Flutists and composers have been collaborating for decades but it is only in recent years that the phenomenon of performer-composer collaboration has emerged as an area of research interest. Within the small core of existing resources there are few that address both the creative and pragmatic elements of collaboration from inception to performance. This project documents and critically evaluates flutist-composer collaborations with the aim of creating new sound worlds for the flute. It examines how my own contributions, knowledge and specialist skills influenced composers’ musical decisions and brought to light the embodied musical knowledge of both performer and composer through workshops and performances.
Seven composers were commissioned to write new works for flute, working collaboratively with me as the flutist-researcher over the course of twelve months. Several new sounds, new fingerings for existing sounds and new ways of notating flute sounds emerged. Many performative elements were discussed, including costume, staging and prop requirements, Performance Notes, prescribed physical movements and interaction with technologies.
This thesis demonstrates that the flute’s sound world can be expanded when a flutist and composer work together collaboratively, and opens up the processes of collaboration for purposeful exploration and inquiry. Creative and idiomatic solutions to questions of sound, notation and performative elements have been identified as a result of the flutist’s experimentations with the composers’ conceptual ideas. This research adds to a growing field of academic inquiry into performer-composer collaboration and lays the foundations for further investigation into many areas of this discipline.