Kevin Puts, a twenty-first century composer, has captivated the ears and minds of many listeners throughout the world. However, knowing the backstory of how a piece was composed can change your perspective. In addition, Puts has developed close friendships with his patrons resulting in special dedications/commissions for some. For Example, Puts’s Flute Concerto was commissioned by a couple named Bette and Joe Hirsch, who fell in love with his music when his second symphony was performed by Marin Alsop, the director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California. Kevin Puts is a good example of how modern composer attracts patrons to be able to commission his works.
As mentioned before, this flute concerto was commissioned by the couple who had admired some of his previous work. As a result, Bette secretly asked Marin Alsop, about commissioning an orchestral piece for Joe’s 75th birthday. However, Joe had also simultaneously inquired Alsop about commissioning a chamber piece for their 35th wedding anniversary. Puts decided that composing a single work (the flute concerto) would be suffice for both requests. Puts looked forward to composing this flute concerto not only because it was for close friends but because he had yet to compose a flute concerto, and because Bette was a former flute player.
Although critiques may have not appreciated this concerto as much and the audience, Kevin believes that this is one of his best works. In an interview conducted by Robert Raines, Kevin admitted that he was proud that he received a standing ovation during the premier. However, he mentions that he read critic reviews that were not in his favor. Despite the negative reviews, Puts disregards them and continues to feel like it is his best work yet. He supports his claim by mentioning how difficult it can be to orchestrate the right balance between a flute and an orchestra but, he felt he did a decent job.
Finally, in a home video made by Puts, he informs his viewers that he came up with the melody for the first movement in college. The melody is comprised of several motives but the first motive also becomes important in the third movement. The melody for the second movement was inspired by the slow movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto K.467. The final movement is a variation of the melody of the first movement but is also played fast and with energy.
In conclusion, Kevin Puts’s Flute Concerto is no simple piece composed for a needy patron. On the contrary, this concerto has a much deeper meaning than some care to realize. Acknowledging the dedication of the piece to the inspirations that helped develop the piece to what it is now can change your perspective of the music.
“Official Website of Composer Kevin Puts.” Kevin Puts – Composer. Accessed March 12, 2019. http://www.kevinputs.com/program/flute.html.
“Flute Concerto: III. Very Fast, with Tremendous Energy.” YouTube. April 14, 2017. Accessed March 12, 2019. https://youtu.be/LkPnkdJhckg.
Raines, Robert. 2015. Composition in the Digital World : Conversations with 21st Century American Composers. Cary: Oxford University Press, Incorporated. Accessed March 12, 2019. ProQuest Ebook Central.
“Kevin Puts Flute Concerto.” YouTube. July 22, 2013. Accessed March 12, 2019. https://youtu.be/hww3YVD1QYc.