Debbie performing at a luncheon
Debbie playing the alto flute solo in California Dreamin' with the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra in the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival
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Bonnie after winning 3rd place in Piedmont Symphony Orchestra's Young Artist Competition
Debbie Gilbert - Flutist, Teacher, Conductor
Hi! I’m Debbie Gilbert – flutist, private flute teacher, orchestral player, handbell director, and flute choir director. I’m also a Precept Bible study leader, wife, mother and grandmother. Even though I’ve lived all of my married life in Virginia and love the green hills of Virginia, I was born and raised in New Orleans so I love pralines, beignets, chicory coffee and grillades and grits.
I’ve had many jobs over the years but the job that has remained constant for me is teaching private flute lessons. It is challenging but fun and energizing. I love being a part of my student’s lives and seeing the joy they experience when they master a new technique, learn a new concept or conquer a challenging passage. I’m also there to lift them up when they get discouraged and be their biggest cheerleader.
I have been teaching private flute lessons to beginners, youth and adults for over 30 years and earned my Bachelor Degree in Music Education from Louisiana State University. I have studied flute with Max Schoenfeld, Jeanne Timm, Thomas Perazzoli, and Toshiko Kohno. I have also performed in masterclasses with Tadeu Coelho and Göran Marcusson. For many years, I conducted flute choirs at Fauquier, Liberty and Kettle Run High Schools in Fauquier County and for 8 years was the music director at my church in Manassas, Virginia where I directed adult and youth vocal choirs and youth handbell choirs.
In addition to teaching private flute lessons, I am involved with the following musical groups and organizations:
Woodbridge Flute Choir - I have been the artistic director of The Woodbridge Flute Choir since 2006 and have led that 25-member group of adults in performances at three National Flute Association (NFA) conventions and led them in producing their 4th commercial CD "Butterfly." The flute choir was also selected to perform at the first International Low Flutes Festival held in 2018 where I was also invited to conducted the opening Sakura Low Flutes Flute Choir and performed in the Professional Low Flute Choir.
Piedmont Symphony Orchestra - I am principal flutist with this semi-professional orchestra which performs at the Highland Center for the Arts located in Warrenton, Virginia. I performed John Rutter’s Flute Antique as a soloist with the orchestra and I also coordinate their annual Young Artist Competition.
Greenwich Presbyterian Church Adult Handbell Choir. I have conducted this 12-member handbell choir since 2008. They play 4 1/2 octaves of bells and 3 octaves of chimes and help lead worship once a month.
International Low Flute Festival - I am excited to go to Tokyo, Japan in March 2020 where I will be playing alto flute in the Professional Low Flute Choir and in the American Low Flutes Ensemble.
I am an 11-time winner in the National Flute Association (NFA) Professional Flute Choir Competition, performing on alto and bass flute. This summer I will play piccolo with that group at the NFA convention in Salt Lake City. I am also past coordinator of the NFA’s Flute Choir Composition Competition. In 2015 I was selected to conduct the NFA's High School Flute Choir.
I frequently perform as an orchestra member in the Manassas Chorale concerts at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Virginia.
I am also past president of The Flute Society of Washington and currently serve on the board of directors. I am also the coordinator and co-teacher of the Flute Society’s After Work Adult Flute Camp. I am looking forward to conducting the 2020 Mid-Atlantic High School Flute at the Flute Society’s Mid-Atlantic Flute Convention this February.
In May 2020 I will be performing as a member of the International Flute Orchestra on their tour of France.