Saturday, December 19, 2015

Adventure Into My Past

In December, 2015, I made a road trip to Ann Arbor to attend the Bat Mitzvah of Eleanor Mills, who is currently living in my birth home at 1339 White St. I made friends with the Mills family several years ago when--thanks to social media--they contacted me and told me they were the current occupants of my original birth home. Apparently, the last person living on the block where I grew up and resided until 1963 provided the Mills family with an Ann Arbor News article from the early 1960s about the musical Graf family which included a picture of me and my parents, Otto and Sarah. My subsequent correspondence with Sari Mills resulted in my visit to 1339 White and a tour of the house several years ago. This walk-through was an amazing trip into the past for me and a wonderful confirmation of continuities in my life, which I will always treasure.

Some months ago, I received a message from Sari Mills informing me that flute sounds were again resounding at 1339 White, because her 12-year old daughter, Eleanor, was playing the flute. She then invited me to attend Eleanor's Bat Mitzvah celebration in Ann Arbor. It was my pleasure to attend the ceremony at which Eleanor performed beautifully. I felt warmly-welcomed by the Mills family at the after-party and thoroughly enjoyed our repartee.

This is the type of experience that makes life worthwhile for me. I shall never forget it.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

My memoir has been published in book form and for download!

                                           Click here for ordering information

Here are some accolades:

I very much enjoyed reading Erich Graf's memoirs.  Besides being an outstanding musician, flutist, and builder of miniature ships, Erich Graf is very articulate and an outstanding writer. There are rare people we meet in life whom we know will be our friends, no matter the ups and downs. Erich and I have had that rare sort of friendship going back to our days at Juilliard. Erich's memoirs give us a real glimpse of musical life as an orchestral flutist. He takes the rose-colored glasses off to give the reader a true picture--the good, great, the bad and the ugly. A wonderful read--I  highly recommend it! 
Paul Fried—former Assistant Principal Flutist, Boston Symphony; Principal flutist, New West Symphony; International recording artist and studio musician

Your book is a fascinating tour of the life that is of course yours and yours alone.   However it is also a glimpse into what could be the lives of many extraordinary artists in the late 20th Century, how they developed and managed to find a way to express themselves during a difficult time in the history of music in America.  It is well written, touching, revealing and thankfully humorous. 
Lewis Kaplan--violinist, Aeolian Chamber Players; violin faculty, Juilliard School; former director, Bowdoin College International Music Festival 

Erich Graf is a human being of utmost warmth and generosity, and his honest memoir reflects that. Older flutists can enjoy his successes and empathize with his frustrations; younger ones can learn from both. All of us can be grateful to him for sharing his story. 
John Wion—former principal flutist, New York City Opera, former faculty member, Hartt College of Music, author

I have known Erich Graf for many years. A most accomplished and experienced professional flutist, he has an illustrious career spanning many decades as a distinguished artist of solo repertoire, chamber music and in top US orchestras. But he also was and is a dedicated unionist, leading the American Federation of Musicians' Salt Lake City Local #104 for 17 years. His dedication to his art and unionism is exemplary, therefore incoming generation of musicians will benefit greatly from his experience and wisdom. I look forward to reading these memoirs. 
Nathan Kahn-Negotiator
AFM Symphonic Services Division

Thank you so much Erich!! What a thrill to finger thru your amazing life story. How inspiring this is for me in my own struggle to figure a convincing way to tell mine - if at all.....I'm deeply admiring your careful wording, your generosity (SL !!) {sic: Salt Lake) and wonderful informative style throughout.....High 5!!!!
After finishing your texts I'm sitting in deep awe, profoundly touched by your so touching unfolding of your background stories, your becoming a man, a mature musician, your parent's farewell, your strong, steady service to mankind. I'm shaken - because now I'm encouraged by your masterful life-scenery to finally begin to express the loss-experiences of my family-story thru the years....and may find a similar humble and clear form and wording. Yes. we all are orphans having to say goodbye to our parents...and struggle to overcome that unique, so very special grief in one’s life, and do carry it throughout until our last day.... How simply deeply you're writing ! What an honor for me that you let me see it! Thank you for that sharing ! My best to you -Matthias 
Maestro Matthias Kuntzsch
Internationally-known Music Director, Conductor and Scholar 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 11, 2014

 It is foggy tonight and I am loving the sounds of the ship foghorns on Chesapeake Bay. My latest CD, Flute by Keyboard has recently been released, and I have just sent my completed memoirs, Erich Graf/Musician/Flutist/Advocate to my publisher. This completes my three-year exit project from Utah. I am feeling fulfilled and liberated as the sound of the waves on Chesapeake Bay soothe me.

Friday, October 12, 2012

October 2012

Chesapeake Bay beach is a dramatic place to be anytime, but the Sept/Oct weather is heavenly. The humidity is low and the Bay is windy, wavy and beautiful.

My Rat Terrier, Abu and I had a new experience this morning. From what I hear from an "old salt" who has lived here for years, bulk commercial fishing was outlawed here on the Bay some years ago. There is, however, one fisherman who has a permit that was issued to a g/g/g grandfather of yesteryear in the 1700's. When Virginia became a Commonwealth, and the fishing bans were implemented, he was "grandfathered" in under the old guidelines. His lineage of fishermen has been the only one permitted to fish for the last several hundred years. The current fisherman/heir is the last person subject to the original treaty. Once he passes, the tradition ends. Sounds like an urban legend, doesn't it?

Today on our beach stroll, Abu and I met the fish harvesters. This is a prolific time of the year for fishing, and we watched the fisherman emptying the nets by hand and sorting the fish into barrels. The drum fish cannot be harvested, so they were placed in a barrel that was emptied back into the Bay. One of the fishermen told me that several days ago, they harvested 90,000 lbs. of fish.

Tonight the seagulls were serenading each other while the waves provided a kaleidoscopic backdrop for the sunset. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Life on Chesapeake Bay

I have relocated to a townhouse I purchased on Chesapeake Bay beach in Virginia, and I am so awestruck by the water environment that I must write about it. Not only is the view of the Bay inspiring, but the topography of the waterside is constantly changing--even during a walk back and forth. It's the tide and the wind direction that constantly create new palates to view and traverse. Somehow, this concept whets my desire to be creative--a delicious feeling.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm One of the Luckiest People in the World

Technically I am still Principal flutist of the Utah Symphony until August 31st, 2012, but I have left the orchestra and am no longer performing there. I will soon relocate and am looking forward to the future with awe and excitement. I relish the opportunity to throw the irons in the fire that I have had to shutter for so many years due to the restrictions of orchestral life, its schedule and my recently abrogated role as President of Local 104, American Federation of Musicians, Salt Lake City. If my perceptions regarding my "new launch" change, I will let my readers know.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Golden Retrievers, Maestro and Ibert


Truly, the loss of an animal is existentially impossible. There are no other beings on earth that furnish us with so much love and pleasure while demanding so little in return. Their passing is made more poignant by the absence of their auras--their loving personalities along with all their comic and entertaining qualities. Those are the vintage Golden Retriever attributes--and the attributes that led me to embrace the breed initially. Yes, I miss Maestro and Ibert deeply, but at some level I know they are both up on the Rainbow Bridge happily entertaining all the other dogs.

Sunday, October 16, 2011



The deaths of of Yancey, Alaskan Malamute, Maestro, Golden Retriever and Ibert, Golden Retriever--my beloved pets during the past thirty years--have always spurred me to make changes in my life. 

I believe that the only existential problem with pets is when they leave us. One thing I have realized is that with pure-bred animals come certain penchants for various ailments. The advent of these problems seem so far away when we acquire animals, but they do eventually come to the fore. There is certainly no "good" time for an animal to pass. Whenever one does, it seems to exacerbate the poignancy of whatever else is going on in our lives. Bless all animals--they love us. 

I'm Erich Graf. Welcome to my blog!!

Erich's Call for Information

Dear everyone I know,

I have commenced writing my memoirs. Does anyone have a vignette about me that they'd like to send for consideration? I will consider all--both good and bad. I will look forward to hearing from you either on this blog or by e-mail to