Passionate Player Spotlight: Nathan Painter

Apr 28, 2021

In our new Passionate Player Spotlight series we highlight some of the unique and exciting personalities who make up #TeamBurkart.

Today we’re shining the spotlight on Nathan Painter, an anesthesiologist from Seattle, Washington who uses music as a way to relieve stress and connect socially with other woodwind enthusiasts.

What type of Burkart instrument do you own?

I own a Burkart Elite 10K Gold flute with offset G, C# trill, D# roller, and B-foot with a 19.5K Gold M2 style headjoint. I also own a Burkart Elite Deluxe piccolo with 14K gold tenon and end rings and vented C key with a Mancke Mopane Straight headjoint.


Tell us a little more about you!

I really enjoy being outdoors when I’m not working, whether it be a nice hike or playing some tennis, or hosting dinner parties and get-togethers with friends (when we aren’t living through a pandemic, that is). My partner and I have started cooking and baking more often and exploring new restaurants in our area. A nice book on a rainy afternoon can also be a great escape, as can a bike ride along one of our local greenways.


What does flute or piccolo playing look like in your daily or weekly life?

In my weekly life, I usually end up playing the flute and/or piccolo a few times, depending on how busy I am otherwise. A friend of mine also plays, so he forces me to play duets with some regularity as well. I have gotten bad with etude and scale work as I’ve gotten further away from college, but I still look for different warmups I can do in a short amount of time to keep my skills up. I participate in the Seattle Flute Society flute choir and otherwise have played and subbed in local community orchestras in New York and North Carolina when I was living there.


What are some of your favorite pieces to listen to or play?

I love discovering new flute players and new pieces of music—the internet and social media like Instagram make that so much easier. I hear music all that time that I say to myself, “That sounds awesome, I want to play that one day!” I typically try and give a small recital once every couple of years and invite friends, family, co-workers, and others to attend. Those have always been rewarding experiences and give me a goal to work toward. Finding venues and accompanists is a lot harder when you are no longer in school, so I usually reach out to local flutists for suggestions, as well as try to get some lessons in before these recitals.

There are so many great flute pieces out there, it’s hard to pick even a handful! I think if I had to listen to only one piece of music for the rest of my life, it would be Ravel’s complete Daphnis and Chloe, or Copland’s Appalachian Spring. Very different pieces, but they bring me so much joy that I feel deep down in my core. I currently have on my music stand Coleman’s Fanmi Imen, Dorff’s Three Lakes Sonata, Ferroud’s Trois Pieces, Vivaldi’s three piccolo concerti, and Reichert’s Seven Daily Exercises.


Why is making music an important part of your life?

Making music for me keeps me going. It’s a way to turn off my brain from work and the stress of doing medicine, especially over the last 13 months, and delve into a world without those stressors. It may seem surprising, but playing music calms me down and renews my energy levels. I like the challenge of new pieces and the excitement of revisiting old pieces, but I also know that whether I make mistakes, or skip a day or week of playing, the music will always be there without judgment, ready to be picked up again.


As a musician, what are your goals for the future?

I want to continue giving recitals, and I would love to get back to more formal lessons, so I can feel more confident in some aspects of my playing. The recitals force me to play and practice, and you can never have “too much” fundamental work. Social media is also a great motivator for my playing, so as much as I have been sad to be so isolated for the last year, I have probably heard more diverse and varied music than I would have if the world had stayed “the same.”

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