I was asked by the US National Flute Association to compose a work for 7 Kingma System Flutes as part of a celebration of flute builder Eva Kingma’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2018.
This project was enormous for me since the only consistently standard Kingma System flute is the C flute. The alto, bass and contrabass flutes often have a deviation from the standard design and are often custom built by Eva Kingma to the desire and needs of specific flutists.
My desire was to compose a work that would give these unusual flutes and flutists the opportunity to explore a standard set of multiphonics while sounding like a homogenous group. This was a big mission for me. First off, the NFA Kingma System flutists came from all over Europe and the US and had ever played together before. Secondly, as mentioned above, most of their flutes were custom versions of the Kingma System.
I spent the first half year developing an accessible fingering chart for the Kingma System flute multiphonics that I could use in Conduits. This was a valuable step because it will serve as a pedagogic and reference tool in the future. As part of the fingering chart project, I collaborated with designer Chard Grauman to develop all 83 fingering templates and conquered using microtonal accidentals in the Finale notation program.
With the help of Carla Rees, I’ve recorded all of the multiphonics on the C, alto and bass flutes. We recorded her Kingma alto and bass flutes since they had the full quarter tone system. I’ve processed 11 of the multiphonics using the Kyma System Digital Signal Processor and I use these gorgeous sounds in an accompanying soundtrack for Conduits. During performances where I am present, I use a Max patch to play the processed sounds instead of a sountrack. The Max patch plays the processed multiphonics randomly, which I prefer to a fixed soundtrack.
The La Berge Multiphonic Chart can be ordered on request from me personally.
As of March 2019 Conduits has been performed 4 times. Each performance has been played by a different group of flutists which means that I have had to make four versions.
It is time to streamline the various versions of Conduits and make it available for others to play.
The version for flute quartet is for Kingma System Flutes. I encourage flutists to double and/or triple the parts when playing this version. The score comes in both C and transposed versions, where the fourth part is transposed to G so the alto flutist can read from score. The link to a studio demo recording of the Conduits Quartet can be requested from me. This version will be published as a downloadable Max patch for iPads and computer shortly.
Another version is for a flute septet of non-Kingma System flutists. That is, flutists who play on the standard Boehm system flutes. This version was performed at the Dutch Flute Festival 2018 award concert where Eva Kingma received the Kuiper Prize.
Special thanks to Chard Grauman for the fingering chart graphic design, Carla Rees for her collaboration on the Kingma alto and bass flute recordings, the Brannen Brothers Flute Company for their moral and financial support and to Eva Kingma for her vision and years of invention.