In 1999, Donald Peck resigned from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra after 42 years as Principal Flute. To celebrate this milestone, the Instrumentalist Flute Talk Magazine recently had a cover story and in conclusion stated, “Peck continues to grow artistically, playing with Technicolor radiance as he skillfully executes each phrase with musical understanding. His virtuosic contributions to the symphonic and solo world remind us that he is first and foremost a musician who happens to play the flute.” As a soloist, recitalist, clinician and Chicago Symphony member, Peck has played concerts in major cities in the United States, Canada, Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, Japan, and Australia Peck’s is truly “the Flute heard around the World”!
He has played under four music directors with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Reiner, Martinon, Solti, and Barenboim – and has made over 300 recordings with 22 conductors on 12 labels. Mr. Peck has performed at 124 concerts of the Chicago Symphony as soloist; in Chicago, at the Ravinia Festival and on tour. In 1985, Mr. Peck gave the world premiere of Morton Gould’s Flute Concerto with the Chicago Symphony under Sir Georg Solti. The work was written especially for him. As time permits, he is guest artist with other orchestras. Some of these excursions have taken him to the Casals Festival with concerts in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Carnegie Hall in New York; to Australia, where he recorded the Mozart Flute Concertos for the Australian Broadcasting Commission; to the Carmel Bach Festival in California; to the Victoria International Festival in Canada; to the Grand Teton Festival in Wyoming – altogether a total of 42 different orchestras.
Mr. Peck received his early musical training in Seattle. At the age of 17 he was accepted as a scholarship student at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied with the flute legend, William Kincaid. He interrupted his third year of study to finish the season with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC. He then spent the next three years in the US Marine Band in that city. He became principal flutist with the Kansas City Philharmonic for two years before coming to the Chicago Symphony in 1957.
Donald Peck teaches flute and woodwind ensemble at DePaul University in Chicago and is a frequent guest teacher and master class clinician at other institutions. These have included the Rotterdam Conservatorium in Holland, the Osaka Japan Flute Club, the Juillard School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and the Tanglewood Festival in Massachusetts. His annual eight session master class week at DePaul University draws an international group of young flutists to study with him.