back to news Oct. 3, 2018

School of Music student places third in national flute competition

It was the first day of band, and Daniel Gallagher was a fourth-grader testing different instruments.

He tried percussion, but wasn’t feeling it. He picked up a trumpet, but it wasn’t quite a match. Then he played the flute, and everything clicked.

Since that day, Gallagher’s love for the flute and his ability to make beautiful and elegant music with it has blossomed.

“I get to be who I want to be,” said Gallagher, a third-year DMA student in flute performance in the School of Music. “I get to express my creativity and my inner passions through my art form.”

Gallagher’s path toward flute mastery has been marked by several accomplishments and milestones. He earned his BA in music from Luther College before receiving his MM in flute performance from Illinois State University. He is currently in his second year as graduate teaching associate in the School of Music, where he teaches flute lessons to non-major flutists, as well as Buckeye Flutes, a flute choir group for flute players outside the School of Music.

And just recently, Gallagher took third place at the National Flute Association Young Artist Competition in Orlando, Florida. The National Flute Association is the largest flute organization in the world with approximately 5,000 members from 50 different counties.

The competitions application process is demanding and starts by submitting recorded works — both accompanied and unaccompanied. Fifteen quarterfinalists are selected from the applicant pool to perform live in front of an audience and a panel of judges. The quarterfinalists are whittled down to six semifinalists, which are trimmed to three finalists, who create programs exemplifying their artistic capabilities and technical qualities. Gallagher’s third-place recognition came with a cash prize of $1,500.

“Competing in the National Flute Association's Young Artist Competition was an immensely rewarding experience,” Gallagher said. “During each performance, I had the opportunity to demonstrate my detailed preparation, to challenge myself artistically and to share my musical ideas with the audience. Additionally, performing alongside several other young professionals and competitors was motivating and inspiring.”

When Gallagher was a freshman in high school, he decided he wanted to pursue a career in playing the flute, a goal he’s well on his way toward achieving. He is set to graduate later this year and is keeping his eye out for orchestral auditions and adjunct faculty openings. He someday hopes to become a tenured professor. The School of Music, he says, has done wonders in making his dreams more attainable.

“We’re fortunate to have very diverse faculty from very rich backgrounds musically,” Gallagher said. “I feel like I have a lot of different perspectives to learn from.”