Erich Graf's Memoir has been published by Friesen Press!
Purchase or download Erich Graf-Musician, Flutist, Advocate
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Kirkus review excerpts 

Erich Graf, Musician, Flutist, Advocate

In this solid memoir, Graf traces his influences and development as a professional artist and, more generally, as a human being.

A look back on a life full of collaborative endeavors both onstage and behind the scenes.

. . . tribute penned in 2011 by union attorney Joseph Hatch, which offers…substantive details regarding Graf’s tenure as a labor leader.

While the author’s recollections of childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood are certainly well-written and informative, the most noteworthy chapter is “Seven Essays on the Dénouement of the Graf Family and the Closing of the Family Home,” in which Graf returns to Ann Arbor in middle age to face the decline and death of his parents, including his mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s. This is a universal story told with power and heart, . . . The strength of this moving section alone makes Graf’s memoir worth a read.

--Kirkus Reviews

                                                Read the complete review HERE 


I very much enjoyed reading Erich Graf's memoirs. Besides being an outstanding musician, flutist, and builder of miniature ships, Erich Graf is very articulate and an outstanding writer. There are rare people we meet in life whom we know will be our friends, no matter the ups and downs. Erich and I have had that rare sort of friendship going back to our days at Juilliard. Erich's memoirs give us a real glimpse of musical life as an orchestral flutist. He takes the rose-colored glasses off to give the reader a true picture- the good, great, the bad and the ugly. A wonderful read--I highly recommend it!

Paul Fried—former Assistant Principal Flutist, Boston Symphony; Principal flutist, New West Symphony; International recording artist and studio musician

Your book is a fascinating tour of the life that is of course yours and yours alone. However it is also a glimpse into what could be the lives of many extraordinary artists in the late 20th Century, how they developed and managed to find a way to express themselves during a difficult time in the history of music in America. It is well written, touching, revealing and thankfully humorous.

Lewis Kaplan--violinist, Aeolian Chamber Players; violin faculty, Juilliard School; former director, Bowdoin College International Music Festival

Erich Graf is a human being of utmost warmth and generosity, and his honest memoir reflects that. Older flutists can enjoy his successes and empathize with his frustrations; younger ones can learn from both. All of us can be grateful to him for sharing his story.

John Wion—former principal flutist, New York City Opera, former faculty member, Hartt College of Music, author

I have known Erich Graf for many years. A most accomplished and experienced professional flutist, he has an illustrious career spanning many decades as a distinguished artist of solo repertoire, chamber music and in top US orchestras. But he also was and is a dedicated unionist, leading the American Federation of Musicians' Salt Lake City Local #104 for 17 years. His dedication to his art and unionism is exemplary, therefore incoming generation of musicians will benefit greatly from his experience and wisdom. I look forward to reading these memoirs.

Nathan Kahn-Negotiator
AFM Symphonic Services Division

Thank you so much Erich!! What a thrill to finger thru your amazing life story. How inspiring this is for me in my own struggle to figure a convincing way to tell mine - if at all.....I'm deeply admiring your careful wording, your generosity (SL !!) {sic: Salt Lake) and wonderful informative style throughout.....High 5!!!! 
After finishing your texts I'm sitting in deep awe, profoundly touched by your so touching unfolding of your background stories, your becoming a man, a mature musician, your parent's farewell, your strong, steady service to mankind. I'm shaken - because now I'm encouraged by your masterful life-scenery to finally begin to express the loss-experiences of my family-story thru the years....and may find a similar humble and clear form and wording. Yes. we all are orphans having to say goodbye to our parents...and struggle to overcome that unique, so very special grief in one’s life, and do carry it throughout until our last day.... How simply deeply you're writing ! What an honor for me that you let me see it! Thank you for that sharing! My best to you -Matthias

Maestro Matthias Kuntzsch
Internationally-known Music Director, Conductor and Scholar

It is with great pleasure and admiration that I have read Erich Graf’s memoir. I have known my fellow flutist Erich for over 40 years. The years that we attended Juilliard overlapped, we both studied with Julius Baker, and for two years we were neighbors at the Bradford “Hotel,” an apartment complex on West 70th Street, conveniently only four blocks from Juilliard. He lived in the apartment directly above mine, and we quickly became close friends. I must say, I have never since run into anyone else that practiced so much!

This book is richly written, an insightful and probing account of his early life, his wonderful parents who encouraged him and stood behind him, his education and continuing career. His characterful and evocative use of metaphors throughout the book belies a poetic sensibility.
The fact that he held two extremely demanding fulltime positions which require such different skills and mindsets concurrently strikes me as nothing short of amazing. He was the principal flutist of the Utah Symphony for over 30 years. Beyond that, he was the president of the American Federation of Musicians Local 104 from 1994 to 2011. It is a superhuman feat to have held these positions simultaneously – not only rehearsing and performing with the orchestra but also administrating the musicians’ union. To put this differently, he dealt with the politics of orchestral life beyond maintaining the highest artistic skills and at the same time ran the union, an extremely delicate position which requires expert business acumen. It is extremely rare that these abilities manifest themselves in one person. I would think that it would be impossible, but Erich did it and put his integrity whole-heartedly into all of his responsibilities. 
I believe that the key to his personality and life-view lies within his Conscientious Observer letter written when he was in his early 20s. 
In closing, I must say that I enjoy Erich’s droll sense of humor and generosity of spirit. He is indeed a very wise and expansive man.
Alan Cox
Former principal flutist, San Francisco Opera, Author

Thoughts and experiences of a career professional

This book will be of interest to anyone who has attended a symphony orchestra concert, a chamber music concert, a solo recital, or listened to professional recordings made by the previously mentioned groups. What is it that makes up the lives of these musicians as they sit on the stage playing their instruments which they have studied for decades?

It is also recommended reading for instrumental music students in junior and senior high school or even those at the college level who may be contemplating a career with a symphony orchestra. What steps should a young student take to get into the elite, close-knit community, of the global symphonic orchestral environment? What lessons can be learned for anyone eyeing a professional career in any task-based, skill-based occupation?

And those of us who have cherished moments with our parents will also find solace that others go through the same grieving process no matter what their background.

Erich Graf has composed his memoires that are full of insight not just into the world of a 52-week symphony musician, but into the critical infrastructure of the professional music world. Mr. Graf served as president of his local musicians’ union in addition to giving weekly performances with a symphony orchestra. He was wearing two hats a great deal of his career and discusses his concerns – intimate and otherwise – in addition to public performance issues.

But let’s not forget that those musicians, including Mr. Graf, which we hear perform weekly (and multiple nights of every week) are first and foremost, every-day humans, even as they are formally attired in white tie and tails. Moreover, while the rarified air of a multiple-degreed Juilliard School of Music graduate is exhilarating, getting there is extremely challenging both personally and educationally. Erich reviews the highlights of his vast experiences as he navigates his way into and through this enlightening performance world giving the reader a veiled insight into the personal motivations of his life and career.

It isn’t too often that a professional musician authors a book containing his recollections which is why this book is so special. Mr. Graf states in his first sentences the reason for putting a portion of a flutist’s private life down on paper for everyone one to read. It is meaningful and we should be honored that he took the time to enlighten us. The book flows well and is a good read for any airline or train travel adventure!


Erich Graf’s memoirs from Ralph Gochnour (former 2nd flutist, Utah Symphony) and his wife, Rosie

I knew bits and pieces of your early days but it was nice to have them fleshed out so that I felt I knew the complete story. I felt that some of your writing was absolutely eloquent, and could serve as an example for a creative writing class, especially the parts of caring for your parents in their last days--beautiful thoughts and feelings. I felt that you covered many aspects of your career in good detail. I felt that you "short changed" yourself on your career in Utah. You should have divorced the Thierry Fischer debacle from the other thirty plus years here and treated it as a separate section so that it wouldn't have detracted from all the of the good you did during your career here. You served the orchestra very well and also the community at large. You were involved in many activities outside of the orchestra and for all of those years; you were regarded as the Principal Flutist of the whole intermountain region. We had many excellent concerts, some very good tours, which many of the large orchestras weren't doing during this time, recordings, and your own personal CD's and a nice video. Not to mention the work you did for the AFM during a very difficult time. You were instrumental in bringing it back to stability and respectability. As far as your feeling that the orchestra members turned their backs on you, It was done strictly for their feeling of self-preservation. They knew that change was coming and pretty well figured out what his tactics were going to be--which have proven to be the case. 

All in all it was a very good read. Be proud of what you did and look forward to having a positive effect on all of the people that you interact with, both young and old. They will remember your talent and wisdom.

Ralph and Rosie Gochnour