World renowned as the leader in contemporary music for flute, Robert Dick embodies the ideal of the Renaissance artist. With equally deep roots in classical music old and new and in free improvisation and new jazz, he has established himself as an artist who has not only mastered, but redefined the instrument. In 2014, the National Flute Association honored Robert Dick with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Robert Dick has utterly dispensed with preconceptions about what a flutist should sound like and what a flutist should play. More than any flutist ever, Dick has reshaped the musical possibilities of the instrument, creating many thousands of new sonorities. Since he began composing and improvising in the 1970s, he has pursued the core idea that acoustic instruments are capable of sonic vocabularies and musical expression extending far beyond their traditional sonorities and musical roles. Robert’s music carries this vision of continuous transformation into his approach to aesthetics and style. He draws from the jazz tradition, world musics (especially Indian and African), electric and electronic music and natural sounds. Hallmarks of his work are clarity of structure and vivid timbre. His compositions, striking in the intensity and originality of their emotion, structures and sound, have been recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Composers Fellowships and very many grants and commissions.
Robert has recorded extensively, making solo music and working with many of the world’s finest improvisors. Please visit his shop on this website to view and purchase his CDs as well as his books, music and instructional recordings on both CD and DVD.
Dick has had a major impact on flute playing everywhere through his pedagogy, including countless masterclasses throughout the Americas, Europe, Australia and Asia, the seminal books The Other Flute, Tone Development through Extended Techniques and Circular Breathing for the Flutist plus two volumes of the etudes Flying Lessons. Instructional CDs and DVDs and his series of instructional videos on YouTube illuminate his ideas and music and empower other flutists to transform their playing. It is a rare composition for flute written anywhere in the world today that does not bear Robert Dick’s influence.
Over the years, Robert has equaled his virtuosity on flute with his prowess on piccolo, alto flute, bass flute in C, bass flute in F and contrabass flute. By expanding his pitch and timbral range through these different instruments, the musical range of the flute is exponentially enlarged.
Robert has also invented the Glissando Headjoint®, the single most transformative addition to the flute since Louis Lot added open hole keys in the 19th century.
The Glissando Headjoint®
Robert Dick's Glissando Headjoint®, like many of Robert Dick's publications, teachings, and creations, is designed to expand the flutist's musical arsenal. Initially inspired by the electric guitar's whammy bar and the slides and effects it made possible, the Glissando Headjoint was brought to full creation by Eva Kingma, Kaspar Beachi, and Bickford Brannen for use in 21st Century music, blues, rock, and jazz.
In a practical sense, the Glissando Headjoint functions as a traditional flute with added effects; in its home position it can be played as a traditional Boehm instrument for classical repertoire. When the slide is used, however, completely smooth glisses between notes become possible up to a major third in distance, depending on the length of the air column in the flute; short air columns, such as middle C, will gliss the furthest (down to Ab), where long air columns such as low B will gliss down a whole step to a strong low A. Many possibilities in contemporary repertoire (and in classical violin repertoire, for example, for the consummate transcriber) subsequently become available with this liquid approach to pitch.
To accomplish this effect, two wings extend from the headjoint to rest against the cheeks and enable the headjoint to easily follow your embouchure. The carefully positioned center of weight of the headjoint also allows the flute to feel balanced in your hands whether in home position or in full slide. The inner headjoint itself (nestled inside the carrier tube so that it can slide) is sterling silver with a contemporary tone hole cut for ease of expression and a solid, large sound that resonates clearly.
Robert Dick's Glissando Headjoint®, as with most headjoints, can be sized to particular flutes if required.