Umberto Eco, flute player

Umberto Eco, flute player


norman lebrecht

February 20, 2016

The formidable Italian semiotician, philosopher and novelist who died on Friday night, aged 84, had a passion for playing the baroque flute, recorder and kindred instruments.

He appeared on the cover of the first issue of Suonare, in November 1995, telling the editor of his great love for playing Bach, Telemann, Loeillet and Sammartini:

‘Suono solo il dolce. Ho iniziato con quello in Do, poi sono passato al Fa, che dà più gusto e ha una letteratura più vasta. Ho vari flauti: alcuni in plastica, altri in ebano, di buona qualità. Ne ho uno di fattura artigianale, e talora penso che per un’esecutore come me sia sprecato.’

The author of The Name of the Rose was the ultimate European cultural connoisseur.

Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi said today: Umberto Eco was ‘an extraordinary example of a European intellectual, combining unique intelligence of the past with a limitless capacity to anticipate the future. ‘It’s an enormous loss for culture, which will miss his writing and voice, his sharp and lively thought, and his humanity.’

May he rest in peace.

umberto eco flute recorder

h/t: Cecilia Michelangeli Rivers


  • Joel Cohen says:

    If I read Eco’s comments quoted above correctly, he was not a baroque flute player at all — he stuck to the recorder.