AYO National Music Camp: 1952-57
Playing in the orchestra for Broadway musical Camelot – starring Richard Burton and Julie Andrews – increased flautist John Wion’s literary consumption: ‘I memorised the score, so I would put a book on my music stand in front of the sheet music. In between playing, I read War and Peace and other classic novels.’
John’s love for orchestral playing began with AYO’s 1952 National Music Camp: ‘I waited for the downbeat from conductor John Bishop. Suddenly life opened for me; this beautiful sound – all-encompassing, vibrating. No other experience in my life has been like it.’
Following his attendance at two more National Music Camps and study at the Conservatorium, John played principal flute for the visiting New York City Ballet. This in turn led to him to New York City where, after serious study for a year during which he ran elevators and delivered packages at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, he got a big break subbing for a week with the New York Philharmonic.
John’s amazing performance and teaching career from 1956-2007 included the New York City Ballet, New York City Opera (where Turandot once crashed through the scenery during a dress rehearsal), and founding member of Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony, plus Professor of Flute at the Hartt School.
John has drawn on drew on this experience to publish a nine-volume series of opera excerpt books to help flautists prepare for auditions and performances. His editions and publications have been winners in the National Flute Association’s Newly Published Music Competition. He was president of the National Flute Association in 1985 and was honoured by that organisation with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
His memoir Wood, Silver and Gold – A Flautist’s Life has been published by Lulu Press.