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School of Music

Catherine Boyack Awarded First Place in National Flute Competition

Competition highlights hard work of BYU Music Major

At the tender age of two, Catherine Winters Boyack knew the flute was the instrument meant for her. “My parents, classical musicians, took me to a Utah Symphony concert. When the flute had a solo, I turned to them and said, ‘Mommy! Daddy! I want to play the flute!’ ”

After four years of begging her parents for a flute, Boyack said she received one right before her sixth birthday. She took to it quickly, loved every second of it, and has never looked back.

Boyack, a senior in flute performance from Lindon, Utah, was chosen as the 2017 national winner in the Woodwind Division of the widely-known National Federation of Music Clubs Student Collegiate Competition.

To enter, Boyack submitted CD recordings of her performing several flute arrangements chosen from a list of required repertoire given to competitors. She said she sent her CDs to the state competition chair and was delighted to receive the news that she made it to the national finals.After sending her CDs to the national competition chair, they were again distributed to distinguished woodwind players standing in as judges. Boyack said she was thrilled when she received an email saying she had been selected as the 2017 national winner of the Woodwind Division.

As the first place winner, Boyack received a $3,000 prize which she said will be used for future musical endeavors. In addition to a confidence boost, she said, “Winning this means that I can put the name of this reputable competition in my resume. This helps establish my own place in the flute world.”

Boyack has a busy year ahead. Plans include performing and recording for six or seven different national competitions and preparing repertoire for upcoming concerts. She is also headed to Dusseldorf, Germany in mid-September to compete in the Aeolus Winds Competition, her first international competition.

Professor April Clayton, Boyack’s mentor, will be traveling to Dusseldorf with Boyack. She said, “Catherine has a very natural sense of musicality, a beautiful tone with great projection, and a very reliable memory. She has it all! I'm excited to hear her perform.”

Clayton has been working with Boyack since she was in high school. “I watched her progress and grow up over the years. But I was always impressed with her playing and her positive attitude.”

As a flute major, Clayton sees Boyack for weekly private lessons as well as a weekly two-hour flute class. She said they have worked on projects together in the past including spending two weeks in Paris last year and attending the Salt Lake Flute Forum this past June.

Boyack said, “Dr. Clayton has a unique and brilliant sound, and has encouraged me to do the same: be my own player and really communicate what I have to say. She has encouraged me to follow my dreams and pursue my goals relentlessly.”

“Being a part of the BYU School of Music has been a wonderful experience. I have learned so much from my peers and have been supported by the faculty and administration in ways I did not know were possible.”