Email Q&A: ZAIA and Cirque Flute Scores

Email question received:

Dear Conrad –
I enjoy your blog.  It’s a great chance for outsiders to get an inside look at what it’s like to be in a Cirque production. I write because I recently posted a video on Cirque’s Facebook Casting page and have two questions with respect to the use of various flutes in ZAIA.

1. How many different flutes are used in your current production?

2. To your knowledge, are there other current Cirque shows that are scored
exclusively for the flute? (either concert flute or other world flutes)

Thanks for your time.

For the ZAIA music we have used many different wind instruments. When a new player comes in we work with their primary instrument they were hired for; then we also explore possibilities with other instruments they play. So the instrumentation can evolve over time depending on the different skills and motivations of the individual player as well as evolving music requirements for the show.

One of the primary instruments in the past for ZAIA has been the recorder family. At one point we even had a contrabass recorder in the show. We also occasionally use ethnic instruments like the kaval or electronic woodwinds like the EWI. There’s even a melodica played at some points in the show. We did have one point where a regular concert flute was used in the show for a short time.

I’ve seen 10 of the various Cirque Du Soleil shows live and to my recollection there is often a woodwind in the mix but not usually a traditional concert flute. Usually it’s something from the early music family or an ethnic instrument.

Many of the Cirque shows can evolve their orchestration depending on the direction of the artistic director and composer.

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