Q&A with Christine Gustafson
Dr. Christine Gustafson has performed as a guest artist and has given master classes in the U.S., Asia, Europe, and Brazil. As a Fulbright recipient in 2001-2002, Dr. Gustafson featured the music of living American composers in a performance project that took her to Taiwan and China. She has contributed to The Flutist Quarterly and was a North Carolina Arts Council Visiting Artist for four years. Dr. Gustafson has appeared with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Augusta Symphony, the Salisbury Symphony, and the Orchestra of the Burgtheater in Vienna, Austria. An active proponent of New Music, she has premiered many new works, a number of which have been written for her in a wide range of venues including the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., the National Cultural Center, Taipei, Taiwan, the Beijing Central Conservatory, and the Shanghai Conservatory in China.
What musicians inspire you?
There is so much wonderful literature, both past and present for the flute that keeps me curious and adventurous. There’s always a new piece I want to learn or music I feel a need to revisit. My flute teachers remain a tremendous inspiration. I’ve had the good fortune to study with some wonderful flutists and musicians. Among them are Harry Houdeshel, Louis Rivière, Wolfgang Schulz, Fritz Kraber and Carol Wincenc.
How did you become passionate about music?
My passion for music began with my mother’s Christmas gift of a double-LP set of the Brandenburg concertos the year I was fourteen. I left it on my portable stereo in my room that spring in Miami and listened to the concerti every day for around three months. I had also been playing the flute for about a year at that time and knew by the summer that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
What do you enjoy about teaching music?
I love watching my students grow and develop, both as musicians and as people. Working with each one is an adventure, and I have discovered that there are as many different types of intelligence and learning styles as there are students dedicated to playing the flute. It’s always been such a rich experience.
If we were to look at your iPod or ride with you in your car, what music would we hear?
I listen to a wide variety of music, depending on what I have to learn for upcoming performances, what’s on the radio, and what I have with me on CD. Right now, I’m listening to the music of Sade, who will be on tour this year—I saw her in Boston in July. In the car, I listen to country, rock and roll, pop and classical music, NPR and talk radio.
Any music/songs people might be surprised about when they learn you listen to them?
I think most people would be surprised to know that I’m a big Led Zeppelin fan. Hard rock and progressive rock music of the 1970s and 1980s is a secret passion. I love the intensity of the music and the commitment of those musicians.
This has been a production of East Carolina University. To hear more, please visit www.ecu.edu/treasuredtunes.