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Georgetown native returns for flute recital

The Cultural Council of Georgetown County will trot out one of its own treasures Tuesday night in a flute recital.

Kenneth Cox, a past winner of the council’s annual “Young Treasures” scholarship competition, will return to his hometown Georgetown for a concert at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church, at Cleland and Highmarket streets.

After two years at Waccamaw High, then graduating from the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, Cox has proceeded to his junior year of flute studies to major in music performance at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He said his summer has entailed working a part-time job and teaching flute in a “New Horizons” program for people ages 50 and older.

He paused for a few moments last week to look ahead before coming back to the Lowcountry.

Question | Seeing a flutist perform solo shows is not your everyday concert. Have you had the luxury of seeing other flutists under their own spotlight?

Answer | I’ve been to concerts and seen flutists perform, but not random flute recitals. I don’t see a lot of flutists give recitals.

Q. | Selecting music for flute, what different limitations surface, say versus readying a repertoire for piano or guitar?

A. | It depends on the era you play, such as romantic or classical or modern. For modern music, there’s different techniques you can use, like singing and playing.

Q. | What drew you to this finer, lighter, higher pitch instrument, and what extra effort does it require?

A. | Actually, when I was 8 or 9 ... at a church service, I heard someone play the flute. ... I think everything has its challenges, but I like the challenge ... to go for it.

Q. | Who is your favorite flute performer?

A. | Emmanuel Pahud. ... I know a lot of flute players who try to sugarcoat things. He likes to just go for it, and he has no boundaries. I really like his ability to do what he wants.

Q. | Winning a “Young Treasures” scholarship, from four or five years ago, how were you reminded of just how special, and vital, a role learning music played for you and other youth growing up?

A. | I started in flute in the my middle school band, and I didn’t have a private teachers. Auditioning for and winning the scholarship, I then took private lessons. I bought my first professional flute when I got my scholarship. ... It really opened my eyes to whole different realm of music.

Q. | How has music already defined your life, and what’s your next step after college?

A. | I wake up, and get ready for school and start practicing. I do my warm-ups ... and it really refreshes me and helps get stress off my shoulders. ... After this ... I want to go to graduate school and get my masters in music, and ultimately, I want to become a professor on the university level.

Q. | Sharing some basic familiarity with the flute, what flows from the top of your head?

A. | You use all of your fingers except your right thumb, and you try to be as relaxed as possible, otherwise if you have tensions in your body, it affects you. Also, I do yoga every day. At USC, our whole studio does it together. We do yoga and meditation, and it keeps you fresh.

Q. | What other performances are lined up after the concert on Tuesday?

A. | On Aug. 8, I will be playing in Las Vegas for a world premiere of a project written by a composer. I’m doing it as a pre-premiere at this recital in Georgetown. This concert on Tuesday is all from the 20th and 21st centuries. I’m trying to get a new kind of music out there. ... This composer: I played one of his pieces for him last year, and he said, “OK, I’ll let you premiere it.” ... I’m also an artist with a Japanese company, Miyazawa Flutes International, and this piece was written for the victims of the tsunami and earthquake last year. I thought it was very appropriate.

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