Director of Fine Arts Al Behrends assisted with the writing of this story.
If Antonio Herbert ’13 of Kissimee, Florida, ever wondered if his decision to attend Gustavus Adolphus College en route to a professional music career was the right one, the summer of 2012 affirmed his decision. Herbert, principal flutist in both the Gustavus Wind and Symphony Orchestras, had planned to spend the summer working on campus and practicing the flute whenever time allowed. That plan changed quickly, much to his benefit.
As a Collegiate Fellow in Norelius Hall and a student employee in the Gustavus Office of Fine Arts, Herbert met and befriended Semyon Rozin ’15 of Boevang, Luxembourg, whose father manages the Vianden International Music Festival. Rozin Sr. had worked with flutist Brad Garner of the New York Philharmonic and a professor of flute at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Julliard Pre-College, and New York University. That connection prompted Garner to invite Herbert to attend his summer flute symposium. In June, Herbert traveled to Los Angeles and was one of 11 flutists from across the nation to be invited to attend the Malibu Flute Symposium at Pepperdine University.
“It was a really refreshing experience to go to Los Angeles and be able to make new significant connections, and to work with professional musicians who could help me further my career in music,” Herbert said.
Following the conference at Pepperdine, Herbert met and worked with flutist Jim Walker through a connection with Suzan Pezzone Andrews, Hebert’s flute instructor in Florida. Walker offered Herbert an invitation and scholarship to return to Los Angeles and participate in a master’s class at the Colburn School. Walker, a motion picture, classical, and jazz flutist, is the founder of the renowned jazz flute ensemble “Free Flight,” which can be heard on the sound tracks of more than 700 motion pictures since 1988.
Walker’s offer to Herbert included participation in the clinic with 23 flutists from across the nation, and an offer to audition for the graduate program in flute performance at the University of Southern California. Herbert also had the occasion to meet renowned flutists and YouTube sensation Greg Patillo and was introduced to a new style of playing called Beat Box Flute.
“When I traveled to Los Angeles this second time, I said to myself ‘this is something I could get used to. Having the opportunity to work more in depth with Jim Walker only furthered my inspiration and made me really appreciate the connections I had made and the benefits of networking. Meeting Greg, someone who is a renowned beat box flutist, was a unique opportunity as well,” Herbert said.
Along with the clinics and master classes came an introduction to Jason Blank and the offer of an internship as Sales Specialist for the North America branch of the German flute company Bernhard Hammig Flutes. Blank wrote and published The Ten Rules of Flute and asked Herbert to help edit the next edition. Soon after, a paid position was added to the internship which included sales of Bernhard Hammig Flutes, working as editor for The Ten Rules of Flute, and publishing articles for Hammig’s website. Herbert’s initiation into the music business was staffing the Hammig booth at the August 2012 National Flute Convention in Las Vegas.
“Mr. Blank’s business is starting to take off so I’m excited to be a part of the endeavor as a Sales Specialist for Florida and Minnesota,” Herbert said.
With the experience of the summer behind him, Herbert is back on campus to finish his senior year at Gustavus and is pursuing a major in philosophy and a minor in music.
“My degree in philosophy has trained me to ask questions, to become a better writer, and to better communicate ideas with mentors in the music world,” Herbert said. “That combined with a minor in music and the opportunity to play in several ensembles at Gustavus has affirmed my experience as a Gustie and gives me excitement for what lies ahead.”
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