Who is Innovative Flutist?


James Brinkmann (he/him) unites his passion for teaching, performing, and researching by creating interactive performances to strengthen the listener’s connection with music. From playing in concert halls to jamming in the subways, he has performed for and collaborated with communities throughout North America, including University of Utah, Atlanta Flute Club, Broad Museum Art Lab (MI), and Pan Harmonia chamber ensemble (NC). He presented lecture-recitals and research papers on listener’s connection to music at the 2018 and 2019 National Flute Convention, College Music Society regional conferences, University of Toronto Graduate Music Conference, and gave his TEDx Talk Collaborative Listening at TEDx DePaul University. His spontaneous performances in the Chicago subway stations and ideas about audience engagement were featured in the Chicago Tribune in August 2018. 

In addition to his interactive performances, he leads a diverse career as a teacher, author, chamber and orchestral musician. At Michigan State University, James is a flute teaching assistant, a musicology teaching assistant, and the acting co-director and senior fellow of the RCAH Graduate Fellowship Program. He has served on the flute faculty and as the woodwind department chair at the Merit School of Music in Chicago. As a pedagogue, he has published a method book, The Scale Page, for advancing beginner and intermediate flutists and has been published in Flute Talk, The Flute View, and Pipeline. An advocate for collaboration, he co-founded Floboe Productions with oboist Alli Gessner and Silverwood Ensemble with cellist Sarah Hansen. He held the positions of second flute in the Northbrook Symphony, principal flute in the Lakeview Orchestra where he was a featured concerto soloist, and has subbed with the New World Symphony. He placed 2nd and 3rd in the National Flute Association Orchestral Excerpts Competition and was a two-time 3rd prize winner in the Donald Peck International Flute Competition. He is getting a D.M.A. in Flute Performance and an M.A. in Musicology at Michigan State University. He holds an M.M. and Graduate Certificate in Music Career Development from MSU and a B.M. from DePaul University. His primary teachers include Richard Sherman, Mary Stolper, Lisa Byrnes, and Christina Smith.

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James brings his flute almost everywhere and breaks down performer-audience barriers by performing in unique settings like commercial airline flights, on the streets, and in parks. This often leads to joyful and inspiring conversations with the local residents and passersby.


He resides in East Lansing, MI and loves exploring nature, painting, traveling, and playing chess and other board games.