New York flutist and recording artist Don Bailey has been praised for his brilliant technique, bristling sense of excitement and artful colors. Highlights of his career include his recent work with legendary composer Gian Carlo Menotti in Gifford, Scotland. Working with Menotti in his home, Don compiled a chronology of the composer’s works and later co-curated the chamber music concerts at Menotti’s Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, which has attracted major artists and audiences every summer since 1958. In 2005, Don was a featured performer at Spoleto with Juilliard’s Attacca String Quartet and shared concerts with many renowned artists, including French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
Don enjoys multiple collaborations with a variety of artists worldwide. He performs with Columbus Symphony pianist Dianne Frazer Cross in concerts at National Flute Association conventions and in recitals at American universities and with noted German pianist Donald Sulzen, most recently at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich and at the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City.
A major ingredient in Don’s musical success is his keen sense of programming. Owing to his innovative choice of repertoire, his debut CD, Voyage, was hailed as “fresh and different …easy listening, yet quality classical music from around the world.” Now reaching out to an even wider audience, he performs “world music” blending Afro Cuban, Brazilian, Spanish, Italian and Columbian styles with composer, film-scorer and guitarist Christopher Caliendo of Los Angeles.
Don has been a featured soloist in New York’s Alice Tully Hall and has shared recitals with New York Philharmonic flutists in Columbia Artists Management (CAMI) Hall and Bruno Walter Auditorium. He performed with renowned mezzo-soprano Carolyn Sebron in the Wall-to-Wall Ravel and Debussy Festival at Symphony Space and presented recitals throughout Manhattan in the American Landmark Festival series with pianist Leslie Jones of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He was also solo flutist with Classical Quintessence aboard the Cunard cruise ship Vistafjord (later renamed Caronia) and toured several countries in Europe, North Africa, and South America.
Don has performed with the Aspen Festival Orchestra, the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, the Dallas Bach Orchestra, the Shreveport Symphony, and Voices of Change, a modern chamber music ensemble in residence at Southern Methodist University in Texas. He won first place in the World Flute Band competition in Belfast, Northern Ireland, with his performances with the Charlotte Flute Choir and has been featured at national music events, including the Festival of Women Composers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and several National Flute Association annual conventions. Don performed selections from his debut CD, Voyage (Summit Records, 1999), in Atlanta with members of the Atlanta Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra and later with the Voyage String Quartet in Washington, D.C.
Critics hailed Voyage as “impeccably controlled sound . . . full of artful colors and nuances” and “exceptional attention to detail . . . captivating repertoire exquisitely performed by Don Bailey.” The Director of Chamber Music at The Juilliard School said of Voyage: “Don Bailey has released a CD that showcases a number of lesser-known flute jewels, and the flute world should be grateful to him for it. These pieces are beautiful, and the musicians offer lovely and convincing interpretations. . . The energy level is high, and the flute playing extraordinary.”
Don’s latest CD, Tribute (Genuin, 2004), recorded with pianist Donald Sulzen at the Rudolf-Oetker-Halle in Bielefeld, Germany, is so named to honor the long-standing friendship of the two performers, who first met in graduate school. Tribute includes a diverse range of selections from 20th century composers, including Boulanger, Gieseking, Muczynski, Poulenc and Ravel. Fanfare magazine called Tribute “a delight from beginning to end,” offering “real musical substance” and “performances [that] are impressive, enjoyable, and satisfying.” As a flutist, Fanfare said, “Don Bailey boasts a brilliant technique and a bristling sense of excitement. . . . [His] performance is excellent, highly charged, and exciting.”
Don can also be heard on composer Katherine Hoover’s CD Kokopeli (Parnassus Records), on which he performs two flute duets – the Entr’acte from Bizet’s Carmen and the Trio of the Young Ishmaelites from Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ – with Ms. Hoover and harpist Victoria Drake. He has performed live on radio stations WNYC in New York and KUT in Austin, Texas, and his recordings are aired on radio stations throughout the world.
Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Don began playing the flute at age ten and became, in two consecutive years, the top flutist in Mississippi's top all-state band. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Southern Mississippi on full scholarship and attended North Texas State University for his master's and doctoral studies in flute performance. In addition, he earned artist diplomas from the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado and the prestigious Academie d’ete in Nice, France, founded by the late Jean-Pierre Rampal. Don was interviewed by Windplayer Magazine for inclusion in Flute Stories - 101 Inspirational Stories by the World's Best Flute Players, which was unveiled at the Las Vegas National Flute Association Convention in August 2003. This book has become essential reading for anyone in the performing arts.
Don has taught flute at several American universities, served as president of the Texas and Louisiana Flute Societies and for five years was a board member of the New York Flute Club for which he interviewed New York's distinguished flutists and published a monthly newsletter. He is a frequent adjudicator of Young Artist Competitions, and his articles have been published in national music journals, including Flute Talk magazine. He is also a former board member of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Association, an affiliate of the Dallas Symphony.
His teachers include the distinguished flutists Julius Baker, Harvey Boatright, Michel Debost, Geoffrey Gilbert, Alain Marion, Judith Mendenhall, George Morey, Marcel Moyse, and Albert Tipton.
Don performs on a handmade 14-carat gold Brannen-Cooper flute.