Hailing originally from Melbourne, Alison Mitchell was appointed Principal Flute of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in 2003.
Since leaving Australia to continue her studies in Basle with the renowned Swiss Flautist, Peter-Lukas Graf she has maintained a very successful career having performed with many major orchestras in both Europe and Australia, most notably with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Orchestra of Scottish Opera, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Northern Sinfonia.
Mitchell performs and records regularly with SCO chamber ensembles and as a concerto soloist. Her performances have included concertos by Mozart, JS Bach, CPE Bach, Nielsen, Ibert, Poulenc, Osborne, Boulez, Cimarosa and Honegger. Her recording of Mozart’s Flute Concerto in G with the SCO on Linn Records has received glowing reviews. She has also premiered a wonderful new flute concerto written especially for her and the SCO by the Australian composer, Gordon Kerry.
As well as her work in Scotland, Mitchell is continually sought after to perform in Australia. She has performed regularly with the Australian Chamber Orchestra both internationally and throughout Australia and has also recorded and performed, with Angela Hewitt and the ACO, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 5 and the Triple Concerto for flute, violin and piano. The highly acclaimed recording, released on Hyperion, subsequently won many awards including Gramophone CD of the Month.
She is a founder member of the Australian World Orchestra which had its inaugural season in Sydney during August 2011. This is a very exciting new orchestra made up of some of the best Australian players from around the world. The second season, with Zubin Mehta, in October 2013 was a great success. In the 2015 season Sir Simon Rattle conducts the orchestra in Australia and Zubin Mehta tours with the orchestra to India.
Alongside her busy SCO schedule Mitchell performs as soloist and chamber musician, most notably, in collaboration with Christian Zacharias, Robert Levin, the Hebrides Ensemble, Mr McFall’s Chamber, pianist Scott Mitchell, harpist Eleanor Johnson and guitarist Allan Neave and at East Neuk Festival as a regular guest artist. In 2012, she has performed as guest flautist with the Southern Cross Soloists at the Bangalow Music Festival, and with the dynamic Melbourne based ensemble, Syzygy.
Alison Mitchell takes a very active role in the SCO creative learning programme and also gives specialist woodwind coaching. She has worked with many youth orchestras and ensembles namely the Baltic Youth Philharmonic with Musical Director Kristjan Järvi, the Australian Youth Orchestra, and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and at the Australian National Academy of Music, the Sydney Conservatorium, where she was guest Senior Lecturer in 2012 and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she is currently Lecturer in Flute.
60 Seconds with Alison
Why did you choose your instrument?
I first heard the sound of a flute at a concert by our local orchestra where my brother played trumpet. The principal flutist on this occasion was the Principal flute from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, an amazing player, and I fell in love with the instrument.
What do you love most about playing your instrument?
Playing the flute is such a buzz. I love being able to communicate so many different feelings and characters to the audience, being part of an orchestra or chamber ensemble, having the opportunity to travel to some amazing places and as a treble instrument, to play all the wonderful melodies that have been composed.
What is it like to perform in a concert?
There is nothing like playing a concert. Beforehand I might be a little nervous and excited and so then I try to use this energy to make my playing as musical and beautiful as possible. After all the practice, rehearsal and preparation to finally perform the music and share the experience with the audience is what it is all about.