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Louis DroŁet (1792-1873)

Perhaps the most peripatetic flutist in the age of travelling virtuosi, the Dutch virtuoso Louis DroŁet played at the age of seven at the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied composition under Etienne Nicolas Mťhul and Antoine Reicha. In c1807, aged about fifteen, he was appointed flute soloist to Louis Bonaparte, King of The Netherlands, and presented with a crystal flute by Laurent (NL-Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum). The French Emperor Napoleon, the king's brother, invited him to Paris in 1811 and gave him a similar appointment and gift. While in Paris he rivalled Tulou as France's most popular flutist for two seasons.

DroŁet subsequently visited England as a traveling virtuoso, and was noted for the brilliance of his playing though not for its touching qualities. In the following years he made a brief venture into the flute manufacturing business with Cornelius Ward (c1796-1872), a former foreman at Tebaldo Monzani's workshop, bulding flutes in the 'Nicholson' style for the booming English market. He toured Europe with great success, living in Naples for three years, and visiting Paris and London at Mendelssohn's invitation in 1828-29. He made other successful tours to Paris and London (1832), London again, for command performances before Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (1841), New York (1854), and Frankfurt (1860).

DroŁet first tried a Boehm flute while visiting New York in 1854, when he praised the instrument and wrote a set of studies for it, dedicated to New York's foremost exponent of the new flute, Philip Ernst.


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