On the Record – Kara Kirkendoll Welch


Flutist Kara Kirkendoll Welch shares the joy of winning a job in her hometown symphony orchestra and “getting the wiggles out” with her young daughter.  

Kara Kirkendoll Welch_Flute_Caroline Rose Hunt Chair_Dallas Symphony

FRITZ WUNDERLICH AND HUBERT GIESEN:  “Im wunder schönen Monat Mai” from Schumann: Dichterliebe

“Fritz Wunderlich has this amazing tenor voice that’s so perfect for these songs.  He does these leaps and they are just so incredibly effortless and he has this creamy sound, and I love his vibrato.  It’s very smooth.  When I first heard this, I thought, ‘I wish I could play like that.’  So what I would do is I would play even this particular movement where there is a leap from a low note to a high note and he would do it with such ease, and I thought, ‘that’s what I want to do on flute!’ I would play that recording, and then I would play back and try to imitate what he was doing with his voice on the flute.” 

MAHLER:  Symphony No. 2, V. Finale. Im Tempo des Scherzo

“The first time I heard it I was in college at SMU and I came to a DSO concert… You go through this whole Mahler symphony and it’s probably an hour long before you get to this point in the last movement, and I remember hearing this sound and I thought, ‘what is that?’ And I realized it was the chorus that was singing incredibly softly.  It’s kind of this other worldly experience.  Out of nowhere you hear a sound but you don’t know where it’s from.”

J.S. BACH:  St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, Zweiter Teil, No. 39 “Erbarme dich”

 “It’s right in the St. Matthew Passion where Peter has betrayed Jesus three times.   This aria is really about Peter’s heartache in the garden after he denied Jesus three times.  It has this incredible violin solo and then an alto soloist who comes in after the violin plays for a while.  They interweave in the most amazing way.  There’s a lot of sighing motives, and the way that it interweaves is just so exquisite.  It really takes your breath away.” 

MARIAH CAREY: “All I Want for Christmas Is You” from Merry Christmas 

“I’ve always loved it.  My kids are doing virtual school this year so far, and my youngest, Avery, is in kindergarten.  In kindergarten the parents basically have to sit there with their kids.  We help them sit on the zoom call and make sure they’re not doing anything too crazy and then we have to help them through their assignments.  While they are going through their assignments, you can see it:  they start to wiggle.  They start to get a little distracted.  So we call it getting the wiggles out.  We get up and dance to something, so this is the one we’ve been dancing to in December.”


“Bradley and I thought it was perfect for our wedding.  What’s amazing about music is that it brings you back to a time and a place in an instant.  Food does that too, or smells.  This piece brings me back to David Davidson.  David Davidson was the DSO chorus director when I started at the DSO and he and Bradley worked together when we met… It’s such a grand amazing piece… It brings back really fond memories of not only our wedding but David Davidson because he was one of our dear friends.”

Listen to other episodes of On The Record with Sarah Kienle: