The first time we heard the word floboe was during orchestra rehearsal at DePaul University. While oboist Alli and flutist James played, our sounds seemed to blend effortlessly and naturally. Becoming floboe became a joy for us. After graduation, we found ways to keep our floboe sound alive through playing in a community orchestra and on the Southwest Michigan Symphony’s Summer Casual Classics in St. Joseph, MI.
In 2017, we premiered our first storytelling show, Concerto for Frenemies, a comedic musical production of Mozart’s C/D Concerto for Oboe/Flute. We connected with our community through two successful IndieGoGo fundraising campaigns. The show was featured in the Chicago Tribune’s “Recommended Chicago Classical Concerts” by Jon Von Rhein and has been hosted by the Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) Community Concert Series, where the audience was filled to 90% capacity. Concerto for Frenemies continues to travel around the country while FPS develops more storytelling shows. CSMA invited FPS to premiere their second storytelling show, Floboe’s Latin American Vacation, in which the ensemble travels to Latin American and has to maneuver through tricky travel mishaps, cultural conflict, unfamiliar musical styles, and find their groove.
FPS has performed in Chicago, IL at PianoForte Studios, Merit School of Music, and on the Community School of Music and Arts Community Concerts Series in Mountain View, CA.
Now in our fourth season, we continue to create new shows and engage with communities. We aspire to bring joy and excitement to our audiences through our passion for classical music and storytelling.
When Alli Gessner picked up an oboe for the first time in 9th grade, she had no idea that she was picking up her life's work. Her passion for classical music is evident in her teaching and performing. Alli is a versatile musician, at home in chamber, orchestral, and untraditional performances.
Alli lives in Sunnyvale, CA, and currently freelances with many Bay Area ensembles, including the Stockton Symphony, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Sacramento Philharmonic, and One Found Sound ensemble. She held the Second Oboe and English Horn seat in the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra by appointment from 2012-2017, and has performed with many orchestras in the Midwest including the Northwest Indiana Symphony, Peoria Symphony, New Philharmonic Orchestra, Northbrook Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony, and Dubuque Symphony.
Teaching is also a passion of Alli's, and many of her strategies come from her experiences with tendonitis. After years of forearm pain, Alli found the Alexander Technique, swimming, and yoga to be helpful in developing body and breath awareness. Fundamentals like breathing exercises, and posture are essential elements of each lesson and practice session. Alli has been teaching since 2007, and loves introducing the oboe to students for the first time. She is comfortable working with students of all ages and abilities.
James Brinkmann, the Innovative Flutist, unites his passions for teaching and performing by designing interactive events to strengthen audiences' connection with music, their creativity, and community. From playing in concert halls to jamming in the subways, he has performed for and collaborated with universities, museums, music organizations, orchestras, and communities throughout the United States. He has given a TEDx Talk called Collaborative Listening: Rethinking Your Connection to Music, was featured in the Chicago Tribune's Arts and Entertainment section in August 2018, and has presented at 2018 and 2019 National Flute Conventions.
James served as woodwind department chair and flute faculty at the Merit School of Music in Chicago and published a method book, “The Scale page”, for intermediate flutists. James is currently a graduate teaching assistant at Michigan State University and studies with Richard Sherman. He received his Bachelor of Music at DePaul University, and his other primary teachers are Lisa Byrnes, Mary Stolper, and Christina Smith. As an orchestral musician, James held positions in the Northbrook Symphony, the Lakeview Orchestra, and subbed with the New World Symphony. He has placed 2nd and 3rd in the National Flute Association Orchestral Excerpts Competition and is a two-time 3rd prize winner in the Donald Peck International Flute Competition.
James brings his flute almost everywhere and breaks down performer-audience barriers by performing in unique settings including commercial airline flights, airports, parks, and long-distance trains. These impromptu performances often lead to joyful and inspiring conversations with the local residents and passersby. Outside of music, James finds joy in traveling, painting Rothko and Monet-inspired art, playing board games, and exploring nature