Gran Canaria International Flute Festival

Gareth McLearnon

International flautist Gareth McLearnon left his native home of Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1999 to attend the World-renowned Guildhall School of Music & Drama. While still a second year undergraduate student there, Gareth was invited to record a track for the CD Songs for Alexander with the World famous flautist Sir James Galway and harpist Marisa Robles. In the same year he also had his first experience of the orchestra pits of London's West End, where he played in several performances of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's The Beautiful Game. While at college he also reached the semi-finals of the BBC Young Musician Competition 2000 and the Finals of the Yamaha Music Foundation Europe Competition in 2003.

On graduation of the Guildhall, Gareth was awarded the prestigious Ian Fleming Award from the Musicians Benevolent Fund, and a Countess of Munster Musical Trust Award. These helped to fund postgraduate study with Michael Cox, Sam Coles and Ian Clarke. Following this year of postgraduate study, Gareth was awarded a principal flute position in Southbank Sinfonia for their 2005 season.

Highlights of the intervening years include: playing numerous flute concertos with orchestras - including three premiere performances, and most recently a Mozart Concerto in Shanghai with the Shanghai Opera House Orchestra; Solo recital performances all over the World, notably at the National Flute Association Conventions in 2007 and 2008 and the British Flute Society Convention in 2010; Releasing his debut CD Sounds of Home and book of Flute & Piano arrangements Round Ireland with a Flute both receiving high critical praise.

Gareth is an active soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, orchestral and pit musician. He has been principal flute of The Heritage Orchestra since 2009 - playing dozens of concerts all over the UK including a national arena tour with Tim Minchin in 2011, and a BBC Proms performance with Jamie Cullum in 2010. Gareth remains very active in London's West End - playing in several productions including The Wizard of Oz, Love Never Dies, Oliver! and The Lord of the Rings musicals.

He has worked with Gillian Humphreys and the Concordia Foundation since 2003, and has been an International Artist Ambassador with Concordia since 2008, playing concerts and giving masterclasses all over the World including trips to Shanghai, Nairobi and Siena, with future plans including concert tours of Brazil, and return visits to China and Africa.

As well as performing regularly at home and abroad, Gareth is also regularly invited to give masterclasses to aspiring young flute players - in this respect his association with the children's flute playing charity Flutewise is very important. Gareth also leads INSET day training sessions for flute teachers all over the UK - focussing on teaching his own 'Strikewall Method' of tone production.

Gareth is Artist in Residence at Haynes Flutes. He plays traditional Irish whistles by William Simmons, Contrabass flute made by Eva Kingma, and is an Endorsee of Wiseman cases.

For more info, visit his website:


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