• PhD, music theory, Eastman School of Music
  • MA, music theory, Eastman School of Music
  • BM, flute performance, West Chester University
  • Performers Certificate, flute performance, Eastman School of Music

Dr. Cynthia Folio (b. 1954) is a composer, music theorist and flutist. As a young flute player and army brat, her main inspiration came from her studies at the Panama Conservatory in the 1960s; there, she studied with Eduardo Charpentier (first flutist in the Panama Symphony) and had rigorous studies in solfege. She received her PhD in music theory and Performers Certificate in flute from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied composition with Joseph Schwantner and flute with Bonita Boyd; Robert D. Morris advised her dissertation on the music of Schwantner. From 1980 to 1990, she taught music theory and flute at Texas Christian University and played in the Fort Worth Symphony. She now serves as professor and chair of music studies in the Boyer College at Temple University, where she was honored with the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1994, the Creative Achievement Award in 2012 and the Faculty Senate Outstanding Service Award in 2021.
Philadelphia Inquirer reviewers have described Folio’s compositions as “confident and musical in expressing ideas of great substance,” “intriguing and enjoyable” and “imaginatively scored.” She received commissions from such organizations as Network for New Music, the Relâche Ensemble, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Astral Artistic Services, Ensemble Triolet, Pi Kappa Lambda, and the National Flute Association. She has held composer residencies at The American Academy in Rome, Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Awards include many ASCAP Standard Awards and the American Prize in Composition: “Judge’s Citation for “Raising Awareness and Understanding for those Afflicted with Epilepsy.”
The author of many music theory articles and chapters, Folio focuses on the topics of contemporary music and jazz, including a chapter on Sequenza No. 1 by Berio in Berio’s Sequenzas (Ashgate Publishers); a chapter on polyrhythm in jazz in Concert Music, Rock and Jazz Since 1945 (University of Rochester Press); and an article on Schwantner’s music for Perspectives of New Music. Folio’s compositions are recorded on many CDs, including a 2014 release, Inverno Azul, featuring nine of her compositions (BCM&D Records); a 2007 release by the Relâche Ensemble, Press Play (Meyer Music LLC); and a 2006 release of Flute Loops: Chamber Music for Flute (Centaur Records), featuring eight of her compositions. She also recorded a jazz flute CD, Portfolio (Centaur Records), which includes four original compositions.

Visit Cynthia Folio's website to learn more.

Works and Publications


Lydia’s Giving (2021) for choir, instrumental ensemble, narrator, soprano solo and dancer (commissioned by the Women’s Sacred Music Project, dedicated to Lisa Neufeld Thomas, Founder and President Emeritus of the WSMP). Text by Susan Albertine, choreography by Kun-Yang Lin. Premiered at the Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, PA.

Between Angels (2019) for flute choir (commissioned by the flute duo, ZAWA!, for the celebration of Angeleita Floyd’s retirement, and premiered at the University of Northern Iowa).

Pentaprism (2015) for string orchestra (commissioned and premiered by FIRST EDITIONS (COFE) at Swarthmore College and Haverford College.

Winds for Change (2014) a concerto on the topic of climate change for two solo flutes, string orchestra, percussionist, and video, with live electronic manipulation of the flutes (commissioned by ZAWA! and premiered at Grinnell College as part of a consortium of several subsequent performances by other flutists and universities). Also arranged for string quintet and percussion (2015) and flute choir and percussion (2016). Video by Jude Rouslin and technology by Aleck Brinkman.

We The Poets (2012) for SSAA choir (commissioned and premiered by the Anna Crusis Women’s Choir).
I. She Sang Hope
II. Harmony
III. Recipe for Poetry
IV. We are the Dancers

Philadelphia Portraits: A Spiritual Journey (2011) for piccolo and piano (commissioned and premiered by Lois Herbine); Finalist in the National Flute Association Newly-Published Music Competition.
I. Vincent Persichetti
II. John Coltrane
III. Marion Anderson
IV. Benjamin Franklin
V. Betsy Ross

Sonata for Flute and Piano (2011) (commissioned and premiered by Julie Hobbs); Winner in the National Flute Association Newly-Published Music Competition, 2012.
I. Quodlibet
II. Tema del Mar
III. Joropo

One variation in “Iconic Inversions” in 25 Variations by 25 Composers on a Theme by Diabelli (2010) (commissioned and premiered by Network for New Music—25 composers were invited to create one variation each for Network’s 25th Anniversary).

Elegy (2010) for 2 flutes and piano (also arranged for flute choir).

Voyage: I, Too, Can Sing a Dream (2009) (commissioned by The Mendelssohn Club, The Gay Men’s Chorus, and the Anna Crusis Women’s Choir).

Z3 (2008) (commissioned by the PA Music Teachers Association and premiered by Claudia Anderson and Jill Felber, flutes, and Charles Abramovic, piano).
I. Zephyr
II. Zenith
III. Zawa!

Revision and orchestration of A Matter of Honor: A Portrait of Alexander Hamilton (2007) for narrator and orchestra (supported by a summer research grant from Temple University).

A Matter of Honor: A Portrait of Alexander Hamilton (2005) for narrator and chamber ensemble (commissioned by Astral Artistic Services, with a grant from the Presser Foundation).
I. Publius
II. An Odd Destiny
III. Why, Soldiers, Why?
IV. A Happy Immortality

Music Box (2005) for SATB choir, doubling on music boxes, and piano (commissioned by Alan Harler for the Temple University Concert Choir); poetry by Susan Albertine.

When the Spirit Catches You… (2004) for flute, oboe, clarinet/alto sax, bassoon, viola, piano, percussion (commissioned, premiered, and recorded by the Relâche Ensemble).
I. Aura
II. Ictus
III. Post-Ictus

Two Songs on Poems by Stephen Dunn (2003) for soprano, flute, and viola (commissioned and premiered by Network for New Music); Honorable Mention for the Miriam Gideon Prize, 2011.
I. The House Was Quiet
II. Circular

Seven Aphorisms (2001) for Woodwind Quintet (commissioned by Pi Kappa Lambda National Honor Society; premiered and recorded by the Del’Arte Woodwind Quintet); also recorded by Sylvan Winds.
I. Good Things, When Short, Are Twice As Good (Baltazar Gracian)
II. All Rising to a Great Place is By a Winding Stair (Sir Francis Bacon)
III. Hope is a Waking Dream (Aristotle)
IV. A Man With a Watch Knows What Time It Is; A Man With Two Watches Is Never Sure (Mark Twain)
V. Plain Clarity is Better Than Ornate Obscurity (Mark Twain)
VI. You Can Straighten a Worm, But the Crook is in Him and Only Waiting (Mark Twain)
VII. What Happens to the Hole When the Cheese is Gone? (Bertold Brecht)

Flute Loops (2000) (commissioned by Laurie Benson and funded by Meet the Composer and the Brannen-Cooper Fund).

Four ‘Scapes (1999) (commissioned and premiered by the Kirkwood Flute Ensemble with a grant from the Brannen Cooper Fund); Honorable Mention in the National Flute Association Newly-Published Music Competition.
I. Cityscape
II. Seascape
III. Landscape
IV. Escape

Through Window’s Lattices (1998) for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion (commissioned and premiered by Network for New Music and the Hildegard Chamber Players, with funding from Anni Baker Wolman).

At the Edge of Great Quiet (1998) for SSAA choir and piano (commissioned by SAI Philanthropies, Inc. and Temple University’s Delta Mu Chapter of SAI); Winner in the 1999 New Music Delaware Contest.
I. Roads (text by Mary Kancewick)
II. There Were Suddenly Two Stones (text by Leah Aronow-Brown)
III. On a Day of White Trees (text by Louise Gallop)
IV. Out of Wind, Out of Sun (text by Louise Gallop)

Living Legacy (1998) for band, organ, and optional heraldic trumpets (commissioned and premiered by Girard College to celebrate its 150th anniversary).

Pentacle (1996) for full orchestra (commissioned and premiered by the Main Line Symphony Orchestra for its 50th Anniversary Season.

Arca Sacra (1997) for solo flute (commissioned by the National Flute Association for its High School Soloist Competition); recorded by Stephanie Rea (Centaur Records) and Nina Assimakopoulos (Vox Novus).

Touch the Angel's Hand (1994) for choir, soprano solo, string orchestra & timpani (commissioned and premiered by the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, conducted by Alan Harler); text by Fra Giovanni (c. 1523).

Trio for flute cello and piano (1994) (premiered and recorded by the Temple University New Music Trio) Winner in the National Flute Association Newly-Published Music Competition, 1994.
I. Flowing
II. Calm
III. Rhythmic

Desert Winds (1993) for concert band (commissioned by Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity and premiered by Temple University Collegiate Band).

Contemporary Etudes (1991) for flute solo.

Three Songs (1990) for medium voice and piano.

Developing Hues (1989) for flute and bass clarinet; arrangement for flute and baritone sax (2011); recorded by Folio/Larry Thompson (Capstone) and Michele Kelly/Paul Demers.
I. Satin White
II. Cerulean Blue
III. Cadmium Red Light

Sketches (1988) for flute and piano.

Sun Dagger (1989) for chamber orchestra (premiered by the Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra).

Timepieces (1988) for wind ensemble (premiered by the Texas Christian University Wind Ensemble); First Prize in the 1994 New Music Delaware Contest; recorded by the Temple University Wind Symphony, Art Chodoroff, director.
I. A Point in Time
II. Summer Evening
III. Early Spring
IV. Times Remembered

The Elements (1986) for flute choir (composed for the Texas Christian University flute choir).
I. Earth
II. Air
III. Water
IV. Fire

Moonlight Serenata (1985) for clarinet solo.

One for Four (1985) for four flutes (composed for the Texas Christian University Flute Quartet).

Flute Fantasy (1978) for flute.

Articles, Reviews, and Chapters in Books

(2019) “Incorporating Improvisation in a Theory Class on Contemporary Music,” Routledge Companion to Music Theory Pedagogy, ed. by Leigh VanHandel, Routledge Press: 475–80.

(2019) “When the Spirit Catches You,” Visions: Inspirational Journeys of Epilepsy Advocates, ed. by Linda Sudlesky and Steven Schachter, Oxford University Press: 328–35.

(2018) “The Young Women Composers Camp: Amplifying the Voices of Young Women,” in the International Alliance for Women in Music Journal, Vol 4/2: 21–22.

(2015) Liner notes for CD, Looking Back: Flute Music of Joseph Schwantner, featuring flutist Jennie Oh Brown (innova 919).

(2014) “Crossing Over: Collaborations and Intersections,” International Alliance for Women in Music Journal, Vol. 20/1: 1–5.

(2011) “Dexter Gordon’s Ultimate ‘Body and Soul’,” Aleck Brinkman co-author, in Five Perspectives on “Body and Soul”—Proceedings of the “International conference on music performance and analysis, ed. by Claudia Emmenegger and Olivier Senn.

(2011) “Joseph Schwantner’s Looking Back: An Analysis in Relation to his Other Flute Works and his Chicago Experience,” The Flutist Quarterly, 36/3 (spring): 32–37.

(2010) “Blackboard and Wikis and Blogs, Oh My: Collaborative Learning Tools for Enriching Music History and Music Theory Courses,” with primary author Steven Kreinberg, College Music Symposium, vol. 49¬–50: 164–175.

(2009) “Looking Back: Joseph Schwantner’s Chicago Connection and a Look at His Recent Flute Works,” Pipeline, Vol. XIII, Issue 1 (Fall): 6–10.

(2008) “Report on the 2008 Mannes Institute for Advanced Studies in Music Theory: Jazz Meets Pop” (co-authored with Henry Martin, Steve Larson, Lori Burns, John Covach, and Walter Everett), Music Theory Online 14/3

(2007) “Rhythm and Timing in the Two Versions of Berio’s Sequenza I for Flute Solo: Psychological and Musical Differences in Performance,” with co-author Aleck Brinkman, chapter in Berio’s Sequenzas: Essays on Composition, Performance, Analysis and Aesthetics, ed. by Janet K. Halfyard, with an introduction by David Osmond Smith, Ashgate Academic Publishers.

(2006) “Billie Holiday's Art of Paraphrase: A Study in Consistency” with co-author Robert Weisberg, chapter in New Musicology (part of a series called Interdisciplinary Studies in Musicology), Poznan Poland: Poznan Press.

(2004) “Toward a cognitive analysis of musical creativity: Improvisation in jazz.” International Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology, held in Graz, co-authored with Weisberg, Brinkman, and students from the Temple psychology department; published in Italian in Rivista di analisi e Teoria Musicale, X/2: 35–57.

(1999) “An Analysis of Polyrhythm in Selected Improvised Jazz Solos,” chapter in Concert Music, Rock, and Jazz Since 1945: Essays and Analytical Studies, ed. by Elizabeth West Marvin and Richard Hermann. University of Rochester Press.

(1998) “’The Great Symphonic Theme”: Multiple Takes on Stella’s Theme,” in Annual Review of Jazz Studies (vol. 10); ed. by Henry Martin, with a response by Allen Forte.

(1997) Review of The Music of George Gershwin by Steven Gilbert, Journal of Music Theory 41/2: 319–29.

(1995–6) “Luciano Berio’s revision of Sequenza for Flute: A New Look and New Sound?” The Flutist Quarterly, vol. 21/2: 43–50.

(1995) “An Analysis of Polyrhythm in Selected Improvised Jazz Solos,” chapter in Concert Music, Rock, and Jazz Since 1945: Essays and Analytical Studies, ed. by Elizabeth West Marvin and Richard Hermann. University of Rochester Press.

(1993) “Analysis and Performance: A Study in Contrasts,” Intégral 7: 1–37.

(1992) Review of Ear Training for Twentieth Century Music by Michael Friedmann, Journal of Music Theory 36/2.

(1991) Review of Musical Structure and Performance by Wallace Berry (co-authored with Steve Larson), Journal of Music Theory 35: 298–309. This review reflects my interest in the relationship between analysis and performance.

(1991) “Analysis and Performance of the Flute Sonatas of J.S. Bach: A Sample Lesson Plan,” Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 5/2: 133–60.

(1991) Review of Musical Structure and Performance by Wallace Berry, with primary author, Steve Larson, Journal of Music Theory 35: 298–309.

(1990) “A Lesson on Jazz Flute: Eddie Daniels’ Solo on ‘Emily’,” The Flutist Quarterly, vol. 15/4 (fall): 18–21.

(1989) “Unity and Pluralism in Selected Works of Joseph Schwantner,” ex tempore V/1

(1985) “The Synthesis of Traditional and Contemporary Elements in Joseph Schwantner’s Sparrows,” Perspectives of New Music 24/1: 184–96.



Folio as Flutist and Composer

Flute Loops: Chamber Music by Cynthia Folio
Centaur Records (CRC 2777)

Folio, flute; Steve Larson, piano; Ed Wise, bass; Harrell Bosarge, drums)
Jazz CD (includes four original compositions)
Centaur Records (download only)

Society of Composers, Inc.—“Contra-Punctus”
Includes my composition, Developing Hues (Folio, flute; Larry Thompson, bass clarinet)
Capstone Records (CPS 8615)

Folio as Composer 

Press Play 
The Relâche Ensemble
Meyer Media, LLC (MM06004)
Includes my composition, When the Spirit Catches You…
To hear and see a multimedia performance go to: schachter_hoyerlectureinepilepsy120311

Points of Entry: The Laurels Project
Nina Assimakopoulos, flute
Includes my composition, Arca Sacra
Albany Records (CPS 8759)

Solo French and American Works
Stephanie Rea, flute
Includes my composition, Arca Sacra
Centaur Records (CRC 2759)

American Kaleidoscope
The Silverwind Duo (Nicole McPherson, flute; Andrew Seigel, bass Clarinet)
Includes my composition, Developing Hues
Emeritus Records (20102)

Sylvan Winds
Includes my composition, Seven Aphorisms for woodwind quintet

Folio as flutist 

David Bennett Thomas: Chamber Works
Capstone Records (CPS-8754)

Contemporary Chamber Music from Panama
Music by Emiliano Pardo-Tristán
Fermata Publication