Cynthia Folio (b. 1954) is a composer, music theorist, and flutist. As a young flute player and army brat, her main inspiration came from her studies at the Panama Conservatory in the1960’s; there she studied with Eduardo Charpentier (first flutist in the Panama Symphony) and had rigorous studies in solfege. She received her Ph.D. in music theory and Performers Certificate in flute from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied composition with Joseph Schwantner and flute with Bonita Boyd; Robert D. Morris advised her dissertation on the music of Schwantner. From 1980 to 1990, she taught music theory and flute at Texas Christian University and played in the Fort Worth Symphony. She now serves as Professor and Chair of Music Studies in the Boyer College at Temple University, where she was honored with the Creative Achievement Award in 2012 and the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1994.
Philadelphia Inquirer reviewers have described Folio’s compositions as “confident and musical in expressing ideas of great substance,” “intriguing and enjoyable,” and “imaginatively scored.” She received commissions from such organizations as Network for New Music, the Relâche Ensemble, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Astral Artistic Services, Ensemble Triolet, Pi Kappa Lambda, and the National Flute Association. She has held composer residencies at The American Academy in Rome, Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
The author of many music theory articles and chapters, Folio focuses on the topics of contemporary music and jazz, including a chapter on Sequenza No. 1 by Berio in Berio’s Sequenzas (Ashgate Publishers); a chapter on polyrhythm in jazz in Concert Music, Rock and Jazz Since 1945 (University of Rochester Press); and an article on Schwantner’s music for Perspectives of New Music. Folio’s compositions are recorded on many CD’s, including a 2014 release, Inverno Azul, featuring nine of her compositions (BCM+D label); a 2007 release by the Relâche Ensemble, Press Play (Meyer Music LLC); and a 2006 release of Flute Loops: Chamber Music for Flute (Centaur Records), featuring eight of her compositions. She also recorded a jazz flute CD, Portfolio (Centaur Records), which includes four original compositions.