Flautist Janet McKay lifts the lid on the collaborative process ahead of her Significant Otherconcert.

For me, one of the thrills of music is creating something where previously there was nothing. This is what draws me to ‘new music’ and to collaborate with composers on new works. My upcoming concert ‘Significant Other’ brings together four composers with whom I have an existing musical relationship – Stephen Adams, Damian Barbeler, Timothy Tate and Amanda Cole – and challenges us to push a few more boundaries in the quest for new flute sounds.

For the past hundred years or so performers and composers have been tapping in to the flute’s enormous potential for more unusual sounds. Some of the most strikingly original sounds appear to have emerged from close musical partnerships between a composer and a flutist – some notable examples include composer Kaija Saariaho with flutist Camilla Hoitenga; Salvatore Sciarrino with Roberto Fabbriciani; and George Crumb with Robert Aitken. Thanks in part to such collaborations the flute can now growl, flutter, whisper, screech, click, throb, whirr, whoosh, and produce any number of uncharacteristic sounds.

Through phone calls, emails and face-to-face workshops over the past year we’ve come up with four...

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