Flautist from Wolverhampton,
father was an engineer and preacher who also played piano and sang in a
choir. Kenneth would inherit
both his father’s engineering and musical genes, but there was little
opportunity at his school for music-making. They did have a small orchestra,
though, and needed a flautist.
Kenneth could play the recorder, and his music instructor encouraged
him to take up the flute. He
did, but quit school at fifteen years of age to become an apprentice in a
did not captivate him as much as the flute, however, and he started taking
formal lessons with Delia Ruhm, then Michael Hirst, at Birmingham’s
Midland Institute. He enrolled
at Cardiff College of Music and Drama in 1964 and studied under the
watchful eye of Hilary Evans.
His other teachers included Sebastian Bell, James Galway, Geoffrey
Gilbert, Stanley Gleave, Peter Lloyd, Marcel Moyse, and Frank Wilson.
In 1967, he
graduated and then furthered his education at St. Mark’s and St. John’s Teacher Training
College. Here he acquired a qualification to
teach, and teach he did in his home town of Wolverhampton. He started going on auditions and
won a spot in Bristol’s
BBC Training Orchestra.
In 1973, he
became a member of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. They toured Germany and Switzerland in the ‘80s
with flautist Aurele Nicolet. Aurele
informed Kenneth of an opening for a principal flute with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London. He even went so far as to give
Kenneth private instruction.
the first stage and the orchestra invited him to join them for a
fourteen-month trial period. Then,
just one week before his trial was to end, he
injured his Achilles tendon, while playing badminton. He had to go into the hospital and
have an operation. When he
awoke, he found himself with a full-length cast on his leg and was told he
would be out of commission for three months. Desperate to finish his trial, he
convinced doctors to cut the plaster at his knee and let him out
early. After making him sign
several legal documents to protect themselves, they did. He finished his trial on
crutches. (You try playing
Mozart and Shostakovich on crutches.)
Upon completion of his trial, he was awarded the job with the Philharmonia, and has been with them ever since.
discography consists of a staggering number of recordings, over 500 in toto, and only a handful can be mentioned here, for
obvious reasons. They
include: Best Wedding 50; Best
Wedding 100; The Big Country;
By the River in Spring; Enchantment: Music for Flute and Piano; Folk & Fantasy: British Flute Music Volume 2; Golden Flute; Idylls and Elegies:
Music by John Jeffreys; Messiaen:
Chamber Works; Mozart: Flute and Harp Concerto K.
299/Sinfonia Concertante K. 297b; The Reed of Pan—British Works for
Flute, Vol. 3; Secret Classics;
A Song without Words: The Legacy of Paul Taffanel; Summer
Music; To Pan and Syrinx; Trumpet
of the Century; Vivaldi: Mandolin Concertos/Violin
Concertos/Flute Concertos; and, Works
of Igor Stravinsky.
On many of the
above CDs (and a total of twelve including those not mentioned) you can
hear him accompanied by pianist Paul Rhodes. On 2nd April 2011, they
participated in The Arcomis International with a
program entitled “Frederic Griffith: a Welshman in Paris”. Their program comprised
Charles-Wilfred de Beriot’s “Sonata,
Op. 64”, Emile Bernard’s “Romance”, the world
premiere of Dafydd Bullock’s “Nocturne”,
on Edward German’s Savoy Opera Merrie England”,
and Paul Taffanel’s “Trois morceaux de lecture a vue”.