A versatile and passionate performer and educator, Abigail Walsh is the Visiting Professor of Flute at Grand Valley State University. She performs as a regular substitute with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, teaches at the Flute by the Sea Masterclass in Matunuck RI and performs with pianist Dr. Pei-I Wang in Music Wall Duo. She serves as the Vice President of the West Michigan Flute Association, where she also performs with the West Michigan Flute Orchestra and Great Lakes Flutes.
Prior to her current position, Abigail served as a full-time Applied Music Specialist at the University of Illinois Springfield where she taught flute, coached chamber music ensembles, directed the wind ensemble, and taught several courses. She has been an adjunct flute faculty member at Illinois College, the Hartt School, the Hartt School Community Division and the Ethel Walker School, as well as the flute teaching assistant at the University of Iowa. She is the former Principal Flutist of Hartford Opera Theater, the Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra and the Oskaloosa Symphony and has performed with the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, as well as the Peoria, Millikin -Decatur, West Michigan, and Dubuque Symphony Orchestras. She has been the flute faculty artist at the Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival, Hartt High School Intensive Instrumental Workshop, the UIS Flute Festival, and the Western Illinois University’s Summer Music Institute.
A joyful and dedicated teacher and performer, Abigail teaches the flute studio at Grand Valley State University, gives master classes at universities, colleges and high schools and performs solo and chamber recitals regularly. She has performed and/or presented at several National Flute Association conventions, the Florida, Wisconsin, Mid-Atlantic, Chicago, Iowa, and FNMC Flute Festivals and has been a featured soloist with the Cedar Rapids, Decatur and Taylorville Municipal Bands as well as with various groups at the Engelbach-Hart Music Festival, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra’s Around the Town Chamber Music Festival, Illinois College, University of Iowa, the Hartt School, and the University of Illinois Springfield. As an ambassador of new music, she is a member and performer in the Flute New Music Consortium. With Music Wall Duo partner, Pei-I Wang, Abigail performed 10 new works for flute and piano virtually and on tour with the Composers Alliance of San Antonio during the 2021 and 2022 calendar years. Of her performance of “Wild Riot of the Shaman’s Dreams” composer Michael Colgrass writes “An insightful interpreter, Walsh gave a surpassing performance of my piece, capturing the drama of the work as only few have.”
First prize winner of the CanAmerican Flute Symposium Solo Artist Competition and the Valencia Awards Music Competition in 2021, Abigail has also been a prizewinner or finalist in the NFA Piccolo Artist Competition, the Washington Society Young Artist Competition, the University of Iowa’s Concerto Competition, and the Emeritus Recording Competition.
Abigail holds Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the University of Hartford, the Hartt School, where she studied with Janet Arms and John Wion. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Iowa while studying with Tamara Thweatt, Robert Dick, and Tadeu Coelho. Other primary teachers include Betty Bang Mather, Trevor Wye, and her late step-mother, first flute teacher and mentor, Margaret Linnan Kegel. Abigail performs on a 14K gold Miyazawa Boston Classic flute and Keefe piccolo.
On teaching the flute:
“My passion for performance is matched only by my love of teaching. I believe that everyone who loves music has a right to learn it. It doesn’t matter whether a student is gifted or ungifted. Every individual is unique, and I adapt my teaching style to each student so they can succeed in playing the flute and being a fine musician. My pedagogical approach to teaching flute emphasizes physical awareness to eliminate tension and fatigue, and create a polished performance. My teaching philosophy is clear and concise: I aim to inspire students to master great control of their instrument. By mastering breathing and finger technique, perfecting air-stream control, paying attention to details in a phrase, and developing sound production the student learns to sing through their flute, learn pieces quickly, and perform with ease and artistry.” - Abigail Walsh
To learn more about the Flute Studio at GVSU please visit: https://www.gvsu.edu/mtd/flute