November 22, 2021

Faculty Focus: Meet Linda Chesis, award-winning flutist and Chair of the MSM Woodwind Department

Linda Chesis speaks to us about teaching at MSM in Faculty Focus, our website series showcasing MSM faculty members.

In photo above: Linda (third from right) poses with recent MSM students following a woodwinds concert at MSM.

Described by The New York Times as “a marvelous artist, whose sophisticated technical resources and lively, informed musicality vitalize everything she plays”, Woodwind Department Chair Linda Chesis is a Haynes Flutes Artist who is considered to be one of the most exciting and dynamic flutists of her generation.

Deeply committed to educating the next generation of musicians, Ms. Chesis has been on the flute and chamber music faculties at Manhattan School of Music since 1986. In 1988 she was appointed Chair of the Woodwind Department, and in 2012 she was the recipient of the President’s Medal for Distinguished Teaching.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at MSM?

“Each student is unique with a distinct set of strengths musically and personally. My goal is to identify these and utilize them as a basis for our work together. There are so many different career paths one can choose; I want everyone to discover what they love and what allows them to be their best selves.”

What do you look for in a prospective student?

“Drive, determination, resilience and passion. Curiosity, flexibility and imagination. Excellent communication skills and innate musicianship.”

What big projects is the Woodwinds department working on for this academic year?

“‘Beyond the Excerpts’ is a course that is an in-depth exploration of standard orchestral works enabling students to develop a multidimensional relationship with the repertoire from which the orchestral audition material is drawn; it also includes tools for thorough and creative orchestral audition preparation. This initiative was created during the 20/21 academic year as a virtual course but has now become an in person opportunity for all woodwind department students.”

“Music is an unspoken form of communication, directed from the heart, through the instrument, and to the listener.”

Chair, MSM Woodwinds Department