Northwestern State University Professor of Flute and Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Music Dr. Dennette Derby McDermott was recently asked to co-author an article in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. This 29-volume music encyclopedia is the largest and most respected reference work for the subject of music in the world. Each article is written by a recognized scholar in their area of research, and every entry is reviewed by a board and subject to approval.
The New Grove Dictionary was originally published in 1878, the last printed edition was published in 2001, and is now available online by subscription. The article that McDermott co-authored is a result of over 20 years of research on the neglected 18th Century Czech composer, Jiri Čart (Georg Zarth).
McDermott’s research began in 1997 when a Czech professor at the Janáček Academy of Music, Arnošt Bourek, gave her manuscript copies of Čart’s unpublished flute sonatas. She conducted a sort of, “treasure hunt” for more original 18th-century manuscript copies by this composer held by libraries in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, and Sweden. This involved writing to each library and requesting a copy which was available in either paper or electronic format.
In 2010, she traveled to The Royal Library in Copenhagen, and not only saw original manuscripts, but was also able to identify two of the composer’s works which were labeled as “Anonymous.” This research yielded important updates on Čart to RISM (Repertoire International des Sources Musicales), a worldwide library reporting system of musical manuscripts and early editions.
In 2016, McDermott organized and published the first “Thematic Index” of this composer’s works. These works are mainly sonatas and concerti for flute or violin. Jiri Čart was a Bohemian flutist and violinist who worked at the courts of Dresden, Berlin and Mannheim. The various spellings of his name in various languages (Czard, Czarth, Qchart, Schart, Szarth, Tzarth, and Zardt, to name a few) may have contributed to him being somewhat forgotten.
McDermott is the 2021 recipient of the Magale Endowed Professorship, which will be used to record several of these flute sonatas on replica period instruments.
In the past six years, she has learned to play the one-keyed, 18th-century wooden flute in order to have a better understanding of this composer’s music. Her studies on this period instrument has led to instruction with some of the world’s leading baroque flutists and scholars, such as Bartold Kuijken, Wilbert Hazelzet, Claire Guimond, Jed Wentz and Janet See. She also recently uploaded some of these manuscripts to IMSLP (International Music Score Library Project) and hopes to soon add a recording so Čart may receive the appreciation that he deserves.
McDermott has taught at Northwestern State since 1990. She has performed in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, England, Canada, Honduras, Russia, Spain and throughout the United States, including numerous performances at National Flute Association Conventions.
After playing flute and piccolo professionally for many years her interest in baroque flute led to the opportunity to participate in the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute in 2015, 2017 and 2018, an intensive training program on historical instruments, where she studied flute with Claire Guimond and Jed Wentz.
She participated in the Twin Cities Baroque Music program in 2016 and 2017. In 2019, McDermott was selected from an audition to participate with The American Bach Soloists Academy in San Francisco where she studied with Sandra Miller. She has also participated in the Seattle Baroque Flute Course taught by Janet See and Kathy Stewart.
McDermott plays baroque flute with the Austin Baroque Orchestra, a period music ensemble that specializes in music of the renaissance, baroque and classical periods. In 2020, she performed with the Ritornello Baroque Collective of San Diego. She holds degrees from Michigan State University (BM), The University of Michigan (MM) and The University of North Texas (DMA).