Craig Smith, THE SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN…read…read

Wevonneda Minis, THE POST AND COURIER…read

“New-music luminary, flutist Margaret Lancaster…..Christy Fisher played the Guardian with sweeping arms, birdlike twitches and fierce stomps.  Twice Ms. Lancaster joined her, matching her animated steps and lending voice to her urgent gestures. In the end, for all the variety of its borrowings, what resulted was a strong, unified and strikingly individual utterance of unambiguous beauty.”
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“The superb musicians were Margaret Lancaster, flutist…”

“Margaret Lancaster has burst onto the scene as our leading proponent of the avant-garde flute…What distinguishes Lancaster is her versatility, a willingness to let her flute be the focus of anything from technopop to theater to tap dancing, along with a breathless fluidity of line that raises every performance above the merely technically correct…Lancaster pulled the feat off (Stop Time for tap-dancing flutist) with credible panache dramatizing how much more than just an expert flutist she is, and how much work composers will have to do in the future to do justice to her theatrical and choreographic potential.”

“Ms. Lancaster’s flute spit and barked beyond its usual repertory … a virtuoso versatility was both demanded and achieved.”
Bernard Holland, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Uninhibited theatrical”

“On IO, Flutist Margaret Lancaster performs a program that spans nearly three quarters of a century…Atmos is a stunning showcase for Lancaster…Lancaster affords it (Seegersong #2) the precision its tricky rhythmic shifts require, all the while maintaining a sumptuous tone….it takes an artist of Lancaster’s caliber to make piccolo diverting for twenty minutes; a task she accomplishes handily here.”
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“‘For Philip Guston’ might be likened to an extended musical meditation, in which sounds of ever deepening beauty immerse and surround the listener. After a while, the very atmosphere seems charged…The performances, by Lydia Brown on piano and celesta, Margaret Lancaster on flutes and piccolo and David Tolen on glockenspiel, vibraphone, marimba and chimes, were deft and unfailingly poetic, a mixture of Olympian calm and fierce concentration.”
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About ‘For Philip Guston’: “Besides their superb musicianship and focus, they should be lauded for their physical fortitude in this piece…Margaret Lancaster alternated playing flute, alto flute and piccolo with never a minute to rest, and always produced a beautiful and expressive tone.”

“Like nearly all of Santa Fe New Music’s presentations, last week’s “The Colors of Music” hit the artistic bull’s-eye. The two-concert mini-festival offered challenging but accessible repertoire performed in unusual yet appropriate spaces by first-rate artists who’d been given enough rehearsal time to do their jobs right. Other Santa Fe arts groups, please note.
On Jan. 17, Margaret Lancaster starred in “ Toneland Security,” a tour de-force solo concert of several pieces for flutes and electronics at Charlotte Jackson Project Space off Airport Road. This new warehouse building is a home for special events and large works by artists of Jackson’s gallery, and it suited the concert both conceptually and  acoustically. A well-trained actor, dancer, player, and musician — no, those last two aren’t always the same — Lancaster projected confidence without hauteur. One of the easiest performers I’ve seen in some time, she was in absolute command of her instruments, the repertoire, and the situation. She appeared not to have any altitude-adjustment problems at all. Lancaster performs this repertoire often, but she treated each piece freshly and with as much reverence as if she were playing another of her specialties, Bach. She commanded difficult extended techniques as easily as straightforward playing. Twice she played some of the shorter pieces in sequence without a break — a nice touch. My own favorites on this concert were Kathryn Alexander’s 1985 … and the whole air is tremulous, an atmospheric experience for flute and tape inspired by a  poetic passage from Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room; Francesco Antonioni’s serenely evocative and severely sensual Organum II, written in 2005 for alto flute and sinusoidal generator; and Jacob ter Veldhuis’ 1998 Lipstick for flutes and boombox — florid, funny, and full of streetwise sass.
On Jan. 19 at SITE Santa Fe, Lancaster joined two excellent musicians, pianist Deborah Wagner and percussionist David Tolen, for a rare performance of Morton Feldman’s 1985 For Philip Guston. Written as a tribute to the groundbreaking neo- Expressionist painter, Feldman’s longtime friend, the four- hour- plus piece is scored for flute, alto flute, and piccolo; piano and celesta; and vibraphone, glockenspiel, marimba, and chimes…Most of the musical material lies in a mid- to high-range compass with few excursions into any bass depth, and is performed within a similarly restricted dynamic palette. But those parameters, filled with the gentle, bell- like instrumental sounds, lined an impressive and ever- changing sonic canvas conducive both to meditation and appreciation. Though it might sound somewhat aimless, Guston has a meticulously notated and quite complex musical map: Feldman wrote out every note, rest, dynamic level, and accent, not to mention constant meter changes within the basic slow tempo. Lancaster, Wagner, and Tolen beautifully maintained their accuracy and ensemble in the face of those  severe demands,  functioning like a single creative unit as much as any group of artists  could. Their performance was concentrated, ardent, enthralling, and exquisite — something to remember with gratitude.”

“This program featured flutist Margaret Lancaster, a masterful performer who has had numerous vehicles composed for her…it must be said that as a soloist Lancaster’s sense of timing and articulation, her focused releases and confident phrasing, as well as a wealth of sheer technical command, all place her in the front ranks of contemporary instrumental artistry.”
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“Lancaster’s arch Bond-girl pose on the cover is entirely appropriate. In her hands the flute veers between seductive siren song and high velocity assault weapon. These six pieces were written for her by composers alert to her technical strengths and musical temperament. Her slippery twists, turns and tangents are glossed by ingenious percussive and electroacoustic designs, remote from the formulaic accompaniment so often reserved for the instrument. All delivered with astonishing breath control and a knowing smile, this is without question the most exciting flute-driven album since Barbara Held’s Upper Air Observation (1991).”
Julian Cowley, THE WIRE

“Welcome to the stage an oracle by the name of Margaret Lancaster. Ms. Lancaster is a flautist extraordinaire, a star of the silver screen, a dancer, and a former Secretary of Education under Calvin Coolidge…Margaret ‘The Lung’ Lancaster has an amazing track record for new music…All the works on Future Flute are well recorded and dynamically performed. The six compositions from four composers cohere pleasantly, allowing the CD to function as an album rather than as a disparate collection of works. The packaging for the disc is fitting to the content: exciting, alluring, and referential to a media-driven society. I highly recommend Future Flute to any and all. As the first appearance of the voice in Once-a-thon states, ‘the more you listen, the sooner success will come.'”

The physical qualitites of an artist can sometimes be as important as his or her musical talent. By the time you’ve read this, we’re sure you have already laid your eye on the cool cover of this CD, which see Margaret Lancaster audition for the next Bond movie or the summer’s high heel collection (you decide), but that’s not what we’re talking about here! Rather, we’re on about the capacity of her lungs, which all composers involved in this remarkable project are infallibly inclined to mention in the poignant liner notes to each piece. Which is not to say that Lancaster is aiming at the Olympics with Future Flute.
What it does imply, though, is the greatest possible freedom for any composer working with her. Which could well be the reason why Margaret may indeed be the ‘flutist of choice for hoards of composers’, as the booklet promises and why each collaboration seems to have evolved in a mood of mutual respect and utmost seriousness, yet never without a hearty dose of humour…Future Flute is contemporary and up-to-date, buzzing and sizzling with life and energy, demanding and thought-provoking, while simultaneously seeking to entertain the listener…Throughout, Lancaster stays away from any divaisms-she is a partner of the electronics, not their antipode. Which is why this CD doesn’t sound like a typical flute-album at all, but rather like a well-attuned collection of always enjoyable, mostly spiky, sometimes quirky, occasionally majestic and never tiresome ‘new music.’ What remains is a feeling of optimism and curiousness at the next projects by those involved as well as of being impressed by this vibrant pair of lungs.A breath of fresh air, so to speak.”
Tobias Fischer, TOKAFI.COM

”The company is quite fine overall…Margaret Lancaster appropriately droll as the maid Helene.”
Adam R. Perlman, BACKSTAGE.COM

About Composition for Four Instruments by Milton Babbitt:
“Though full of incident the music is curiously and fascinatingly still. It remains for the performers not so much to propel it as to make it glow, and that happened here, thanks to a careful attention to the dynamics, to the feeling of partnership within the ensemble, and to the players’ maintaining their concentration right through to the closing section.”
Paul Griffiths, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Flutist Margaret Lancaster’s facile technique, fiery chops and ardent musicianship have won her a reputation as the “go-to girl” for contemporary flute music. Her mastery of the instrument is indeed impressive, as anyone who has heard her play can attest…In summary all I can say is, “more of Margaret Lancaster please!”

“Lancaster’s performance was stunning. Her flute playing was most impressive, featuring a keen sense of linear shaping, nimble technique, and substantial tone, even when prancing about the stage or lying flat on her back. And special commendation is due for her accomplished tap-dancing.”
David Cleary, 21ST CENTURY MUSIC

“Percussionist Matthew Gold and flautist Margaret Lancaster went further, exploring a range of different structural uses of percussion with flute�The combination of new and not-so-new compositions displayed the virtuosity of the performers and provided a well-balanced experience for the audience…The concert was a brilliant success at showcasing the instruments as both cooperative and contrasting forces…Less talented performers may have had trouble delivering such a variety of approaches with equal assurance. However, Matthew Gold and Margaret Lancaster gave masterful performances, thoroughly at ease in the musical language of each work on this excellent program.”

About Left at the Fork in the Road (Naxos 559279):
“Every piece is nearly flawless, exciting and played with tremendous passion. All of the soloists (for example, Margaret Lancaster, flute) are consistently hailed for fine playing, so another heap of praise seems superlative. If you know the players, and you should, you konw you are in for a treat.”
Christopher Chaffee, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE

“…the commanding flute of Margaret Lancaster.”
Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Margaret Lancaster’s playing reflected the highest level of musicianship.”

“Margaret Lancaster, who stars in both plays, shows off her versatility, exhibiting a hardboiled quality in Desperation and a playful comic touch in Felony Games.”
Barbara and Scott Siegel, DRAMA-LOGUE

“Lancaster’s supple, pretty melodies on piccolo were occasionally interrupted by piercing splats, and a faux march ended on a sudden stopped note that was the equivalent of a last gasp. Lancaster, a virtuoso and nationally known lecturer and soloist, turned to the larger alto flute for ‘And Then All At Once’…The piece was mellow and hypnotic.”

“It (Kurtag’s ‘Dolorosa’) lived up to its dolorous title, and Margaret Lancaster played it, and the Takemitsu (‘Air), quite beautifully.”

2002 Spoleto Festival USA � collected THE POST AND COURIER reviews:

“Other works on the program were Giacinto Scelsi’s ‘Hyxos,’ which had the amazing flutist Margaret Lancaster playing subtly over delicate percussion. It was beautiful, even haunting.”
Robert Jones

“The dulcet lower tones of the alto flute combined with Middle-Eastern themes and minimalist style made for an eerily meditative musical experience. Margaret Lancaster’s haunting flute playing was nicely complemented…”
Lindsay Koob

“The lovely blond with a little black dress to die for, Margaret Lancaster, got out her three flutes and played Reich’s ‘Vermont Counterpoint’…She sounded great and was a delight to watch.”
Jenni Johnson

“‘The Great Hush’ utilized the expert flute services of Margaret Lancaster…Gordon and Lancaster played this (Leo Ornstein’s ‘Poem’) romantic gush with sensitivity and considerable feeling.”
William Furtwangler

“‘The Great Hush’…had that wonderful flutist Margaret Lancaster playing her flute both live and in duet with her taped self…’Poem’ was gorgeous and gorgeously played by flutist Lancaster.”
Robert Jones


Larry Polansky, COMPOSER

“The two most notable characteristics of flutist Margaret Lancaster are her musicality and her courage. Collaboration with her, as I did with “Stop Time” was a true meeting of minds and sense of humors. Everything she does is with verve, sensitivity and commitment. Her performances are among the most memorable concert experiences of my life.”
Jon H. Appleton
Arthur R. Virgin Professor of Music
Dartmouth College

“Margaret is an exceptional artist: intelligent, daring, committed, responsive, and above-all musical. Also an accomplished actress, she brings to her performances a sense of drama and individuality — qualities which distinguish her as a composer’s advocate.”
Joel Phillip Friedman, COMPOSER

“A first-rate champion of new music for the flute, Margaret Lancaster also knows how to reach her audience with her enormous personal warmth and rare gifts as a communicator.”
Michael Rothkopf, Associate Dean