2013 Guest Artists

The Texas Flute Society is proud to present our 2013 Guest Artists
Holly Hofmann, Conor Nelson, Thomas Robertello, Valerie Estes Johnson


HollyHofmannBorn in Cleveland, Ohio, Holly Hofmann always had her head in music. Her first memories as a musician are some of her fondest. At age 5 she would spend evenings playing a child’s flutophone, accompanying her father, a jazz guitarist, on standards from the Great American Songbook. Although her parents were jazz fans themselves, they insisted she have a solid foundation in classical technique. She attended high school at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and then gained her formal education through studies with the Cleveland Orchestra’s principal flutist Maurice Sharp. She earned her bachelor’s in music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and her graduate degree from the University of Northern Colorado.

Following graduate studies in Colorado, Hofmann moved to San Diego, California, and began working with pianist Mike Wofford and bassist Bob Magnusson, both long-time stalwarts of the California jazz scene. She also began performing nationally with pianist Bill Cunliffe, a partnership that led to several recordings in duo and other configurations for Cleveland-based Azica Records. Hofmann began working with the legendary Ray Brown at New York’s Village Vanguard in the mid-‘90s and later toured throughout the United States and Europe with Brown’s trio as a guest artist.

With twelve recordings as a leader in the duo or quartet setting, Holly Hofmann is earning respect for the flute as a jazz instrument. Audiences and promoters recognize her as one of the premiere jazz flutists in the world, and alto great Phil Woods, while describing her performance at the Telluride Jazz Festival, said “Along with Hubert Laws, Holly is frankly the best jazz flute player today.”

Hofmann teaches jazz and flute and conducts master classes at schools and universities around the country. She is on the Board of Directors at Keynote Jazz Foundation which provides concerts and clinics in high schools and middle schools in the United States.

For more information about Holly, click here.

ConorNelsonCanadian flutist Conor Nelson gave his New York recital debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and has since appeared frequently as soloist and recitalist throughout the United States and abroad. Recent solo engagements include performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Flint Symphony, and numerous other orchestras. The only wind player to win the Grand Prize at the WAMSO Young Artist Competition, he also won first prize at the William C. Byrd Young Artist Competition. In addition, he has received top prizes at the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition and the Haynes International Flute Competition.

As a chamber musician, he performs regularly with marimbist/percussionist, Ayano Kataoka as part of the Conor and Ayano Duo. Involved in several exciting commissioning projects for their genre, the duo has performed in Merkin Concert Hall, CAMI Hall, The Tokyo Opera City Hall, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Izumi Hall, and as guest artists for the Ottawa Flute Association in Canada. He has also collaborated with Claude Frank, Peter Frankl, Spencer Myer, Colin Carr, Jesse Levine, and the Biava and Calder string quartets. With the Intrada Winds he was a prizewinner at the Fischoff, Coleman and Yellow Springs national chamber music competitions and performed at several prestigious concert series throughout the United States. As an orchestral flutist, he has worked with the Detroit Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke, and the Tulsa Symphony as well as prestigious summer programs including the National Repertory Orchestra, the National Orchestral Institute, and the Aspen, Banff, and Brevard summer music festivals.

A dedicated artist teacher of flute, Conor is currently the Assistant Professor of Flute at Bowling Green State University. He received degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, and Stony Brook University where he was the winner of the school-wide concerto competitions at all three institutions. He is also a recipient of the Thomas Nyfenger Prize, the Samuel Baron Prize, and the Presser Award. His principal teachers include Carol Wincenc, Ransom Wilson, Linda Chesis and Susan Hoeppner.

For more information about Conor, click here.

ThomasRobertelloInternationally acclaimed for his musical imagination and virtuosity, flutist Thomas Robertello enjoys a multifaceted career as a soloist with orchestra, recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral player and teacher. He has been a member of several elite American orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony and the National Symphony Washington, D.C. Many orchestral tours with the world’s leading conductors have taken him to the music centers and festivals of the U.S., Europe, South America and the Middle and Far East.

As one of the leading flute professors in the world, Mr. Robertello is currently on the faculty of Indiana University School of Music. He has also served on the faculties of the Cleveland Institute of Music and Carnegie Mellon University. He regularly presents recitals and masterclasses throughout the US and Japan and has made solo appearances at Pacific Music Festival, Nara Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Brevard Music Center and numerous other venues. He has also presented recitals in South America and South Korea and has given masterclasses at the Shanghai Conservatory in China. Robertello was the first featured flute soloist at the Kirishima Festival in Japan in 2003. He has appeared as soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Londrina Festival Orchestra Brazil as well as on Bartok Radio Hungary.

A versatile solo performer with an extremely varied repertoire, Robertello is also a leader in the effort to expand the flute’s solo literature and the role of the flute in new music. He has commissioned and championed the works of several young composers including Martin Kennedy, David Dzubay, Mischa Zupko and Matthew Van Brink. Solo recordings include Gypsy Wheel on Crystal Records – music by Griffes, Bizet/Borne, Taffanel as well as three new commissions with pianist Winston Choi. Other solo recordings include Souvenir – Music by Faure and Martin Kennedy with the composer at the piano for RIAX and Thomas Robertello Flute Recital recorded live during Mr. Robertello’s Japan debut tour in 1996.

For more information about Thomas, click here.

Valerie EstesValerie Estes Johnson is the winner of the 2012 Myrna W. Brown Artist Competition and the 2012 Byron Hester Competition. She has also won prizes in the National Flute Association Orchestral Excerpt Competition, the Pittsburgh Flute Club Competition, and the New York Flute Club Competition. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Texas Tech University under the study of Lisa Garner Santa and a Masters of Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under Bradley Garner. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Colorado at Boulder with Christina Jennings. Other teachers include Randy Bowman, Jean Ferrandis, and Alexa Still.

For more information about Valerie, click here.