Patricia Nagle: Artist Interview

Patricia Nagle is former prinicpal flutist and piccolo soloist of the National Orchestras of Toulouse and Bordeaux and currently professor at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris. She has been invited to International festivals and masterclasses in Russia, Morocco, Italy, China, Korea, and USA, and she records with EMI, Quantum, and Corialan.

Can you give us 5 career highlights?  

Originally from Boston, taking part in spectacular and inspiring masterclasess in Nice, France with Jean Pierre Rampal, Maxence Larrieu, Alain Marion, and Andras Adorjan (discovering French culture and life and especially the famous French School of Flute).

Studying in Paris with Michel Debost, principal flute L'Orchestre de Paris (and a great flutist and pedagogue).

Principal Flute in Orchestre National du Capitole in Toulouse.Many recordings, international tours, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center etc...

Piccolo Solo Orchestre National Bordeaux-Aquitaine, Festivals and Concerts.

Professeur à L’Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, a tremendous performing school of extremely high level students from all over the world, where there is now a Masters degree available for under 5,000 euros a year.

Invited to Festivals- Concerts -Masterclasses in Russia- Tchaikovsky Conservatory, China, Korea, USA, France, Italy, Morocco.



How about 3 pivotal moments that were essential to creating the artist that you've become?

Definitely my voyage to France for Summer Masterclass, and from then on living in this wonderful City of Light, Paris (after being accepted to Masters Programme at New England Conservatory), studying with the finest flutists of the French School.

Playing principal flute in the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, with Michel Plasson. Recordings, international and tours, amazing concerts of the most proficient repertoire with soloists such as Rubenstein, Issac Stern, Oistrach, Jessy Norman, Philippe Entrement.

Moving to Paris after my position with the Bordeaux National Orchestre and starting a new life as a chambriste or  récitaliste or free lance musician with many orchestras in Paris. Working with many different composers in Paris, such as Anthony Girard, Vincent Paulet, Jacques Casterede, Thierry Escaich, Ginette, Keller, Michel Merlet, Dominique Probst, Michel Lysight, Xu Yi, Alain Besson... My many positions as professeur in Paris, Dijon, and especially at the Ecole Normale de Musique, obtaining my P.E.A. Professoral Diploma and also becoming  professor at the distinguished "Hors Classe" (above classement) level.


What do you like best about performing?

I love the period of preparation employing research and practice techniques, working with pianists and/or other musicians. Walking on stage and greeting the audience and sharing with them the many levels of communications that exist during an encounter in performance. The musical essence of the work and the exciting interpretation we all feel when performing.  Also the collaboration with living contemporary composers who have dedicated works for me!  Meeting and exchanging with so many enthusiastic passionate people afterwards.


CD releases?

I’ve recorded a multitude of CDs at EMI within the Orchestras as Solo-Flute: works of Faure, Saint-Saens, Gounod, Massenet, Offenbach, Rachmaninov, Charpentier, Chausson, Milhaud...Flûte Passion a compilation of famous works along with other flûtistes from all over the world: Galway, Pahud, Debost, Nicolet, Rampal, Zoller, Ransom Wilson, etc...J.S. Bach, L’Offrant Musicale, The B minor Mass, Arias with Obbligato Solos with Mezzo soprano Anne Maugard. 



What does your schedule look like for the next 6 months?

Recitals and  concerts here in Paris, France.  In the United States at the University of Massachusetts, concert in Boston, Special guest for Flute Day in Indiana.  Concert celebration, 80th Birthday of the Composer Michel Merlet (Prix de Rome) upcoming recording of his works which happen to be the most technically challenging in our repertoire. Dutch recording project playing solo flute on a very special magical and rare Muramatsu 14k ( in Sweden). Preparing young professional aspiring flutistes for their Concours for Diplomas in Paris at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris. Preparation of the Concertino of Pierre Wissmer.


What are your goals personally?

To invent more time in order to do everything that I would like to do. Seeing the people I love so much, more art work in painting, learning more languages, more physical training, but essentially I am a very positive person and quite happy in spirit.



CD of Michel Merlet's works.  To develop more communication internationally and especially in working with young flûtistes all over the world. I would like to bring more of the French School of playing to different parts of the world. I wou.d love to start a French Conservatory system in the United states especially on a junior and senior level.  Developing cultural activities in under economic-social environments where culture and music can enhance everyone's development. 


What inspires you the most in life?

Meeting, performing, exchanging, studying...


What has been your greatest challenge?

Perhaps challenging in a more dangerous political situation is when I went to perform Mozart's Concerto in D in Romania just after the Ceaușescu regime.  It was first quite dangerous to make a stop over in former Yugoslavia  a country which was in war at the time, then landing in Bucharest where there were tanks on the ground around the plane. After the thorough investigation at the airport, I had a personal chauffeur, and I was staying with a wonderful cultivated woman who was so conscientiously worried about being wire tapped and secretly listened to on the phone. She wouldnt let me let out of her apartment. She lived across from the Bucharest Conservatory and I would hear musicians practicing until 3 o'clock in the morning.  Even traveling on the train 1st Classe was very dangerous with thieves. But when arriving in Craiover where the concert was, people were so incredibly hospitable, and in fact overly helpful in a way, but also in a strict communist régime atmosphere. I remember the extraordinarily expressive musicians accompanying me in the orchestra but playing on very bad instruments. The very talented principal flutist was playing on a flute from China that had cost only $50! They were in dire need of everything that we take for granted here. Clarinet reeds, etc…Needless to stay it was the most inspiring humain and artistique expérience.


Who were your music mentors?

My most uplifting mentors were Michel Debost of Orchestre de Paris and professor of Paris National Conservatory and after the Oberlin Conservatory and Joane Bennet, formerly of the associate principal flute of the  Chicago Symphonie who was living here in Paris.


..and what did you learn from them?

From Michel Debost, who was a wonderful, cultivated, funny and fun loving imaginative flutist with the most gorgeous stunning sound. He was an erudite pedagogue of the French School, and was a caring professor with exceptional knowledge about the flute and its historic involvement here in France, who helped me enormously. I learned about life, on professional life, I learned about sound and about how the great musicians produced and made music, I learned about scales, intonation, sytle, détach, repertoire but mostly about having an open outlook on our profession. Joane Bennett, former student of Kincaid  of the USA, afterwards having acquired a great orchestral experience in the CSO, transferred an enormous amount of cognitive knowledge about the flute, it's technique, its sound and special fingerings that are still very rarely known today etc...


Can you give us 5 quirky, secret, fun, (don't think too much about this) hobbies or passions? 

fun: A Mac Make-up Junkie, a passion for the perfumes made by Guerlain, Paris Fashion, riding a bike in Paris

serious: Studying Hebrew, Tap Dancing, Painting, Initiation of the Kabbala.



What 3 things would you offer as advice for a young flutist?

Research knowing new/different cultures, learn foreign languages. Be curious about all existing art forms. Read as much as possible and go to museums in between all the concerts and lessons that you have. Intellectually, be open to diverse ways so that one can do something or achieve one's goals.  Believe in yourself and always stay positive.


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