William Bennett made the flute his voiceby Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
Moorhead, Minn. — English flutist William Bennett says he wanted to be a singer, but his teachers told him at an early age that he didn't have much of a natural voice. So the flute became his voice, first the wooden recorder, then, hoping to be like the men playing in the local orchestras, he fashioned a bicycle pump to work as a flute. His parents quickly found a way to purchase him a real flute and young William Bennett (Wibb to his friends) was on his way to becoming one of the most successful musicians in England.
Bennett has performed with every major orchestra in England and continues his work with the English Chamber Orchestra, but it is in his solo work and the over 300 pieces he has recorded that he has made his real mark in the music world. His playing makes the flute not just an "acrobatic" orchestral instrument, but one that possesses the wide breadth of colors, dynamics and tonal interest of a string instrument.
Bennett travels the world extensively, teaching and performing and continues tinkering with instruments (no longer bicycle pumps), helping to improve the pitch of the modern flute along with fellow flute maker Albert Cooper. He has been presenting masterclasses at Concordia College and will perform a recital Tuesday evening. He spoke with Classical Music host Alison Young.