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Using Flautist or Flutist

A picture of a woman playing the flute with the words Flautist or Flutist?

Americans will usually use flutist as the noun denoting a person who plays the flute. In types of English from outside North America, flautist is more standard, but both words are used to some degree by Canadian writers.

From the French flûtisteFlutist is the older English word, and it is not American in origin. The Oxford English Dictionary details an example from 1603, although the word remained infrequent in any form until early in the 18th century. It was the favored form in all types of English until the late 19th century, when flautist, which came from the Italian flautista early that century, was fully embraced in British English.

Flute-player is a noncontroversial alternative if you can’t decide which form to use.


“Rampal plays with an abundance of ame (soul) and a tenderness that is potent at its core,” wrote Eugenia Zukerman, describing a Jean-Pierre Rampal performance in Esquire. “With a profoundly expressive musicality, he is a poet-flutist nonpareil.” – MusicianGuide

The flutist James Galway and pianist Barry Douglas achieved tremendous success in classical circles, while the compositions of Elaine Agnew found a following outside the country.[Encyclopedia Britannica]

flautist for nearly 11 years and a graduate student at Boston Conservatory at Berklee in Boston, Massachusetts, Rabin said the flute is not only his career, it’s an extension of his body. []

He performs with Camerata Pacifica as principal flautist alongside a core group of musicians on piano, string and woodwind, as well as several guest musicians each seasonThe new Camerata season starts on September 16th. [The Economist

Today the flute is one of the most popular instruments taught in schools, mainly thanks to the people upholding the tradition of beautiful tone and recognisable melodies. We have chosen six such flautists here, along with an album that exemplifies their style. –

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By Connie Fisher

Connie Fisher is a freelance writer and editor specializing in business writing and marketing. She holds a bachelor's degree in media and journalism and has contributed to a slew of printed and online media, including Contra Costa Times, Daily American, the The Tri-Town News,, and many more.

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