Cakes and music will combine when GSO celebrates principal flautist Suzanne Blewett’s 40 years with the orchestra at their Spring Concert on Saturday March 23, at 7.30pm in St Barnabas Church, Gloucester. Suzanne will be playing John Rutter’s beautiful Suite Antique and the programme will include Brahms’ Symphony No 1 and Borodin’s Overture to Prince Igor.
Suzanne joined the orchestra as principal flautist at 20 years old, having just left the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where she completed three diplomas in performing and teaching – and won the 20th Century Woodwind Prize. Her teachers were Stanley Gleave, from the Halle Orchestra, and Douglas Townsend.
John Sanders was the conductor of GSO at the time and rehearsals were held in Gloucester Cathedral, where he was organist. Suzanne later played under the baton of Mark Finch until 2013, when current musical director Glyn Oxley took over.
Suzanne’s teaching career took off simultaneously with her joining GSO. It was 40 years ago when she began teaching at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, where former GSO leader Claire Piper was Head of Music. During her career, she taught at several state and independent schools, including Wycliffe College, where she still teaches today.
In 1985, she formed The Cotswold Flute Choir, which had 35 players and toured Malta, Spain and Italy. She ran it single-handedly for 26 years, gaining the support and recognition of the county music service.
Several of Suzanne’s students have won the coveted Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year contest which is now organised by GSO.
During her 40 years of playing and teaching, Suzanne has travelled to Hong Kong to teach and perform, she has played with the Ma Bellini Quintet in Florence and performed many of the major flute concertos – from Neilson, Chaminade, Reinecke to Mozart. John Rutter’s Suite Antique is one of her favourites.
Suzanne, who lives in Hucclecote with husband Bob, will be celebrating her 40th wedding anniversary this summer.
Tickets £12, £9 (conc) on the door or in advance from www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/spring-concert-tickets-54794921084