Faithful readers of The Independent probably remember Roldon Brown. A Lafayette native and graduate of UL Lafayette’s music program, the gifted flutist, with a slight fundraising assist from this newspaper back in 2012, embarked on an incredible journey, first to study his instrument at the renowned Frankfurt Conservatory of Music and Art in Germany with master flute instructor Thaddeus Watson; he is now the principal flutist with the Jordanian National Orchestra. Not bad for a kid who grew up poor in a single-parent home and has battled stuttering his entire life.
We recently caught up with the self-described tennis junkie and world traveler.
What have you been up to since leaving Lafayette?
It has been a whirlwind of life-shaping experiences. I have presented at the 10th World Congress for People Who Stutter, performed with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, become a concert soloist, and have seen my name on posters and in subway stations, which is something I never imagined.
I have modeled in Berlin, won two European tennis titles, fallen in love and learned how to put myself back together when it ended two years later, and I have danced all night in a few of Europe’s best clubs.
I have grown as a human, an artist, and can truly say I feel balanced and grounded mentally in everything I do. Now, I am the solo flutist of the Jordanian National Orchestra in Amman, Jordan, and I am also the instructor of flute at the National Music Conservatory. It has been quite a ride!
What are your impressions on German culture?
I love German culture. The attitude toward life, social awareness, professionalism, relaxation and structure really work well for me. It took some time to adjust, and I am still adjusting to things on a deeper level, but it has already encouraged me to find my optimum sides. It taught me how to structure my time, energy and focus. So when it is time to relax, I can really relax.
When I think of Germany, I can really say that my spirit smiles from the inside. These past 3.5 years have been very formative years. I am honored to have spent them in Germany, which for me is a country that forced me to grow up, and grow into the person I always wanted to become.
I hope for many more years there. I know that I am, and forever will be, a Louisianian at heart, but I discovered myself in Germany, and it feels like my home.
Tells us about your travels in Europe.
The people who really know me know that traveling is not a big passion of mine, and that I have no desire to see every place possible. Instead, I prefer to go where life has led me (work, friends, tennis), and if I like it, then I return several times to understand it on the deepest level that I can.
With that said, I have danced the most in Berlin and Paris. In Paris, I get to dust off my French, and I won a small tennis tournament there. So I get warm feelings when I return. I modeled in Berlin a couple of times, and when I am there a tiny part of me feels like Naomi Campbell (haha). I feel extremely tranquil and reflective when I am in Scandinavia. I find Amsterdam, well the Netherlands in general, to be very beautiful. I have yet to visit Portugal, Spain or Greece, but I have been in the gym a lot these days, so I might be on their beaches soon. I also have an inner feeling Belgium would suit me very well.
Tell us about the job with the Jordanian National Orchestra.
In October of last year, I won the position of principal flutist with the Jordanian National Orchestra. In an instant, my outlook on life shifted a bit. Being a solo flutist was the dream that I had as a flutist growing up, and it has been an amazing feeling to finally achieve it. I was also appointed the new instructor of flute at the National Music Conservatory, which is a degree-granting institution.
To be able to experience the country of Jordan is such a privilege. The people are so welcoming, and it is a fascinatingly beautiful country. In a short time, I feel like I have grown tremendously, and I thank the country of Jordan, and the wonderful people, for this growth. I hope to contribute as much as I possibly can, because every Jordanian that I meet inspires me to bring my best work and highest standards to my position. I am learning Arabic, and I think beautiful things will develop from all of this. This is a gift and responsibility life has given to me, and I take it very seriously.
What do you do to pass the time?
Fitness and lifting weights keep me balanced mentally. I am obsessed with tennis, and tennis tactics and technique. Quality time with good friends is important, as I am not the biggest fan of texting. I also love talking to people I do not know. The art and skill of engaging in real conversation is dying quickly these days. I still take modern dance and ballet classes (about seven years now) when I have time. Ironically, I get great joy from cleaning my apartment and doing my laundry, and my mom does not understand when this change happened. Also, I love to dance at a good dance club, because a different side of me comes out — and when I dance, trust me, I dance! — Independent Staff