BSO principal flutist Elizabeth Rowe joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2004 and holds the Walter Piston Principal Flute Chair. In August 2023 she announced that the 2023-24 season — her 20th — will be her final season with the orchestra.
Rowe has been a featured soloist numerous times throughout her time with the BSO. She made her first appearance as a concert soloist with Mozart‘s Concerto for Flute No. 1, and went on to be featured in Ligeti’s Double Concerto for Flute and Oboe with conductor Christoph von Dohnányi and BSO principal oboe John Ferrillo; the American premiere of Elliott Carter’s Concerto for Flute; Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp in C Major with BSO principal harpist Jessica Zhou,including a performance on tour with the orchestra in Tokyo; Gabriela Lena Frank’s Illapa, Tone Poem for Flute and Orchestra; Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Winds, Timpani, Percussion, and String Orchestra; Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos nos. 2 and 5; and Leonard Bernstein’s Ḥalil, both in the BSO’s Opening Night all-Bernstein program under Andris Nelsons in September 2017 and at Tanglewood in July 2018 under Herbert Blomstedt. As a member of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, she can be heard in a wide variety of chamber works throughout the season at NEC’s Jordan Hall.
Rowe’s commitment to the next generation of musicians has been a pillar of her artistic life. Noted for her insightful teaching, in the early part of her career she attracted flute students from around the country for lessons and master classes. Rowe has worked with students at New England Conservatory, Tanglewood Music Center, New World Symphony, Peabody Conservatory of Music, and University of Maryland.
In 2018, Rowe recognized an unmet need and shifted her focus away from teaching and towards coaching. In that new capacity she worked to mentor and guide the next generation of musicians as they navigated career and life questions. Since that time, her coaching practice has expanded beyond the arts and she now serves as a professional leadership coach for high achievers and leaders in all industries, working at the intersection of career and personal development.
Rowe grew up in Eugene, Oregon. She received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Southern California, where she was a Trustee Scholar and a student of Jim Walker, former principal flute of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Her connection to the Boston Symphony Orchestra dates back to the summer of 1996, when she was a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow and performed as principal flute in the TMC production of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes under the direction of Seiji Ozawa; that performance marked the 50th anniversary of the opera’s 1946 American premiere at Tanglewood. Prior to joining the BSO, Rowe held titled positions with the orchestras of Fort Wayne, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.
After she steps down from her position with the orchestra, Rowe will continue to work as a cross-industry professional leadership coach. She will remain based in Boston, where she shares a home with her husband, BSO violinist Glen Cherry.