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Major Compositions

Three Mimes, theater piece for flute and baritone voice (showcases extended flute
       techniques, notably Cantrick's own invention, the buzz)1
E.T.O., Rhapsody for Dance Band and Symphony Orchestra
Trio, for violin, viola, and cello
The Friendly Beasts, song cycle for mezzo soprano and piano
Woodwind Quintet
Elegy, quartet for SATB with flute, viola, bassoon, and piano
Local, for solo flutist and four sound systems (employs buzz and other extended techniques)
Small Mysteries, quartet for C flutes
Sonorities, for flute and symphony orchestra (employs buzz)

1DVD recording of 1994 premiere New York performance by Margaret Lancaster, flute, and John Uehlein, baritone, available upon request; score also available.

All other compositions have had recorded performances; CDs available upon request. A digitized score and parts are available for E.T.O.; copies of scores and parts for Trio, Woodwind Quintet, and The Friendly Beasts can be provided. Scores for other compositions will eventually be available through the E.H. Butler Library of Buffalo State College.

Extended Flute Techniques

Linked here are two items of historical and technical interest:

  • Cantrick's detailed written description of five extended flute techniques, including one he discovered in the early 60s, the "buzz," now commonly referred to as "trumpet sound." The article is accompanied by a fingering chart. Cantrick's early employment of buzz, using a specially designed Powell flute with B-flat footjoint, is referenced by Nancy Toff in her classic work The Development of the Modern Flute, and his discovery is documented in several sources from the early 60s and 70s. See bibliography.
  • Cantrick's 1971 audio demonstration of extended techniques


Robert Cantrick played a significant role in the restoration to the concert-band repertoire of English composer Gustav Holst's Hammersmith. Holst, acknowledged as one of the world's leading composers of concert-band music, wrote the piece in 1930. Subsequently the score was lost, and the work was apparently forgotten for twenty years. In 1954, Cantrick, then director of the Kiltie Band at Carnegie Mellon University, tracked down the work, prepared a score and parts, and conducted what was believed at the time to have been the world premiere (not to be confused with the premiere in 1931 of Holst's orchestral transcription of the work).

Later research revealed, however, that the work had been performed on April 17, 1932, by the U.S. Marine Band at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC on the occasion of the Third Annual Convention of the American Bandmaster's Association. Nevertheless, the original full score having been lost for 20 years, the popularity of the work — a standard in the concert-band repertoire — is traced to Cantrick's performance and its subsequent publication by Boosey and Hawkes.

For a full account of the history of these two historic performances of Hammersmith, see Jon C. Mitchell's article "The Premieres of Hammersmith" in the Spring 1984 issue of the CBDNA Journal.2 For Cantrick's own analysis of the work, see his article, "Hammersmith and the Two Worlds of Gustav Holst" in the July 1956 issue of Music and Letters.

2Concert Band Directors National Association

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