Must-have orchestral flute excerpt books | An orchestral flutist's excerpt book collection
Updated: Mar 16
Hello fluters! Today I'll be going through some of the books that compile the most frequently asked flute excerpts in auditions and exams. These are the books that I've found to be the most useful during my studies at uni for mock auditions as they have helped me build up a library of orchestral flute excerpts. Let's get started!
It's important for an aspiring orchestral flute player to know about these books as they contain some of the most commonly asked excerpts in orchestral auditions. As these excerpts are mostly very technical, it's not recommended to start learning the notes right before you need to present the excerpts. The idea is to build up a library of orchestral excerpts that you know well so that you can prepare it within a short timeframe. Believe it or not, sometimes you will receive an excerpt list with very short notice and this is where early preparation will come in handy.
The panel also looks for very specific things other than technical accuracy during an audition such as rhythmic accuracy, stylistic accuracy, musicality, dynamic contrast and tone colours. For instance, knowing the context of the excerpt ie. when other instruments are playing around you is also very important, because it informs the panel that you are aware of what is happening around your part in the rest of the ensemble. Therefore it is important that you listen to a recording of the excerpt before you start learning it so you know what the excerpt should sound like. Otherwise you may make some critical stylistic errors that will give the panel a reason to duck points from you.
It is a good idea to start learning the standard list of orchestral flute excerpts once you've decided you want to do some sort of orchestral playing in the future, as these excerpts are set to test your rhythmic skills, musicianship skills, technical proficiency and ensemble skills. There are certain skills that will also take some time to work out such as breath endurance and phrasing.
The orchestral flute excerpt book I started out on during my uni degree studying classical flute was the Orchester Probespiel for Flute and Piccolo. This is a book that I'd recommend as a starter book for those who aren't really familiar with the orchestral flute repertoire yet. This book was compiled by two German editors and has a collection of over 70 flute and piccolo excerpts that are commonly requested at auditions. The excerpts in this book cover some of the most well-known opera and symphonic excerpts for flute such as Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream, Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe and Beethoven symphonies. The only thing I'd say is that the individual excerpts in this book are quite short as they don't include much of the other passages in the same piece that may also be asked at an audition. However it does a fantastic job in introducing to you also, some orchestral piccolo excerpts that you'll definitely need to know as a flute player.
Jeanne Baxtresser - Orchestral Excerpts for Flute and Piano
Once you've had a chance to get to know some orchestral flute excerpts, the next book I'd recommend is Jeanne Baxtresser's Orchestral Excerpts for Flute and Piano. Book 1 contains a list of standard flute excerpts as well as works by modern composers such as Stravinsky, R. Strauss and Hindemith that can sometimes be obscure and difficult to come across. Unlike solo repertoire, it's typically very difficult to get a hold of orchestral flute parts that aren't out of copyright yet because they cost a lot to purchase/hire.
Book 2 is an additional list of excerpts that Jeanne has compiled, which contains excerpts from opera and ballet works as well as modern film music. The thing that is so great about both these books is that they come with a reduced piano accompaniment part, so you can get the feel of what it is like to play these excerpts in context without needing to wait to play them in an orchestra.
If you have a buddy who's also aspiring to become an orchestral flute player, you can check out Jeanne Baxtresser's Great Flute Duos from the Orchestral Excerpts Repertoire. This book contains a selection of the most significant orchestral flute section passages. It is particularly useful as you can get the experience of playing through these parts with another flautist so that you'll be ready for when you need to play these in orchestra.
If you learn everything there is in these orchestral excerpts book I've listed so far, then you're pretty set for your mock orchestral auditions in university. These next books that I'll be going through contain excerpts that aren't all the most commonly asked orchestral flute excerpts in auditions, but would be good to know as an orchestral flute player in general.
Henrik Wiese - The Flute Audition
Henrik Wiese's The Flute Audition has an extensive list of orchestral excerpts with some very niche works that aren't commonly seen, but are still performed and requested in orchestral auditions in Europe.
The following two collections of orchestral volumes contain several passages from different orchestral pieces, so it gives you the opportunity to learn the more significant parts within each movement.
Wilfred Smith - Orchestral Studies Book 1-4
Orchestral Studies for Flute, Volume 1: Classical Symphonies 🛒https://bit.ly/35JIcEM
Orchestral Studies for Flute, Volume 2: Overtures 🛒https://bit.ly/34dMWlW
Orchestral Studies, Volume 3: Modern French Works 🛒https://bit.ly/3pwXMLe
Orchestral Studies for Flute, Volume 4: Opera and Ballet 🛒https://bit.ly/35KWpkN
John Wummer - 9 Books of Orchestral Excerpts from the Symphonic Repertoire
Orchestral Excerpts for Flute, Vol. 1 🛒 https://bit.ly/3HF0Pal
Orchestral Excerpts for Flute, Vol. 2 🛒 https://bit.ly/3K2NVEK
Orchestral Excerpts for Flute, Vol. 3 🛒 https://bit.ly/3tIYAht
Orchestral Excerpts for Flute, Vol. 4 🛒 https://bit.ly/3pypy9X
Orchestral Excerpts for Flute, Vol. 5 🛒 https://bit.ly/3KfkcZ5
Orchestral Excerpts for Flute, Vol. 6 🛒 https://bit.ly/3vzzt3c
Orchestral Excerpts for Flute, Vol. 7 🛒 https://bit.ly/3sC1mFD
Orchestral Excerpts for Flute, Vol. 8 🛒 https://bit.ly/3vy6IDP
Orchestral Excerpts for Flute, Vol. 9 🛒 https://bit.ly/3tsnMbx
Now these are huge collections of orchestral excerpts so you won't be needing to collect all of them unless you are aiming to become a professional orchestral flute player, but it might be handy to know that these exist.
So there you have it! Those are my must-have excerpts books as a classical orchestral flautist. For more flute-related resources please feel free to check out my other blog posts. Happy fluting and see you in the next post!