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Born in 1956 in Montreal, Jean-François Beaudin decided at an early age to become a flutist who could make his own instruments as well as play them, taking the celebrated figure of J.J. Quantz as his ideal. After two years of study at the University of Montreal, he moved to the Hague in order to work with Ricardo Kanji and Bartholde Kuijken at the conservatory there. In Amsterdam, he had the privilege of studying with Australian recorder maker Frederick Morgan, who became a major influence in his life when he introduced Beaudin to the fine art of flute drawing.

Beaudin soon developed his own style, and his drawing of a flute by G.A. Rottenburg in Kuijken’s collection became well known among museum professionals. Since then, several museums with important flutes in their collections—including the Musée instrumental de la cité de la musique in Paris, the Musikinstrumenten-Museum in Berlin, the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, and the Dayton Miller collection at the Library of Congress—have relied on Jean-François Beaudin’s skill in producing technical drawings of their instruments. In February 2004, the Miller Collection launched a new website with access to four of Beaudin’s drawings in their holdings.

In Montreal, Beaudin has been active as a performer and flute maker and has taught at McGill and Concordia Universities. A grant from Quebec’s Arts Council enabled him to continue his studies of flute-making with Frederick Morgan in Melbourne, Australia, and in 1994 the Canadian Museum of Civilization dedicated a showcase in its OPUS exhibition to Beaudin’s work.

A strong interest in the classical music of South India took Beaudin to Madras, where he studied Carnatic flute traditions and was especially struck by the simplicity and power of the local bamboo flute. During the last ten years, Beaudin has been passionately engaged with the completion of his “modern traverso”, an instrument in which he hopes to merge the best qualities of Western Baroque and South Indian bamboo flutes. The creation of this new flute represents for him an achievement of his ideal and a summation of all his research.

Kathryn L. Shanks Libin   (Article in the AMIS newsletter, Spring 2004)