Artist Lecturer in Flute
Hailed as an “outstanding artist” (Der Standard, Austria) Pittsburgh Symphony Principal Flute, Lorna McGhee is equally at home in a solo, chamber or orchestral setting. She has performed concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in the UK; Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Philharmonia, and Victoria Symphony in Canada; Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, San Luis Obispo Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the USA; Kyushu Symphony in Japan, and Evergreen Symphony in Taipei. Career highlights include a performance of Penderecki's flute concerto under the baton of the composer, Bach’s B Minor suite with both Yannick Nézet-Seguin and Nicholas McGegan, the Ibert concerto with Juanjo Mena, Nielsen with Yan Pascal Tortelier and most recently the Mozart G major with Manfred Honeck. Upcoming highlights include performances of the Saariaho Flute Concerto entitled “Aile du Songe” with both the Pittsburgh Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra.
As a chamber musician and recitalist, Lorna has performed in Europe, North America, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and Australia, in venues such as the Wigmore Hall, London, the Louvre, Paris, the Schubertsaal of Vienna's Konzerthaus, and the Library of Congress, Washington. She has appeared at festivals such as the Edinburgh International Festival, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Society, Cleveland Chamberfest and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Her performances have been broadcast on NPR, CBC Radio in Canada, BBC Radio 3, Netherlands Radio and ABC (Australia). She has made chamber music recordings for EMI, Decca ASV, Naxos, and Meridian. Her recording for Naxos of Bax’ Chamber Music with the group ‘mobius’ was selected as Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine and received a 5-star rating from BBC Music Magazine. With Duo partner Heidi Krutzen, Lorna has released two CDs on Skylark Music: "Taheke, 20th century Masterpieces for flute and harp" and "Canada, New Works for flute and harp." As a member of Trio Verlaine (with her husband, violist David Harding and harpist, Heidi Krutzen) Lorna has recorded two CDs: “Fin de Siècle,” the music by Debussy and Ravel, and “Six Departures”, featuring works by Bax and Jolivet as well as new commissions by Schafer and Cotton. Both the Trio and Duo are committed to broadening the repertoire and have contributed eight new commissions to date. Lorna’s first recital disc, “The Hour of Dreaming” with pianist, Piers Lane was released on the ‘Beep’ label in 2014. A new recital CD for “Songs without Words” with pianist, Naoko Ishibashi was released on the ‘Live Notes’ label in the summer of 2021.
Known for her “exceptionally rich and vibrant tone” (Washington Post) Lorna has performed as guest principal with many of the world’s leading orchestras including Chicago Symphony, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. She has been fortunate to work with conductors such as Haitink, Gergiev, Blomstedt, Rattle, Solti, Harnoncourt, Muti and Honeck. Before immigrating to North America Lorna was co-principal flute of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London. She was appointed principal flute of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra by Manfred Honeck in 2012.
Having taught at the University of Michigan and the University of British Columbia, Lorna is now an Artist Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University and has given master classes at universities, conservatoires around the world, including The Juilliard School and the Royal Academy of Music. She has been a featured guest artist at international flute conventions in Austria, Japan, Australia, the UK, and the USA, and teaches at summer schools such as Orford Music, the William Bennett International Summer School, Galway Flute Festival and Pender Island Flute Retreat. Lorna is an honorary “Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music” and an Altus Flutes Artist. “Some of the finest flute playing you could ever hope to hear.” (British Flute Society, Pan Magazine).
I try to awaken the student’s own curiosity, enthusiasm, discernment, and artistry. I encourage a love, and reverence for the music, respect for one’s own work and a ‘generosity towards’, not ‘fear of’ the audience. We are best able to learn and integrate new ideas in an environment where stress levels are low, but alertness is high. Technique is merely physical co-ordination and we are at our most coordinated when the body is free from excess tension. Body awareness is a big part of my teaching – releasing unnecessary tension and building our trust & connection with the airstream, which is after all, the basis of all expression. Finding a natural connection to the breath gives us the ability to tap into the narrative quality of any piece of music, allowing us to ‘talk’ through our instrument. We can follow the example of great actors whose performance is enhanced by the range and subtlety with which they can vary their tone of voice. I find that the Alexander Technique is a great resource in this respect. The aim is to find greater and greater ease and mastery, both on a physical and mental level; performing with a peaceful body; being technically organized, finding meaning in the musical literature you are engaged with; having the skills to convey this meaning convincingly and authentically to the audience; finding relevance in your role as a musician within society as a whole. This approach is both an art and a discipline, allowing us to explore, through the flute, the fullest expression of the human voice. – L.M.