Born in 1950, Laurence W. Key began his study of the flute at the age of ten. Through secondary school, and for the first years of his undergraduate study, he was a student of Byron Hester, Principal Flutist in the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at Roosevelt University in Chicago.
News of his father’s illness brought Laurence home to Houston, and back to the University there. He was once again in Hester’s studio, this time as his graduate assistant. After completing his Master’s degree, he spent several years in Houston, organizing musical performances of an occasional nature.
In 1986, Laurence signed on to tour with a travelling opera company, and spent eight glorious months hauling dirty laundry around western Europe. However, the tour ended on a sour note. After 180 performances of Bizet’s Carmen, this flutist was found unconscious in a ditch, with broken ribs and fractured skull – and minus his passport and cash.
What to do? Borrow more money and go back to school! This time the course of study was historical in nature: Laurence went to study with Owen Jorgensen at Michigan State University, a renowned authority on the development of keyboard tunings and temperaments. It was then that he learned the art of music engraving in order to assist his professor with the preparation of Tuning, his 1991 book on the subject.
The book was published, the professor retired, and the dissertation remains unfinished. But his knowledge of musical engraving has been put to good use, which can be seen in the selections offered on ScoreVivo.