In 1993, the National Flute Association published an Anthology of American Flute Music, edited by John Solum, to commemorate the organization’s twentieth anniversary. Of the eighteen pieces included in The Anthology, seventeen had not previously been published, thus presenting the flute community with several new and outstanding works in a diverse array of compositional styles written between 1928 and 1989. While The Anthology initially received a good critical response, its relevance to the flute community quickly faded.
There are a variety of reasons that may account for the lack of success of The Anthology. Some explanations include the overwhelming presence of obscure, previously unpublished music that was unfamiliar to performers and audiences alike; the vast stylistic array of the pieces; and the numerous works within that are referred to as “elite” compositions, which are characteristically inaccessible to audiences. Performance records of works included in The Anthology at the National Flute Association’s annual conferences also reveal the prevalence of what are categorized as the “social” pieces of The Anthology over the “elite” compositions.
Unfortunately, The Anthology has fallen out of print. In addition, the compositions and composers represented within the collection (as well as The Anthology itself) have become relatively, if not entirely, unknown to the current generation of flutists and teachers. While this thesis serves to suggest why The Anthology was not as successful as its creators may have wanted or expected, it also hopes to plant a seed of interest in the readers to revive these pieces and incorporate them into future performances.