HELLO AMERICA!—After escaping a brutal attack by the KKK while attending Earlham Collage in Richmond, Indiana, I felt extremely lucky to find a new home base at USC; not only that, meeting Sheridon Stokes in my class who was touted as one of the most gifted flute players in California.

2005 Lifetime Achievement Award

Sheridon Stokes became the youngest contract musician in Hollywood at age 20. He is the flute soloist for “Mission Impossible” (TV and movie), “Out of Africa,” “E.T.,” “Kung Fu,” “Roots,” “Spitfire Grill,” “Apollo 13,” and thousands of other movie and TV scores. Stokes received the MVP award for flute from the National Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1981, 1982, and 1983. Premiers include Concerto for flute and orchestra by John Williams, Willow for electric bass flute and percussion by Paul Chiihara, and “On the Wings of the Wind” for solo flute and orchestra by Harry Bulow.

Solo CD records include his transcription of “Six Sonatas by Boccherini” (Orion-Naxos), “Torbellino” by Caliendo for flute and guitar (Efficaci), “Trio” by Lazarof for flute, clarinet, and oboe (Laurel), and “Quintet” by Levitch for flute and strings (Orion). Stokes has been first flute and soloist with the Glendale Symphony for 25 years (Carmen Dragon and Lalo Schifrin directors).

He first played the flute with the ABT, Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Harlem Ballet. In 1996, he was first flute with the Hollywood Festival; Sheridon was not only a good friend but a very inspiring one.  It was because of him that I decided to spend all of my free time in learning even more about other musicians who was known to have not too easy beginning. 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 three generations. Sheridan 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, 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).

He 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!