Age knows no boundaries for flutist


He celebrated his 80th birthday in January, but Swiss flutist Peter- Lukas Graf — who is still active as a performer, conductor and teacher — is touring Japan.

“There is a proverb by an ancient Greek philosopher that says: ‘Don’t be excessive.’ Basically, I tried to follow this. I don’t drink too much. I stopped smoking, unfortunately when I was 50. I don’t do too much sport; I think sport is unhealthy. And I eat healthy food,” Graf replies when asked about his youthfulness. “These are small things. I was just lucky.”

After studying flute in Zurich under Andre Jaunet and at an elite Paris conservatoire, Graf was principal flutist with the Winterthur Symphony Orchestra from 1950-56, and won the first prize at the International Music Competition in Munich, Germany in 1953. In 1960, he also made his debut as a conductor at the Lucerne Theater, before becoming principal conductor there from 1962-66.

Graf is one of the most important and influential flutists in the world. He is also known as the author of key textbooks for many flute students.

“I have tried to tell and show young people that the aim is not to play flute well — but to express music by this means.” Graf emphasizes.

Graf is on tour in Japan giving recitals featuring J.S. Bach’s Flute Sonata in E major BWV1035 and Three Romances composed by Schumann. Tickets for the Tokyo concert have already sold out, but there are tickets available for the recitals in Sapporo, Nagoya and Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, later this month.

Also, Graf has flute seminars scheduled in Tokyo, Sapporo and Utsunomiya, which are open to members of the public.

Peter-Lukas Graf Flute Recital takes places on April 11 at Sapporo Sunplaza Hall in Sapporo at 7 p.m.; April 14 at Denki Bunka Kaikan Hall in Nagoya at 7 p.m.; April 19 at Tochigi-ken Sogo Bunka Center at 2 p.m. Tickets are ¥3,500-¥4,000. For more details, call (03) 5488-1684 (Yamaha)