Inspired by Georgi Gospodinov’s concept of “time shelter” from his recent Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name, this talk explores how contemporary Bulgarian flutists repurpose their heritage to safeguard the present and create the futures they desire. Two narrative works—a revolutionary-era novel with a flutist character and a 2023 art film about Bulgaria’s traditional flute (kaval)—contextualize the sociohistorical issues with which flutists contend and illustrate how flutes themselves facilitate the instrumentalizing of history. My analysis suggests that the diverse lives and artistries of today’s flutists emerge within discourses of revitalization and cultural sustainability, simultaneously informed by such narrative works and characterized by nostalgic, historicist reflections on the country’s past.
Dani Nutting is a DMA candidate in Flute Performance & Literature with an ethnomusicology cognate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her dissertation explores Bulgarian flute traditions, centering on the diverse artistic realities through which Bulgarian flutists move and the agency their instruments exert in opening and bridging these realities. Based on ethnographic fieldwork supported by a Fulbright study/research grant, among others, her work generates new critical approaches for practitioners of classical music to find meaning and creative liberty in crossing cultural and disciplinary boundaries.
Dani holds various roles at UIUC—as the editor of the School of Music’s annual magazine, sonorities; an assistant director and consultant in the Writers Workshop; and the graduate assistant for the Balkan music ensemble, Balkanalia—and is co-founder and editor of the online, public-facing arts journal The Collective. In 2024, Dani will earn her teaching certification in the Alexander Technique from Alexander Technique Urbana. She holds performance degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (MM) and Texas State University (BM) and has played with the National Repertory Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Sinfonia da Camera, Urbana Pops, and more.