Rikki Wolpowitz

Baroque musician - Flauto traverso
Netherlands (residence), Malta, United States (citizenship) °1994
research interests: Baroque music in Vienna, JS Bach and Politics, The Death of the Orchestra, Leopold Hofmann, The Origins of Standardized Pitch
affiliation: The Royal Conservatoire of The Hague

Born in the USA, Rikki Wolpowitz began his career in music studying the recorder, and then the flute at the age of nine. Earning such encouraging feedback as “a natural flutist-playing with a pure tone, beautifully flowing, clean, soulful technique,” Rikki enjoys the diverse musical career as a chamber/ensemble musician with his love as that of playing a broad range of 17th,18th and 19th-century repertoire with some of its finest interpreters. He has always felt the truth as stated by Johann Sebastian Bach who said, “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”


After two years of study in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Rikki transferred to the Royal Conservatory of The Hague where he achieved the bachelor’s degree (Traverso) performance in the Early Music Department in 2018, also minoring in the Renaissance flute. Rikki is now enrolled in the Early Music Department of the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague, as a student for the degree of Master of Music, privileged to study with the world-renowned flutists Wilbert Hazelzet and Kate Clark.


“As an artist I strive to be relevant to our world, wanting my music to be seen, heard, and enjoyed by as diverse audiences as possible. It is essential that I, my music, and those I work with have all-embracing lived experiences, encompassing as far as possible joy, equality, diversity, and inclusivity to achieve this ambition.”

Rikki is the artistic director of the Early Music Open Stage performances at Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag and is a member of the Student Council of that conservatory. Rikki has spent his summers at training programs advancing his technique, musicality and as an active participant in all courses such as those given by Barthold Kuijken, Rachel Brown, Mark Hantai, Wilbert Hazelzet, and Ashley Solomon. Rikki enjoys swimming and is a certified Advanced level SCUBA diver and has dived in many parts of the world, particularly the Caribbean. He also enjoys cooking, reading about music history and traveling to new destinations. Rikki is a citizen of Malta and the USA. When at home in Colorado, winters are spent practicing in front of a roaring fire, and summer playing to the snowcapped mountains, and always close by, his loving dog, a Husky named Sky!


research expositions

  • open exposition comments (9)


Exposition: An Organological Approach to the History of the Flauto Piccolo with a Pre- and Post-Beethoven Analysis, Including the Complete Study of Beethoven’s Implementation of the “Ottavino” (01/12/2018) by Rikki Wolpowitz
Rikki Wolpowitz 18/02/2020 at 20:13


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Firstly, are musical historians historically correct to credit Beethoven as the original composer to use the piccolo in his Fifth symphony, and can Beethoven, therefore, be credited for the eternal establishment of the piccolo in the symphony orchestra, ultimately being responsible for how the piccolo is used orchestrally today?

Secondly, was Beethoven’s use of the piccolo original in its history of acceptance and incorporation into orchestral compositions through an examination of works written before the nineteenth century?

Finally, how did the organological history of the developing “flauto piccolo” expand the possibilities for Beethoven and the composers' pre- and post-Beethoven both positively and negatively?


The organological development of the piccolo was studied using three primary roles assigned for compositional evolutionary analysis: [1] an expander of range and dynamics, [2] its programmatic effects, and [3] an instrument’s primary role in a solo arrangement. Before Beethoven, only the first and second of these primary orchestral roles for the piccolo were established.

Evolutionary or revolutionary changes in the development of the piccolo were not inevitable. It took Beethoven’ s imagination, creativity, and innovation in his compositions for the "octave flute," to demonstrate its essential role. Beethoven’s first compositional use of the piccolo was in his Musik zu Einem Ritterballett in 1790, fifteen years before the Fifth Symphony in 1807|8. After that, the piccolo’s instrumental role became more innovative and frequent through the 19th-Century, having a new chapter in its place in the symphony orchestra.

As a history, repertoire, and identity existed for the piccolo well before Beethoven's birth, it is too simplistic to state that the piccolo's genesis comes from  "Beethoven" - but despite a learning curve in the understanding of the newly developing wind instruments of the time - in the genius of Beethoven’s compositions are found dynamics and range extensions for the piccolo, never attained before. Beethoven is often called the “father of the orchestral piccolo.” However, despite this credit, he did not launch the piccolo as a full soloist member of the symphony orchestra, which was ultimately accomplished by Tchaikovsky in his Fourth Symphony’s Scherzo, the first piccolo solo in the symphonic repertoire