Matvey Demin Artist Interview

Matvey Demin is a young Russian flutist, working in Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in Switzerland, who has recently won First Prize the Tchaikovsky Woodwind Competition. 

When did you decide to enter the competition?

I think it was somewhere in March, when I thought I should enter the competition. Of course I had seen the regulations before in February, but the definitive decision to enter was made in March. 

Why did you enter the competition?

First of all, even to take part in the iconic “Tchaikovsky” competition is already a great honor. I always liked playing in competitions in order to get concert engagements and publicity, and it felt like a perfect chance to get all that in Tchaikovsky competition, because media coverage and audience interest was enormous (, blogs, newspapers). And since I was a kid I wanted to participate in this competition.  Honestly, I was often very sad that I didn’t play violin or piano, because up until this year, the woodwinds section was not presented at the competition. Hopefully it will be the start of a good tradition to include Woodwind Instruments.

How did you prepare?

There was barely anything special in terms of preparation, though one thing in particular was that I started to practice was the Tchaikovsky violin concerto as the “first” piece on my list, because it is a really challenging piece. I would like to thank Denis Bouriakov for arranging and introducing this piece for the flute world. In general, I just always try to find special colors in the sound for every piece and to understand the scope of the music. More than half of the repertoire I performed, I was performing for the first time on the stage in the competition directly.  So what was also important, was to be in shape the whole the time prior to the competition. Being a musician who also works in an orchestra, keeping shape is one of the most important things. 

What was the atmosphere like at the competition?

It was wonderful. I knew many of the guys who participated for couple of years already, so there was a really nice supportive environment. 

How has winning impacted your career so far?

It is a huge honor to be the first ever flutist and woodwind player to win the Tchaikovsky Competition. I got a lot of attention in the media, because I think over 17 million people watched the competition online. And, of course, I will get to play in very nice concerts in the future. For example, in one week I’m going to Japan (Sapporo Hall, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Kawasaki Hall) to perform the Ibert Concerto with Maestro Valery Gergiev at the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra. 

What are your thoughts about competitions in general?

I think, everybody must figure this out by themselves, whether to take part in a competition or not. If you like to get challenged and put yourself out there to perform, then the competition is the right thing for you.  On the other hand, I know many people, who are wonderful musicians and have great careers, but they just do not like to do competitions. Perhaps it is because some people feel “judged” when they are performing for the jury.  In any case, sooner or later in our profession as musicians, we always have to do some sort of competition, for example, orchestra auditions, teaching job audition, etc.  So I think if the competition gives a good reward, and  if you win it, why not to do it? :-)  Most importantly, you have to stay true to yourself, don’t give up, and always continue to improve  ...the result doesn’t matter, just continue to make beautiful music! 

Matvey Demin plays Ibert Concerto:

Matvey Demin Social Links:

Leave a Reply