more massive than flutes from any other culture except perhaps the Swiss “Alpenhorn”, is the Didgeridoo which produces an unworldly sound, from one of the most ancient peoples in our world. The Australian aboriginal nation do also have much smaller and more conventional, vertically played flutes.
Indeed most of the older flute types are played vertically, like their close cousin, the Recorder. It is the simplicity of design and playing that has confirmed and preserved the flute as one of the most ancient and popular instruments in world history. One wonders how many loves this wonderful instrument has created; how many broken hearts have started to heal because of its calm solace; how many jigs and dances and nights of wonderful joy have been driven by this magical instrument.
Popular flute music can produce an eerie challenge to reality, a joyous dance for a wedding, or a solemn tribute to past loves, past friends and lost feelings. Flutes can be made from the simplicity of bamboo or the sophistication of silver, each has their own distinct tone that speaks to all our hearts.
The modern concert flute (also called a “transverse” or “side-blown” flute) is played horizontally as opposed to vertically, and follows the grand tradition of its more humble predecessors of producing sounds that instantly connect with our psyche. Known not so much for playing individual flute tunes, the classical flute has become part of a formal orchestra and fully deserves its place there.
Truly transverse flutes first appear about four hundred years BC in Etruscan iconography in Europe, although both the Greeks and the Romans also enjoyed a side-blown flutes now called “Tibia Obliqua”. These were made of wood covered with bronze and had five finger holes with a mouthpiece decorated to represent a maenad, and which had a hole present, it is believed, to receive the addition of a reed fragment to aid the production of sound, similar to an oboe.
The travelling minstrels and musicians of the Middle Ages played a six-finger transverse flute made of a single piece of wood, which was often accompanied by a drum. It was also a military instrument, although also played at Court. Brought to the rest of Europe mostly by travelling German minstrels it became known as a “fistula Germanica”.
A revolution in transvers flute construction was the brainchild of Theobald Boehm (1794-1881), who was a flautist with the Munich Court orchestra. After a detailed study of the size, shape and key positioning, as well as the design of the tone embrasures, he incorporated existing ideas from his peer flute makers and, innovatively, produced a transverse flute with tone holes arranged to achieve acoustic performance rather than being arranged for the ease of a player’s fingers. After continued study, including arithmetical calculations and his own experimental playing, he then added the movable axels we know and recognise today. The overall result was a much more complex instrument capable of playing a much more precise and wide range of tones. It was noticed by all players that, although the flute was a much more complex instrument, the actual fingering became more simplified.
Boehm presented an improved flute in 1847 which had a cylindrical tube and a parabolic conical head-joint. This new flute also featured pin-springs, which had been patented in 1839 by Louis-Auguste Buffet. Felt pads were added to the key cups to prevent air escaping and help maintain a consistent pressure in the tube, creating a more focussed and precise sound.
Boehm also changed the shape of the embrasures, which had been round or oval. He produced them as rectangles with rounded corners. His chosen medium to present this new instrument, a result of concerted study and his own testing, was German silver, when he insisted had the best acoustic properties.
His new design was warmly accepted by flautists and won a series of awards, not least at the 1855 World Exhibition in Paris. There was some initial resistance from flautists playing classical flute music who found it difficult to adapt to the new fingering régime. Time proved Boehm to be correct and despite attempts by rival manufacturers in Germany, Italy and Russia his design became accepted. It is interesting to note the great Richard Wagner initially described Boehm’s design as a “blunderbuss” because of its unusually powerful sound.
Today, concert flutes are still made using the pioneering work that produced the “Boehm mechanism”. His basic design remains the same today with only slight modifications and improvements. As with so many things from the Victorian era, Boehm’s classical flute has stood the harsh test of time and continues to bring happiness and joy to people around the world.
Jane’s instrument of choice therefore has a very ancient history, intimately associated with the hearts and minds of people in all cultures, both today and in the past.
In November 2016 Jane was awarded the prestigious French medal Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (‘Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters’ is a French award of recognition for significant contributions to Arts & Literature.)
Jane presented “The Vampire Diaries” as part of her yearly six-part Concert Series Live at Lunch at The Concourse, held in Chatswood, Sydney. A concert taking the idea of spirits, the occult and “the magic of nocturnal love”. She opened with Bartok’s Hungarian Peasant Suite for Flute and Piano, a series of nine pieces based on Hungarian peasant folk songs. This choice perfectly reflecting the history of this very special instrument and its always close association with people of all levels of society throughout its very long and joyful history.
As Jane herself says, “Instruments of the breath are closest to the heart. To make music out of the act of breathing is an early form of alchemy: our breath, which keeps us alive, when harnessed becomes the music that feeds our souls. At the age of thirteen my musical spirit was delightfully invaded by the flute spirits of the Balinese bamboo flute players in Ubud, Bali. Later on it was in Paris that I drew inspiration from my flute teachers, Jean-Pierre Rampal and Alain Marion. Throughout my life the flute has been my instrument of connection and reconciliation. In Ovid’s Metamorphosis, the flute is created by the demi-god Pan whose breath on river reeds makes a beautiful sound thereby transforming the nymph, Syrinx, into a flute or panpipes. The flute is the oldest instrument known to man, dating back some 40,000 years. In every civilisation on every continent there is to be found a flute. The flute is mankind’s second voice.”
Jane is a classical trailblazer who has devoted her life to French flute playing with a career of longevity that spans decades. Ms Rutter is an exponent of the French Flute School, which leads the world in sound, technique and elegance of expression on the instrument. An internationally acclaimed soloist renowned for her onstage warmth and brilliance, Jane is a Renaissance woman, a fearless classical trailblazer who has pioneered the trend of taking fine classical music to all people in many different venues. She is rightfully considered a major influence in the world of classical music.
Due to her French heritage, when she plays, her flute transcends traditional limits. With 22 solo albums under her belt Ms Rutter has played from The Sydney Opera House Concert Hall to Sydney’s iconic Tilbury Hotel; from performing with transgender stars, to Baroque recitals at La Sainte Chapelle, Paris.
Jane Rutter’s classical career is enhanced by her skills in World Music, Theatre, Film, Composition and Improvisation. She has appeared in the UK, Europe, USA, South-East Asia, South America and China. She is a household name in Australia. Described by ABC Classic FM as ‘One of Australia’s leading performance artists’, Jane is an Alumnus of Sydney University, and also studied in Paris on a French Government scholarship with Alain Marion and Jean-Pierre Rampal. (Jane was translator for Alain Marion for his summer master classes at l’Academie Internationale d’Ete de Nice).
Ms Rutter has lectured in Flute, Chamber Music and Performance Pedagogy at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at Sydney University. She founded The Music Scheme to assist young professional musicians; she formed the innovative chamber group, POSH; she has also produced many concerts at the Sydney Opera House; she toured for Musica Viva and has appeared with The Seymour Group, The Australia Ensemble (formerly UNSWIG), and worked as principal flute in the Elizabethan Trust Orchestra (AOBO). As a presenter on Channel Nine’s Getaway, Jane won a Peoples’ Choice award. The Nine Network’s 60 Minutes did a feature story on her musical philosophy and style. For her album Titania’s Dream Jane collaborated with Oscar nominee David Hirschfelder and subsequently played the role of Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Karnak Playhouse.
Jane has performed regularly at the Sydney Opera House and performs worldwide as a soloist in recital, with orchestras, and in her one-woman classical-cabaret performances. Her concert-theatre piece, Tutti-Flutti, was nominated for an Edinburgh Fringe award. A performer and lecturer at International Flute Conventions, in 2005 Jane was the patron of the Australian International Flute Convention. Limelight Magazine, 2007, included Jane on its cover as a leading female influence in the world of Classical Music.
Ms Rutter often receives standing ovations at her concerts and has performed with such prominent artists as Richard Bonynge, Pascale Roge, The Manhattan Transfer, David Helfgott, Slava Grigoryan, Tina Arena, Rick Price, Taryn Fiebig, Nina Perlove, Bertrand Cervera, David Braccini, Kathryn Selby, Greta Bradley, Tommy Emmanuel, James Morrison, Janis Siegel, Yvonne Kenny, Gerard Willems, Michael Crawford, Simon Tedeschi, and Christopher Hogwood. She has appeared as a soloist with many leading orchestras, including the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
La Traversiere (France’s premier flute magazine) presented a feature article on Jane’s flute playing in 2014. She launched the Australian Music Examinations Board flute syllabus (her Partita for Solo Flute is included in its syllabus).
The sound track album to Jane’s film, An Australian in Paris: Homage to French Flute (DVD), reached No. 1 in the Classical charts and was nominated for an ARIA (Australian Grammy) award. Her album French Kiss also reached No. 1 in the ARIA charts. Jane’s recordings, Flute Spirit: Dreams and Improvisations, (an homage to 70’s flutist, Paul Horn) and French Kiss appeared in the top 10 Aria classical charts in the same week.
Ms Rutter currently performs worldwide as a soloist, gives masterclasses, and is producer and Artistic Director of Live at Lunch, at The Concourse, Chatswood, and of The Karnak Playhouse.
Her most recent recordings: Flute Spirit: Dreams and Improvisations, and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, with Sinfonia Australis are both available on ABC Classics. In 2015 Jane released Flute Fantasy, an album of atmospheric film library music for flute.
The Australian Elizabethan Trust has awarded Jane for her outstanding work on the French Flute School. Ms Rutter was made a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Music in 2015 for her outstanding achievements and services to music. She was the 2016 select artist to perform the annual tribute to Alain Marion at his residence outside Avignon, France, and is the only Australian to have been invited to perform at a Convention de la Flute Française (Vieme 2016).
“Jane Rutter is a generous and brilliant flautist of the highest calibre. Jane Rutter est une flûtiste brillante et engagée, du plus haut niveau.” Jean-Pierre Rampal.
“Ms. Rutter’s interpretations of the popular Four Seasons Concerti are vibrant and innovative. The entire CD is lovely to listen to, with Jane Rutter’s wholesome and impeccable artistry soaring throughout. Ms. Rutter does an exemplary job and her work is outstanding and deserves a full house standing ovation.” Viviana Guzman, The Flute View (USA).
“A star of the flute…Une étoile de la flute”. London Daily Mail.
“Jane Rutter, with her effortless long vocal-lines, her beautiful tone and her sensitive and expressive musicianship, is one of the great flute players…Jane Rutter, dont le souffle mélodique est facile, l’expression musicale et le ton à la fois beaux et sensibles est une très grande flûtiste.” Richard Bonynge AC, CBE, Commandeur de l’Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres.
“Jane Rutter knows contemporary audience’s taste for ‘events concerts’. She is out to demonstrate the full breadth of her skills and appeal and to provide the full atmospheric skills.” London Evening Standard.
“Jane’s playing breaths contemporary life into French Flute School’s elevated position and recalls its glorious past. I thank and applaud Jane for her passion and enthusiasm. I give her a ‘bravissimo’ for her superb talent!” Raymond Guiot Professeur de Flute, Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris.
“A Jane Rutter speciality is sparking flute playing. Her strength lies in a dexterous brilliance which scoffs at the need to breathe…Rutter’s playing is persuasively phrased, delivered with flexible lungs and nimble finger and a quick-silver accuracy.” Sydney Morning Herald.
“Jane Rutter is ‘The divine Ms R’. She’s a classical siren in whose hands the flute becomes an instrument of seduction and sensual pleasure.” The Weekend Australian (cover story).
“Jane Rutter fits the bill as the glamourous classical pop star and flute player extraordinaire.” Canberra Times.
“Doing the unexpected and making it work is something Ms. Rutter has made a specialty of during her long career…She added sex appeal to the flute repertoire and was a trail blazer for other musicians moving into other genres.” The Sunday Telegraph.
“Jane Rutter is one of the finest flautists this country has produced. She plays classical as well as everything else. She is a free spirit, one of the blessed people.” The Sunday Age.