FluteXpansions is the premier e-learning resource and community for performers and composers to learn and explore sounds of the contemporary flute. The videos and production tips form the starting point of our resource, but a community of learning and growth is key to the mission of FluteXpansions.
The idea grew from an observation that there existed no centralized place for in-depth discussion of how to produce and practice the extended techniques for artistic mastery or use the techniques in compositions...and certainly not an online forum easily accessible on mobile devices with thorough videos.
Since 2015, we have endeavored to continually create valuable resources that democratize access to knowledge of contemporary flute practice and techniques for all flutists, improvisers, performer-composers, and composers who seek the knowledge. We seek to add more resources to this site and our programs as often as possible and invite community members to send suggestions for inclusion. This is a community art project – a living resource, constantly growing with new content from the musical community at large.
Composers: Critical to the continual evolution of contemporary flute music are composers. It is our hope that, in addition to being a space for dialogue, this site will become an invaluable resource to composers as they search for novel ways to use flute(s) in their pieces. Composers are welcome to add their pieces to the Repertoire List.
Repertoire List: Graded by levels of difficulty, the annotated Repertoire List is meant as a crowd-sourced tool for performers and composers to find pieces for performance or study. Submissions will be reviewed and added to the list regularly. With more and more composers self-publishing, this is an important tool for making widely available works which otherwise might not be discovered. Many thanks to Helen Bledsoe who has passed on her list to us to continue its growth.
Programs: We offer two programs and periodic free workshops for flutists to eXpand.
FX Sonic Immersion – 9 days for all professional, post-graduate, graduate, and undergraduate flutists (or flutist-composers, improvisers, etc!) to live and breathe all the skills needed as a 21st-century artist – a full immersion into sounds, improvisation, hybrid arts, electronics basics, and somatic/mindset skills – oh and masterclasses with brilliant faculty artists! This is the space to playfully explore and/or deepen your mastery of skills you want to have in your toolkit with the community you’ve dreamed of having and faculty who are ready to play in creative dirt and explore alongside you!
FX Mavericks – (coming January 2024!) 4 month incubator space blending fine-tuned artistic expansion in an artistic research-like environment for those who already are (or want to be!) creating their own self-directed careers – and yes, there’ll be support for the front and back-facing business skills needed by artists. As you pursue your own individual growth and learning, you’ll further strengthen necessary professional skills so that as you walk into any room/situation, play/improvise on any stage, or create anything, you are feeling confident in your creative vision and how to make it a viable career path in the world.
Workshops – We offer free workshops online and in-person at conventions and festivals focusing on improvisation, contemporary flute sounds (aka extended techniques), entrepreneurship, and a myriad of related topics, in addition to contemporary flute repertoire masterclasses.
Our Philosophy: Community Art Project
FluteXpansions is Community Art Project – one we co-create and co-explore, and the community is the most precious part.
We need each other, as muses, colleagues, instigators of exploration, challengers of conventions, and fellow dreamers of what more is possible for both ourselves and sonically on our instruments.
We’re all students of the process of discovery. Together.
Our music industry often favors individual empowerment over collective empowerment.
There’s nothing wrong with individual goals, success, and desires — those are great. You need them, keep them.
But we’ve been primed and conditioned to:
compete with each other
feel scarcity when others succeed
value external ideas of success above our own internal feelings and desires
Collective Empowerment means that we champion both ourselves AND others.
Collective Empowerment means we recognize that when the systems don’t work for all of us, they work for none of us…
…And that when we preference or privilege attending a certain school, certain type of career, certain background or training or experience over other varieties that our industry has historically deemed “lesser” we are disempowering all of us, including ourselves.
For FluteXpansions, being a Community Art Project means we are determined to:
remove barriers to access of high-quality resources for contemporary flute
foster a spirit of collective empowerment, collectively expanding our creative expression and our skills
create holistic space where all can thrive and feel valued, seen, heard, and appreciated
...And we might make some wild sounds with the flute while we’re at it...
Meet The FX Team
Artistic Director, Co-Founder
Shanna Pranaitis fearlessly expands the realm of sonic possibility for her instruments through innovative performances and educational projects, in which she integrates new and historically reimagined works with electronics, movement, and other multi-disciplinary elements to create seamless, immersive concert experiences. She is interested in exploring ways to engage and involve a wider community in the process of experiencing music.
She travels the world regularly to perform and teach as a solo guest artist and with the chamber ensembles Memoria Nova and Collect/Project. She has performed and taught as a guest artist in Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, The Netherlands, South Korea, Mexico, Colombia, and the United Kingdom. An important part of this work is the close cooperation with living composers, poets, movement artists, and other interdisciplinary artists, around the world on the development of new work. She is the artistic director and co-founder of FluteXpansions, the first comprehensive e-learning platform and laboratory for composers and performers to explore contemporary flute music and techniques.
Shanna has presented premiere performances of pieces written for her at such festivals as the Gaudeamus Muziekweek (NL), Sonic Fusion Festival (UK), Darmstadt Ferienkurse (DE), International Computer Music Conference, and Omaha Under the Radar, among others. She has received numerous accolades for her performances including, prizes at the Stockhausen Courses, the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, and New Music USA project grants. In 2017, she co-curated and co-organized the first multi-day festival of Galina Ustvolskaya’s music (Power In Sound) in the United States. She was previously a founding member of Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente, with whom she received the 2012 Kranichstein Prize for Interpretation.
Her debut solo recording Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf Flute Music was just released on NEOS. Previous releases include the album Mobile with guitarist Jesse Langen, featuring world premiere recordings of music by Fredrick Gifford, and the album SORI featuring works by Kyong Mee Choi for instruments and electronics. Current recording projects also include a solo disc of works for her Kingma open-hole bass flute.
A passionate educator, Shanna is on faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago, and maintains an active private studio in the Chicago area. She regularly presents workshops, masterclasses, and lessons around the world. Shanna performs on a Burkart flute and piccolo and Kingma bass and alto flutes.
For more information, please visit: www.shannapranaitis.com
Matthias Ziegler is one of the world’s most versatile and innovative flutists. He is committed both to the traditional literature for flute as well as to contemporary music and concepts that cross the boundaries between classical music and jazz.
Accordingly, his performances take place in a vast range of contexts: he plays principal flute with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, has toured with the percussionist Pierre Favre and performed with the pianist George Gruntz as well as with the American contrabass player Mark Dresser. He is also a member of the ”Collegium Novum Zurich“, where he has worked with Mauricio Kagel, Heinz Holliger and George Crumb.Concert tours have brought him to the US, Japan, Australia, South America and Israel. Many recordings on CD document his inclusive musical interests.
Matthias Ziegler is Professor for flute at the Zurich University of the Arts.Searching for new sounds he enormously broadened the expressive potential of the traditional flute and the electroacoustically amplified contrabass flute.Amplifying the flute allows him to increase the volume of the microsound structures of the flute to an audible level. Inspired by the new dimension of sounds of these instruments, composers such as Michael Jarrell from Switzerland, Benjamin Yusupov from Tadjikistan, Mathias Rüegg from the Vienna Art Orchestra and the American Mark Dresser wrote flute concertos for him.
Matthias Ziegler performs on a flute manufactured by Louis Lot (1880), on a quartertone flute Brannen/Kingma system, on a Alto- and Bassflute by Eva Kingma (Holland) as well as on his own invention, the ”Matusiflute”, a uniquely designed instrument with a vibrating membrane. His contrabassflute has been constructed by Kotato Fukushima (Japan).
Melody Chua is considered a pioneering force her generation in the development of interdisciplinary performances with new technologies. Her portfolio includes works with 360° touchscreens, 360° videos, Ambisonics, motion capture systems, live-coding, pressure-sensitive shoes, real-time projection visuals, and sensor-augmented instruments, while at the same time reflecting critically on the multifaceted issues surrounding human-machine interactions. Her current research at the Zürich University of the Arts focuses on the development of an improvisation machine (AIYA) that takes inputs from a sensor-augmented flute (Chaosflöte), and she examines the human-machine relationships, shifting posthuman identities, and forms of agency that manifest within performances with this machine. Melody is the co-founder and co-executive director of Null-state, a non-profit organization and performance ensemble committed to advancing the development of sensor-augmented instruments, live coding, and electroacoustic music education.
Awarded a Fulbright-Swiss Government Excellence grant for the development of the Chaosflöte, Melody has performed and presented at various festivals such as the Zürich Digital Festival, Zürich Design Biennale, ZKM Next Generation Festival, Geneva International Film Festival, Network Music Festival, La Côte Flute Festival, Swiss Digital Day, PAM-Hörmal Festival, Performing Media Festival, Immerse: Creative City Project, and the USF New Music Festival, in addition to engagements at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology Zürich (artist residency), Immersive Arts Space Zürich (diploma residency), University of South Florida (artist residency), Atlantic Festival Future Music Lab (fellowship), Montreal Contemporary Music Lab (performer), Kein Museum (solo installation exhibition), and the Timucua Arts Foundation (artist residency), among others. As an educator, Melody has given lectures on electroacoustic music, improvisation, and interactive music programming at institutions such as the Zurich University of the Arts, University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, Wayne State University, The Melrose Center, and the Atlantic Music Festival.