Heavenly Flute Players 25 - Georges Laurent
Born in Paris on June 7th, 1886, Georges began his studies under his uncle, Monsieur Bas, an oboist in the Paris Opera House. After a good beginning, his uncle thought it best that he study seriously with a great master, and so the 11 year old lad presented himself to Philippe Gaubert. Gaubert laughed when he saw the flute Georges had - a wooden flute with seven keys - and proposed that, to study seriously, he should obtain a modern silver flute. That night at the opera, his uncle was talking with his friend the harpist, who was bewailing the fact that he had lost a lot of money at the races, and must sell some items to raise the money to pay off the debt. One of the items he wished to sell was a French silver flute. It was shown to Gaubert, who advised its purchase.
After three years of hard study, Gaubert thought it time that Georges enter the Paris Conservatoire (Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris) to study with the great teacher, Paul Taffanel. There were twenty five applicants for the two places, and each had to play a concerto. Georges was one of the two selected.
After three years in Paris, he briefly served in the army but after the Armistice was signed in 1918, he was able to begin a more normal musical career.
Taffanel had died, and his successor at the Conservatoire, Adolphe Hennebains, who had been a good friend to Laurent, also died leaving the position of principal flute in the Conservatoire Orchestra vacant. Andre Messager the conductor offered the position to Georges who was overwhelmed. 'It was truly a great honour to occupy the place held by such talented players as Dorus, Taffanel, Hennebains and Gaubert', he said.
He remained with the orchestra for two years, and during an American tour, the conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra , Mr Ribaud, heard him, and offered him the place as Principal Flute in that orchestra, a position he held for many years. In 1921 he formed the Boston Flute Players Club, a year after Barrère formed the New York Flute Club. He also started a chamber music group specialising in the music of Louis XIV and XV.
He brought to the US the tonal ideals of Taffanel and the French School, and together with Barrère with his championship of the silver flute, was a major influence on the US players which has lasted until the present day.
There are numerous press reports of his flawless technique and wonderful singing tone.
Laurent died in 1964 aged 78