A professorial performance: Susan Charlton and Alexis Fisher bring classical music to campus

James Bickford

Two faculty members – a flutist and pianist/harpsichordist – teamed up Sunday for a faculty recital.

Professor Susan Charlton took flute while instructor Alexis Fisher was on piano and harpsichord in Williams Arts Center. Both teach their instruments at Lafayette.

The duo played works by Johann Sebastian Bach, American composer Aaron Copland, Paul Hindemith and Austrian Johann Nepomuk Hummel – with Sonata in E minor BWV, Duo for Flute & Piano, Sonata for Flute and Piano & Grand Rondeau Brillant, Op. 126. For the Bach’s Sonata in E minor, the pair used a harpsichord, a 16th century predecessor to the piano. The flute and harpsichord added a strong, clear melodic component to the overall rhythmic program.

Susan Charlton originates from St. Paul, Minn., and her mother was a classically-trained pianist and her father was a huge admirer of 20th-century musical theatre. She studied piano from second to sixth grade before switching to flute because it was “small and cute.” She later went on to study Flute Performance Music at the University of Wisconsin, going on to get her master’s degree.

She’s personally trained with noted flutists such as Julius Baker, Thomas Nyfenger, Paula Robison, Carol Wincenc, Robert Cole, Ernestine Whitman, Mary Robert Wilson and Robert Goldberg. She has been a constant of Lafayette’s music faculty since 1992. She also is a big fan of winds, voice and strings music.

Alexis Fisher has taught at Lafayette since 1986. Her father was a piano technician, so it makes sense that she would only follow and become a pianist. She spent innumerable hours working in her father’s piano workshop. She eventually went to Indiana University and Manhattan School of Music, receiving her Bachelor’s & Master’s. She later taught at Santa Clara University, San Jose City College and the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.

She’s studied with esteemed pianists such as Leander Dell’Anno, Constance Keene, Adolph Baller and Abbey Simon. She also is proficient on the cello. Fisher loves the sound of the piano, both alone and with other instruments.

The duo are long-time friends and colleagues, and their almost telepathic connection and deep knowledge of each other’s musical temperaments made the recital run very smoothly. In addition, the two honored 9/11 with a musical tribute and a moment of silence following it.