Demarre McGill, principal flute at the Seattle Symphony.
Demarre McGill, principal flute at the Seattle Symphony. Screengrab

Good morning. It's Thursday, March 26. On this day 1,893 years ago, the Greek/Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy recorded his first observations of the celestial spheres. So it's only fitting that today we get to hear some heavenly flute playing from Demarre McGill, principal flute at the Seattle Symphony.

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The last time I saw McGill play at Benaroya Hall he was standing onstage dueling another flute player, Claire Chase, in a performance of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4. I had never been physically dismantled by someone's flute playing before, but the clarity and dynamism McGill displayed that night blew me away.

Today McGill offers a softer and more contemplative message to the city, with a little help from Claude Debussy's ambling, colorful, enigmatic, "Syrinx."

"If everything is crumbling around you, and even if you're physically all alone," McGill says, "The love you have for a person, or for people, or things—like music, like art—has the potential to be the only thing you need when there's the possibility of not having anything at all."

His top-notch flute playing makes it easy to love music, at least. McGill, who's originally from Chicago, started playing the flute at the ripe old age of 7. He went to Curtis and then Juilliard before becoming an internationally touring soloist, recitalist, chamber and orchestral musician. He's also in a kick-ass flute, clarinet, and piano band called the McGill/McHale Trio. Pick up their album Portraits. And follow Demarre on Instagram and Facebook.

Thank you, Demarre!


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Also in this series:


John Rodericks message to the city on April 3.
John Roderick's message to the city on April 3.

Bill Cartys message to the city on April 2.
Bill Carty's message to the city on April 2.

Price Suddarths message to the city on April 1.
Price Suddarth's message to the city on April 1.

Kary Waysons message to the city on March 31.
Kary Wayson's message to the city on March 31.

Ellen Forneys message to the city on March 30.
Ellen Forney's message to the city on March 30.

Major Scaless message to the city on March 29.
Major Scales's message to the city on March 29.

E. J. Kohs message to the city on March 28.
E. J. Koh's message to the city on March 28.

Ken Jenningss message to the city on March 27.
Ken Jennings's message to the city on March 27.

Demarre McGills message to the city on March 26.
Demarre McGill's message to the city on March 26.

Lynn Sheltons Message to the City on March 25th.
Lynn Shelton's Message to the City on March 25th.

Timothy White Eagles message to the city on March 24.
Timothy White Eagle's message to the city on March 24.

Cookie Coutures message to the city on March 23.
Cookie Couture's message to the city on March 23.

Sarah Rudinoffs message to the city on March 22.
Sarah Rudinoff's message to the city on March 22.

John Osebolds message to the city on March 21.
John Osebold's message to the city on March 21.


Ben Gibbards message to the city on March 21.
Ben Gibbard's message to the city on March 20.

Nathan Chans message to the city on March 19.
Nathan Chan's message to the city on March 19.