By Josette Keelor
Shenandoah University welcomed world-renowned flutist Jonathan Snowden to the faculty of Shenandoah Conservatory last fall, but Snowden said he has welcomed the university equally, and has found a home in Winchester.
"I have a love affair with the stage and Shenandoah was very attractive for many reasons," said the native of England.
"I was born and brought up in the countryside in the west of England, which was rural and like this," he said. "I immediately felt at home here."
"My heart is happiest when I'm in the countryside and countryside like this. ... I just felt, 'yes, this is it.'"
Having performed with musical stars as diverse as Bjork, Sting and Elvis Costello, he has performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and featured on hundreds of movie soundtracks, including "The Dark Knight," "Shrek Ever After," Disney's "Aladdin," "The DaVinci Code," "Mr. Holland's Opus," and last year's "Dark Shadows."
"I played for Paul McCartney's wedding," he said. "His previous wedding."
Understandably, after such a career, it would seem difficult for someone to choose a favorite moment, but Snowden gave it a go anyway.
"I think I could go three places there," he said.
First there's his love of opera, on the whole -- "I have an absolute passion for opera," he said, later adding, "I think it's fantastic for learning to play the flute."
Then there were his times performing with German conductor Klaus Tennstedt and Russian-Icelandic conductor and pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Working with the late Tennstedt, Snowden said, "It was a most profound experience."
Snowden turned down a principal flute job at Covent Garden in London, instead wanting to expand upon his love of music in the states by offering master classes.
At Shenandoah, he teaches students studying the flute and various other areas of music, and those preparing to enter fields of music education and music therapy.
In addition to his teaching, Snowden has an upcoming recital at the university in April, and he performs there with a wind quintet.
"It is a thriving atmosphere and a very positive atmosphere," he said. "This school has a wonderful cohesive atmosphere of nurturing and caring."
Of all of his associations with schools, so far, he said "It is the most well-knit institution."
"Coming here has been one of the best decisions I have ever made ... because of the atmosphere of positivity. I find it really inspiring."
Also artist-in-residence with Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C., Snowden has plans to expand upon S.U.'s affiliations with other musical schools, including Levine and possibly those in the United Kingdom.
"It's been a wonderful experience and still every day I wake up and think, 'Yay, I'm here.'"
Jonathan Snowden will teach a summer course from July 29 to Aug. 2, roughly from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House, at 316 S. Royal St. in Alexandria. The class offers admission options ranging from daily auditing to full participation, and it's open to flute college age students, adult amateurs and professionals. The cost ranges from $100 per day for auditors to $600 as a full participant. For more information, call 202-686-8008 or email Rebecca Collaros at email@example.com.
For more information about Jonathan Snowden or Shenandoah University, call the school at 665-4500 or visit www.su.edu.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org