John Solum is an award-winning musician, author, educator, and advocate for the arts.
Settling in New York City in 1958, Solum launched an international solo and chamber music career which has taken him to 37 countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. His concert appearances include recitals at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Frick Collection in New York, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In 1962 he was the first flutist to be soloist at the newly inaugurated Lincoln Center in New York. He performed at the White House in Washington in 1970 for a presidential state dinner honoring the prime minister of Great Britain. In 1973 he toured the United States, Bermuda and Canada under Columbia Artists Management as guest soloist with the English Sinfonia. In 1983 he became the first American flutist to give recitals in the Soviet Union. He has been featured at music festivals throughout the world, including Mostly Mozart at Lincoln Center, Vermont Mozart, Oregon Bach, Aston Magna, Music Mountain, Montreux, Haslemere, and the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, Switzerland. With chamber music groups he has appeared at the festivals of Edinburgh, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Flanders, Prague Spring, Lucerne, Dubrovnik, Helsinki, Versailles, Llandaff, Caramoor, and the Cervantes Festival in Mexico. Singers that have worked with Solum include Roberta Peters, Bethany Beardslee and Arlene Auger, and the instrumentalists Henryk Szeryng, Nicanor Zabaleta, Elaine Shaffer, Ann Schein, Robert Helps, Ralph Kirkpatrick, Albert Fuller and Igor Kipnis.
Solum has been an influential figure in the early music movement. He was co-founder of the Connecticut Early Music Festival, serving as artistic director for 17 years. In England he founded the Bath Summer School of Baroque Music, which he directed for ten years. He has edited many editions of music for Oxford University Press, the publishers of his book, ''The Early Flute.
Solum's discography includes over 100 works for flute and reflects his interest in both modern and historical instruments. On historical flutes his solo recordings include the Mozart Flute Concertos (EMI) and the Bach Flute Sonatas (Arabesque). On modern flute his recordings for EMI include the concertos of Ibert, Jolivet, Honegger and, with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the two Malcolm Arnold Flute Concertos as well as an album of six Romantic works for solo flute and orchestra. In 2001 he began making a series of recordings for MSR Classics with the Hanoverian Ensemble, a period-instrument group. In 2007 he collaborated with Vanessa, Lynn and Corin Redgrave on a benefit recording for Broadway Cares and The Actors Fund.
More than 20 composers have written works for him, including Jack Beeson, John Eaton, Roger Goeb, Viktor Kalabis, Ulysses Kay, Leo Kraft, Meyer Kupferman, Ezra Laderman, Otto Luening, David Macbride, Lionel Nowak and Richard Wilson. Aaron Copland wrote his "Duo for Flute and Piano" in response to Solum's request to compose a work in memory of William Kincaid.
He has served on review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Hampshire Arts Council. For six years he was treasurer of the National Flute Association and is a past president of the New York Flute Club. He has been a visiting professor at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, at Indiana University, and a lecturer at Vassar College.
In addition to his activities related to music, Solum has had a lifelong interest in the visual arts. In 1994 he began championing the work of the pioneering American modernist artist, James Daugherty (1887–1974). Solum's initiatives have led to special exhibitions of Daugherty's art, lectures, television documentaries, articles, and the recovery and restoration of ten of his large-scale murals, including four in Cleveland's State Theater at Playhouse Square and six New Deal murals in Greenwich, Stamford, and Darien, Connecticut.
Honors and awards
Solum's honors include the Distinguished Service Award from the National Flute Association and the Distinguished Advocates Award from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.
- The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed.
- The New Grove Dictionary of American Music
- Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians
- Baker's Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians
- Who's Who in America
- Who's Who in the East
- Who's Who in American Education
- Who's Who in the World
- International Who's Who in Classical Music
- John Solum at the Vassar College Department of Music