Principal Flute, Marylou and John Dodds Turner Chair
Michael Gordon joined the Kansas City Symphony as principal flute in 2007. Since that time, he has worked actively throughout the region to promote the value of music in the community. In particular, he has collaborated with Arts in Prison to produce a series of chamber music concerts for inmates at Lansing Correctional Facility. He also serves as a board member for the Northeast Community Center that operates a tuition-free music education program for underprivileged children called Harmony Project KC. An active teacher and performer, Gordon has given numerous masterclasses and recitals in Kansas City, as well as around Missouri and nearby Kansas. Before moving to Kansas City, Gordon was a member of the New World Symphony where he also performed as a soloist in 2007. He has performed with several orchestras across the United States including the St. Louis Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra and the Oregon Symphony. He has performed as both an orchestral and chamber musician at numerous festivals including Tanglewood, the Aspen Music Festival, Arizona Music Fest, and most recently at Kansas City’s own Summerfest. Gordon is a native of Glocester, R.I., and he spent his formative years studying flute with Marianne Gedigian (current professor of flute at the University of Texas, Austin) and playing in youth orchestra and chamber music at the New England Conservatory. In 2004, he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rice University where he studied with Leone Buyse. Gordon plays a 14k gold flute made in 2001 by Verne Q. Powell flutes.
When I was very young, maybe 6 or 7 years old, I remember always playing with kazoos or really any type of toy wind instrument. I would sometimes take several kazoos, stick them together and pretend to play them like a clarinet (probably inspired by my mother who played a little clarinet). To this day I don’t know why, but somehow this led my father to suggest I take flute lessons since I seemed to show an interest of some sort in wind instruments. I was eight years old at the time, and my teacher thought I would be better off starting on recorder first. I took about six months of recorder lessons before moving on to flute, and the rest as they say, is history.
For me, the best thing about performing music is the opportunity it gives you to say something new about a piece of music every single time you play it. Sometimes you find yourself trying something new and totally unplanned right there in front of a thousand people. Neither you, nor your audience, can know quite how it will turn out until it’s done. I think that’s just the pinnacle of music making.
Shostakovich has always been one of the most inspiring composers to me. He was always true to his own voice even in the face of mortal danger. I aspire to the same level of musical integrity, but hopefully without the mortal danger.
After a concert, we musicians love places where the kitchen is open late. Tannin wine bar has always been a long time favorite!
My deck at home is definitely my favorite place to hang out. I toss some piece of animal on my grill, sip a few beverages, listen to some music, take in the fresh air, and when I’m feeling sporting I have my friends over to enjoy the whole experience with me. There’s definitely no place I’d rather be.