Sheridon Stokes

Flutist, Sheridon Stokes, has been performing in Hollywood studio orchestras for over 50 years.  He has played on many of the most influential films and shows throughout the last 3 generations. Sheridon sat down with Inside the Notes to recall an incredible time in the film music industry, and the contemporary music giants who were premiering new works in Los Angeles.

Sheridon Stokes, flute

Hollywood studio legend, Sheridon Stokes, tells us about his 50+ year career as a studio flute player.  He has played on countless films and his stories remind us of how much the studio industry has changed over the years.

SHERIDON STOKES, born in Los Angeles, was hired as a piccolo player in the Denver Symphony when he was 16 years old and was the youngest contract musician in Hollywood at age 20, with the 20th Century Fox Orchestra under Alfred Newman. He studied at the University of Denver and was a scholarship student at USC majoring in composition. His primary flute teachers were Haaken Bergh and Arthur Gleghorn. He studied composition with Dr. Ernest Kanitz, Russelll Gracia, Haaken Bergh and Walter Kelsey (Schillinger system).

Sheridon with his father, and Stokowski at the Hollywood Bowl

He appears frequently as soloist, master class technician, and lecturer. His publications are distributed world-wide, and include the “Illustrated Method for Flute” (endorsed by Jean-Pierre Rampal) with two five-star reviews from Amazon.com, and “Special Effects for Flute.” Mr. Stokes has premiered solo works by former Boston Pops conductor John Williams, and contemporary composers Henri Lazarof, Paul Chihara, and Russell Steinberg. He has been featured in many television and film scores, including the television series “Mission Impossible,” “Roots,” and “Kung Fu,” as well as the films “The Sound of Music” “Jaws,” “E.T.,” “Ghost,” “Glory,” “Patriot Games,” “Sneakers,” “Scent of a Woman,” “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” and more recently, “Mission Impossible,” “Waterworld,” “Jumanji,” “Independence Day,” “Spitfire Grill,” “Rush Hour II”, and “Bringing Down The House”. He was solo flute at the Academy Awards in 1997 and 1998 and played the famous penny whistle solo from the Titanic song “My Heart Will Go On” with Celine Dion and in 2008 was solo flute again for the Academy Awards. In 2006, he performed with the Bill Mays Trio at Martha’s Vineyard and in 2007 he was soloist in La Mancha, Spain with the Murcia Chamber Orchestra.

Mr. Stokes received the MVP award in flute from the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1980, 1981, and 1982, and in 1983 received the Emeritus award. He has taught and performed at music festivals, including Curso Musical International de Invierno in Benidorm, Spain (1989-90), the Bud Shank Jazz Workshop in Port Townsend, Washington (1986-1988), and the Mozart Festival in Monterey, California. His compact disc releases include “Chamber Music” by Henri Lazarof (Laurel Records), “Quintet for Flute and Strings” by Leon Levitch (Bay Cities Records), “Willow, Willow” for bass flute and percussion by Paul Chihara (CRI Records), “Six Sonatas” for flute and harpsichord by Luigi Boccherini (Naxas/Orion Records), and “Torbellino — 10 Tangos for Flute and Guitar” by Christopher Caliendo (Efficaci Records).  He is also featured on recordings with Jascha Heifetz, Frank Sinatra, and the Carpenters. Mr. Stokes performed for 10 years in the Monday Evening Concert series, showcasing such composers as Stravinsky, Boulez, Dahl and many more!

Sheridon with Erika Block at the interview

Some of his compositions are “Bon Voyage” for alto flute and string bass (1996), “Robin Hood Fantasy” for solo bass flute (premiered with Ballet California, 1993), “Soulscapes” for flute and marimba (premiered at the National Flute Association Convention, 1997), and “Laissez le voler” for flute quartet (premiered at UCLA, 1997). His work, Irish In The Lowlands for contra bass flute, bass flutes, and Irish flutes was premiered at UCLA in 2008 and has been released on CD.  He won the National Flute Association’s International Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to him at their annual convention in San Diego, in August, 2005.

Julius Baker performing “A Night Piece”

Mr. Stokes performed in this studio orchestra

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