Blackburn, Marlene

Marlene Blackburn (1957-2017)

Marlene Blackburn began her musical studies at the age of 10, studying piano and voice at St. Veronica's School. Several years later she enrolled at the McGill Preparatory School of Music where she studied flute, theory, and played with the Montreal Youth Symphony, under the direction of Maestro Kerry Stratton.

Upon moving to Ottawa, she enrolled at the Conservatoire de Musiquie de Hull where she studied flute with Madame Gail Grimstead-Michaud, who was one of Jean-Pierre Rampal's most outstanding students. Her teachers have since included Jean-Guy Brault and Robert Cram (National Arts Centre Orchestra), and Jeanne Baxtresser (formerly principal flutist of the New York Philharmonic). In addition she has attended master classes with Nora Shulman (Toronto Symphony Orchestra), William Bennett (London Symphony Orchestra), the late Julius Baker (New York Philharmonic Orchestra) and Jean-Pierre Rampal.

Marlene went on to obtain her honours Bachelor of Music at the University of Ottawa and later the Bachelor of Education. Upon graduating she auditioned for and won the first flute position with the Central Band of the Canadian Forces; she was the youngest to ever hold the position. During her career she performed with the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, the Ottawa Pops Orchestra, the Ottawa Theatre Orchestra, the Gatineau Symphony, the Seosan Symphony, and the Huronia Symphony.

An avid composer and conductor, her song "Ottawa" was one of the winning entries in the national "Song for Ottawa Competition." She also wrote theme songs for Bell Canada, the United Way and the City of Calgary. Marlene also studied conducting with John-Kim Bell of the Toronto Symphony and Gerhard Markson of the Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg.

She recorded for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) programs such as 'Montreal Après Midi', 'Concertime','Jeune Artistes' and 'Banc D'Essai', and hosted the arts television show 'Arts Magazine'. In 2008, she was one of the few flutists selected by Sir James Galway to perform at his prestigious Master Class in Weggis, Switzerland. Marlene taught at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). During that time she collaborate with Karen Moratz, principal flutist of the Indianapolis Symphony, in designing an ergonomic flute headjoint.