I first met Michael Grinter when I was studying recorder as a teenager with Zana Clarke in Armidale, NSW Australia. Michael was up visiting from Victoria, and very kindly tried to make my inexpensive (and not good) wooden recorder play a little more reliably. He loaned me a recorder; I fell in love with his beautiful instruments, and ordered a 415 treble. It is my prize possession, and plays like a dream.
I kept in touch with him over the years, and he occasionally gave my 415 a once-over, just to keep it playing so beautifully. He was always unfailingly kind and friendly – an email from him always made me smile.
When I started playing in The Biber Duo with my lovely colleague Tim Lanfear, I let Mike know that we were playing his instruments in our concerts; Tim had bought a Grinter 415 secondhand, and even though they weren’t an exact match, they sounded very well together. Mike enjoyed seeing the videos of our performances, and even included one on his new website, grinterflutes.com. He was kind enough to write this:
here’s a lovely video of Jennifer Mackerras playing in a duo with Pink Noise colleague Tim Lanfear. This is the duo’s first concert playing the Telemann Canonic Sonatas – exquisite playing
Last year my duet partner Tim and I ordered matching 440 trebles from Michael. He was thrilled at the challenge of making matching instruments, and our order came at just the right time as he was planning to come back to recorder making. Indeed, he was planning to visit the UK in Spring 2019 for this reason, and I was looking forward to his visit.
Tim and I took delivery of our lovely 440 trebles in October 2018, and we programmed a lovely Boismortier sonata in our December concert to showcase them.
It is likely that our instruments were the last recorders he completed, and he died before we had the chance to perform and record the sound of his beautiful recorders playing together. I will always be sad that he never got to hear them.
He wasn’t just a very good recorder player and a great maker; he was a truly lovely and generous man, and I will miss him very much.