John Thorne, Associate Professor of Flute
John Thorne is an Associate Professor of Flute at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. He joined the Bienen School faculty after having been the Associate Principal Flute of the Houston Symphony from 1992 until 2012. Previously, he has held the position of Principal Flute with the San Antonio Symphony and the Florida West Coast Symphony (now called the Sarasota Orchestra). He started his career as a member of the inaugural season of the New World Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.
Mr. Thorne received his Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he was a student of Julius Baker, former Principal Flute of the New York Philharmonic, and John Krell, former Piccolo player of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr. Thorne has also studied privately with Anne Diener Zentner, former Principal Flute of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He received his Master of Music from Michigan State University, where he was part of the Halyburton Wind Quintet in residence at the College of Music.
Since joining the faculty of the Bienen School of Music, Mr. Thorne has appeared as soloist with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble in Joel Puckett’s The Shadow of Sirius. This performance was webcast live and is archived on the Pick-Staiger, Davee Video Library. He has also performed Bach’s b minor Suite with the Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Thorne has appeared as a soloist with the Houston Symphony on numerous occasions, performing concertos by C.P.E. Bach and Vivaldi. As part of a concert featuring the Associate Principal winds of the Houston Symphony, he performed Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments. He has also performed as soloist with the orchestra in Leonard Bernstein’s Halil. As an orchestral musician in Chicago, Mr. Thorne is a substitute flutist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He also performs with the Chicago Philharmonic as principal flutist. As a chamber musician, Mr. Thorne has performed with the Bach Week Festival in Chicago, the Chicago Wind Quintet, the Civitas Ensemble, Da Camera of Houston, Dempster Street Pro Musica, the Florida Wind Quintet, the Greenbriar Consortium (organized by Houston Symphony members), MusicNOW (the contemporary music series of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), the Texas Music Festival, and the Winter Chamber Music Festival at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the Northwestern campus. He has been a frequent recitalist in the Houston area, performing with Scott Holshouser, Principal Keyboardist of the Houston Symphony. They have performed recitals at Rice University, the University of Houston, and as part of the chamber music series at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Houston.
Mr. Thorne has given masterclasses and recitals for the ARIA International Summer Academy, Austin Flute Club, Boston Flute Academy, Boston University, Dana Flute Festival, DePaul University, Greater Indianapolis Flute Club, Houston Flute Club, Manhattan School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Rice University, The Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto, Texas A&M University in Commerce, Texas Flute Festival, The University of Texas at Austin, University of Utah, and the Wisconsin Flute Festival. He has also served on juries for The National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition, the Donna Marie Haire Young Artist Competition, the Houston Flute Club’s Byron Hester Competition, the Myrna Brown Artist Competition, and for the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
During the summers, Mr. Thorne is a member of the Grand Teton Music Festival, performing both orchestral as well as chamber music concerts. Mr. Thorne also teaches each summer at the ARIA International Summer Academy at Mt. Holyoke College. In Houston, he has been a member of the Texas Music Festival faculty and has performed as part of their concert series at the University of Houston and at Texas A&M University in College Station.
Richard K. Graef, Associate Professor of Flute
Richard Graef, Assistant Principal Flutist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1968, joined the faculty of Northwestern University School of Music in 1989. Appointed to his CSO flute section by Music Director, Jean Martinon, he has served as Assistant Principal Flutist through the entire tenure of Sir Georg Solti and Daniel Barenboim, and currently with Maestro Riccardo Muti.
Mr. Graef has frequently appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as Acting Principal Flutist, and has enjoyed featured solo performances both at Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival, as well as other orchestras and ensembles.
At Northwestern School of Music, in addition to individual flute instruction, Richard teaches a class in Baroque flute techniques for flute majors.
In 1988, Mr. Graef was awarded a Grammy Award as “Best New Classical Artist” for his Chamber Music recordings with the ensemble, “Chicago Pro Musica”. In 1986, Richard and his flutist wife, Emily, founded the “Galena Chamber Ensemble” performing regularly n historic Turner Hall in Galena, IL. Currently the Graefs continue Chamber Music concerts with the “Juliani Ensemble” at the Chicago Cultural Center, and other locations in the Chicago area. .
Shortly after the reunification of Germany, Richard was one of several international flutists chosen to perform in the premier concert of the newly re- opened Sanssouci Palace of Frederic the Great in Potsdam, Germany. Mr. Graef played a recently rediscovered sonata of Karl Phillip Emanuel Bach, repeating the original performance at the same location in the 18th Century.
Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin Ohio, awarded Richard his Bachelor of Music degree, and two years later Mr. Graef earned a Master of Music degree from Indiana University School of Music. On leave from the Chicago Symphony, Richard returned to the Indiana campus in 1987 as Professor of Flute for one season. His flute student years also included the Mozarteum Academy of Music, in Salzburg, Austria, where he earned a Certificate, and specialized Baroque flute study at the “Baroque Performance Institute” at Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Apart from music, Richard and his family own and manage 100 acres of natural prairie and woodland in rural Wisconsin. Working with the US Department of Agriculture and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Richard is restoring much of the land to native pre-settlement Prairie and Oak Savanna. A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Mr. Graef now lives in Evanston, Il.