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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christina Smith takes on Mozart's warhorse

Christina Smith takes on Mozarts Flute Concerto No. 1 as a soloist with the ASO this weekend. Smith says the beautiful pieces familiarity can make it especially challenging.
  • Christina Smith takes on Mozart's Flute Concerto No. 1 as a soloist with the ASO this weekend.
Mozart's Flute Concert No. 1 is one of those pieces: even if you don't think you know it, you know it. If you've ever been put on hold while making a phone call, you've probably heard Mozart's Flute Concerto No 1. “It's one of the most well-known flute pieces ever,” says ASO Principal Flutist Christina Smith who will perform the challenging concerto this weekend at Symphony Hall. “It's been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.”

A native Californian, Smith first began playing the flute at age 7: she studied at the Curtis Institute and joined the ASO in 1991 as the youngest principal flutist in the nation. The piece, she says, is almost always used to audition flutists, and most players have the whole thing memorized front to back. It's challenging in that it requires technical precision, flawless intonation, perfect tone and an ability to play a classic with a fresh approach. “It's so familiar sometimes you can lose sight of how beautiful and brilliant it is,” she says. “But it's an absolutely gorgeous work of art. It's great to have the chance to stand up and play it, not as an audition, but just for the fun of it.”

As for what to pair with the evening of classic Mozart, Sibelius, and Beethoven: Smith recommends her favorite Italian restaurant Ecco a few blocks from Symphony Hall for drinks and dinner before the show. “The cheese plate is incredible,” she says. “And it would all go perfectly with a nice white wine.”

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra plays a program including Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 2, Sibelius' Symphony No. 2, and Mozart's Flute Concerto No. 1 with Principal Flute Christina Smith as soloist on Thursday, November 17, and Saturday, November 19, at 8 pm. For more information, visit the ASO.

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