Jovana Stankovic: Artist Interview

Tell us about yourself in 3 sentences.

I am a Serbian flutist from Belgrade, currently living in Novi Sad. Educated in Serbia and Italy, I have obtained two MA degrees in flute performance. I also work on becoming a flute teacher and helping to educate the next generations of young flutists.

Give us 3 pivotal moments that were essential to creating the artist that you've become.

If I had to choose between important moments in my life that formed me as the artist I am today, those would be:

1 - First Grand International Competition (Jeunesses Musicales), when I had to adopt efficiency in practicing while preparing huge and difficult repertoire.

2 - Studying in Italy - learning new things in completely different surroundings with a lot of new people.

3 - Returning to my country and having great disappointment with non-existence of opportunities, and finding the strength to pick up where I left off, five years later.

Do you teach?  What do you like best about teaching?

I currently offer online lessons via Skype - teaching is my passion, but the lack of opportunities in my country forced me to be creative in finding the ways to carry out that passion. Teaching is a wonderful way of affecting someone's development, and at the same time, a chance to learn something new yourself. I like the challenge of different approaches to each student and finding the best way to transfer knowledge to different people.

What do you like best about performing?

I like when the opportunity for performance is not of competitive nature, because then we're not burdened by scoring or winning, but can rather concentrate on the music and sharing it with the audience. Being able to create magic and pass it onto the audience in those few minutes is what I love about performing.

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

Practicing and giving lessons will be my main focus, and hopefully, a change of scenery, as in moving abroad in search of better opportunities to teach and/or perform.

What are your goals personally?  Professionally?

I could freely say my goals for both aspects are: constant growth and learning. I am curious by nature and have many different interests - some of them intersect, some don't - but all together, we learn as long as we're alive, don't we?

What inspires you the most in life?

Inspiration comes from different things/people every day. Sometimes it's love for a certain music period or arts, sometimes it's someone's performance I saw and loved, etc. I guess it comes in different ways and shapes but it's safe to say that it is - love.

What has been your greatest challenge?

By far, my greatest challenge was to "rise from the ashes" and start over.  After years of being disappointed and quite lost, the hardest thing for me was finding the strength to get back where I used to be - still not there, but getting closer every day.

Who were your music mentors?  and what did you learn from them?

My high school teacher was Prof. Ivana Popović; she taught me about having the right attitude and never ever being vain and thinking I'm the best, but always to grow and see how far I've come and continue working.

My flute professor at the Music Academy in Belgrade, Prof. Ljubiša Jovanović, formed me by "throwing me into the fire" because he believed I could fight it, carrying me through various music periods inside the repertoire - which was a great thing because it made me develop certain methods of practicing efficiently, and to be organized and ready to perform any time.

My flute professors in Italy - Prof. Michele Marasco and Prof. Andrea Oliva did all the fine work with me, and deepened my understanding of the music I play.

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

Irish dance, cat shows, blues harmonica, jewelry making, bicycle riding. Fun yet? :)

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

1 - Share your knowledge with others.

2 - Grow constantly

3 - This one is from Schumann's advice to young musicians: be humble and know you're not alone.


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