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Audrey Emata: The Flute View Young Artist Competition Winner

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Featured, Interviews, Issues, September 2017 | 0 comments

Audrey Emata: The Flute View Young Artist Competition Winner

Audrey Emata, 16, debuted as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Verizon Hall at age 12, and has also soloed with the Allentown, Lansdowne, Ambler, Warminster, Old York Road, Delaware County, and Juilliard Pre-College orchestras; she will be performing with the Kennett Symphony at Longwood Gardens in August 2017.  Audrey is a three-time winner of the New York Flute Club and Philadelphia Flute Society competitions, a two-time winner of the Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair competition, and has also won first prizes at the Pocono Flute Festival and the Asian-American Society International Competition, as well as a Yamaha Prize at the Julius Baker Master Classes in Danbury, CT.  She was a finalist at the 2016 NFA high school competition in San Diego, was featured on NPR’s From the Top (Show 299), and has performed with Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway at the Kennedy Center. When did you start playing music?   I started taking piano lessons from my mom at the age of four.   Why did you choose the flute?   When I was six, my mom was accompanying for Rebecca Simon’s flute studio.  She had a full day of rehearsals, and she couldn't find me a babysitter.  I sat and listened to hours of flute music, and I was entranced.  My mom got me a cheap rental flute for the summer, and accompanied for Becki in exchange for lessons for me.   Who is your primary flute teacher?   After six years with Becki, I entered Juilliard PreCollege where I have studied with Brad Garner and Demarre McGill.   What grade are you in?  Where do you go to school?  What are your plans as a musician?   I am a rising eleventh grader at the University Scholars Program in the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School.  After I graduate, I hope to attend conservatory.   What are your goals in the next year?    Next year, I want to learn a lot of repertoire.  I really want to learn Schubert’s Trockne Blumen variations, as well as the Bouriakov transcription of the Saint-Saens Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso.  I would also like to chop about ten inches off of my hair (it’s really long and heavy).   What do you like best about the flute?   I have always loved the sound of the flute.  In my opinion, it is the most beautiful and singing instrument.   Please give us 5 quirky fun facts about yourself (don’t think too much about this!)   I have a pug named Lorelei (and am thus always covered in pug hair). I love to eat but I wish every meal came in a bento box.  I hate when my food touches and mixes together. I love shoes.  The taller, the better (I’m very short). I am addicted to coffee and chocolate. I have a weeping cherry tree named Cherry that is exactly the same age as I am.  Clearly, I named the tree when I was quite young with great originality. Favorite YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpXB4Q_AAXU&t=6s...

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The First Panama Flute Festival

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Articles, Blog, Entrepreneurship, Essays, Featured, Issues, September 2017 | 0 comments

The First Panama Flute Festival

Dafne Guevara, Manuel Ruiz Acosta, and Valentin Martinez are the founders of APAFLUT (Asociación Panameña de Flautistas), the brand new and first flute association in Panama.   Fluterscooter was a Guest Artist of their first flute festival this summer in Panama City.  In this interview, she asks them about the festival, starting a flute association in Central America, and the flute and music scene in Panama. Explain a little about your background and how you founded APAFLUT:   Dafne: When I was studying in the USA, I saw a video of kids holding guns. The kids were barely 6 or 7 years old, and they were talking about killing people. These kids were reflecting all the hate that the older people had against society, and it was reflecting how hate can be passed down. I was thinking how sad it was for me, and that the government is not helping too much. They care about other things instead of education and culture. I used to live in one of these areas, so I know where these kids come from and what they see everyday. I said, we don’t need to wait for the government to do something; we have something beautiful. Let us use it, and take advantage of what we know, and all we know is to play the flute. We don’t have money. Manuel is also very enthusiastic, so we called and organized 40 kids and paid for pizza. One kid said he wanted to quit school, but saw what we were doing and your story, and now he will graduate and be someone. The kids said that we are their idols. After the first Panama flute “mini-festival,” we decided to create APA Flut. It’s been 113 years since anything happened with the flute here. We are the new generation. We need this! Without any money, I went back home and talked to Prof. Almarza, and he said he would support it. I went back to UNLV, and Dr. Grim was also on board. After that, I had a lot of opportunities to write projects for fellowships, and I won one fellowship through UNLV. I’d also write to friends of flute foundations and explain about the project, and I got a lot of support. Manuel: My sister is a lawyer, and she helped us with all the legal things we needed to create APA Flut in Panama. Was it difficult?   Manuel: It was VERY difficult, especially since we don’t have money, but luckily my sister helped. Valentin: We did 4 recitals to earn money to pay for the creation of the association. Dafne: We owe everything to the kids. Ever since we gave them the idea that we’re starting the flute association here, they knew we didn’t have money, but they said they still have flutes. From January until last week, the kids have been presenting recitals to get money. We sold tickets to the recitals, and advertised mostly on Facebook. Is this an ongoing flute association? What are your responsibilities until the next festival?   Dafne: Besides getting sponsors, it is to keep the kids motivated. We don’t want to give them something beautiful like this, but then have it go away. I want these kids to be someone and be inspired. So you’re really empowering these kids.   Dafne: Exactly....

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Carlos Escribá Cano: Album Review

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in CD Reviews, Featured, Issues, Reviews, September 2017 | 0 comments

Carlos Escribá Cano: Album Review

Flutist, composer, arranger, and music producer, Carlos Cano Escribá plays with a grenadilla wooden flute from Verne Q. Powell Flutes.  Born in Havana in 1971, he completed his studies at the National School of Music. Mr. Escribá is a former member of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, with which he performed on the most important stages of Spain.  He continuously collaborates with orchestras such as the Symphony Orchestra of Madrid and the Symphonic Orchestra of the Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona. His last work, Canciones y Palabras, along with pianist Hernán Milla and Cuban poet Aldo J. Méndez, was nominated for a Latin Grammy as best album for children.  Escribá is currently flute professor at the Marcos Redondo Professional Music Conservatory in Ciudad Real, Spain. Por La Rivera de Paquito, the new album from flutist Carlos Escribá Cano and pianist Hernán Milla, is a delightful collection of Paquito De Rivera's iconic Cuban music, which is thoughtfully arranged by Cano and Milla for flute, piano, and a variety of accompanying instruments.  When you think of De Rivera's sound, flute does not generally come to mind, as his music was primarily played and written for clarinet and saxophone.  Cano's interpretation and playing was authentic, honest, and virtuosic, showcasing his talents as a flutist, orchestrator, and arranger.  The legendary De Rivera is featured on the opening and closing tracks of the album, adding an even extra layer of counterpoint and harmony. The album begins with Con Chucho Corriente Abajo (Variations on Chucho Valdes' Mambo Influenciado).  This piece is a fun mambo and fugue; parts of it are reminiscent of Claude Bolling's Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano, altering between jazzy and classical.  Next is Aires Tropicales, in four short movements (Contradanza, Habanera, Vals Venezolano, Afro).  This relatively unknown wind quintet by Rivera, arranged for flute and piano, was played with a freshness and crispness, accentuating the solid collaboration between Cano and Milla. Cano brings out the alto flute in the Dizzy Gillespie standard, A Night in Tunisia, and adds doublebass and percussion to another excellent arrangement.  His alto flute tone is rich and smooth, and his solos soar with virtuosity through the piece.  As Cano is mostly a classical and orchestral player, I was quite impressed to hear his jazz chops which rival those of most jazz flutists.  De Rivera's The Cape Cod Files, originally for clarinet and piano, start with the first movement (Lecuonerías) as a long cadenza of solo flute, the second (Benny @100) adding piano, third (Bandoneón) adding the bandoneón accordian as a tribute to Astor Piazzola with a lovely improvised bandoneón part from Claudio Constantini, and ending with Chiquita Blues, which is a jaunty and rhythmic finale to the piece.  The last 3 short pieces on the album (La Fleur de Cayenne, Invitacion al Danzon, Brussels in the Rain) round out this exciting album of music that is rarely played and heard by flutists, and Carlos Cano Escribá/Hernán Milla bring their outstanding teamwork and knowledge of De Rivera's music and style into every piece.  Brussels in the Rain created a whimsical Parisian atmopshere and was a stand out track on the album.   Por La Rivera de Paquito, which means "for the river of Paquito," is an album that flows like a river from song to song.  ...

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The Flute View Competition Winners

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Featured, Interviews, Issues, September 2017 | 0 comments

The Flute View Competition Winners

  The 3rd Prize and Audience Favorite Winners of The Flute View Young Artist Competition are Joanna Kim and Jennifer Huang. Joanna Kim is a 16 year old flutist from Austin, TX. She currently studies with Jennifer Keeney. Some of her achievements are: 1st at the Donna Marie Haire, 1st at the Austin Flute Society Young Artist, 3rd at the MTNA National Competition, and a finalist in the 2017 NFA High School Soloist competition. Jennifer Huang was introduced to the flute through her school band six years ago and began private study with Ms. Teresa Orozco four years ago. She is currently seated as first chair flutist in the Valley Christian High School Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, participates in the Woodwind Quintet, and serves as a drum major in the marching band. She was honored to debut as a featured soloist with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra in May 2015. Joanna Kim 3rd Prize Winner When did you start playing music? I started to play the piano at age 4 and the violin at age 5. I stopped playing both of them before I started middle school because I wanted to play the flute. I joined band and started playing the flute in the beginning of 6th grade. I absolutely loved playing the flute and being in band because it was such a fun and positive learning environment, full of amazingly talented musicians and directors. I felt like the band hall was my second home. Also, I loved that band was a challenge that pushed me past my comfort zone (in a good way), enabling me to accomplish goals that I once thought were too far-fetched and maximize and reach my potential.   Why did you choose the flute? My best friend in elementary school inspired me to played the flute. Every time I went to her house she would play for me and I was just in awe and fell in love with the sweet sound of the flute. Throughout middle school we would go to each other’s houses, play duets together, and have such a fun time learning from each other. I continue to play the flute to this day because I love the tonal palette of colors the flute produces.   Who is your primary flute teacher? Jennifer Keeney is my primary flute teacher. She is a very encouraging, caring, intelligent, and thoughtful mentor. She has helped me accomplish many of my goals and dreams. Also, she has taught me so much about really opening your heart and expressing yourself in different ways through music.   What grade are you in? Where do you go to school? What are your plans as a musician? I am a sophomore at Vista Ridge High School in Austin, Texas. My plan as a musician is to become a world-renowned flautist. My dream is to go study at a great music conservatory, be in any of the top orchestras, and tour around the world and perform concerts and give lessons and masterclasses. Also, I hope to make a difference and impact on people’s lives by inspiring people to play music and making people happy with my music.   What are your goals in the next year? My goals are to perform in front of my community more, learn a variety of repertoire, prepare for college, enter and do...

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365 Days of Flute. By Robin Meiksins

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Articles, Essays, Featured, Issues, September 2017 | 0 comments

365 Days of Flute.  By Robin Meiksins

Online challenges and process projects have been a popular category for quite a few years now. Hilary Hahn has been doing a ‘100 Days of Practice” challenge on Instagram, and there are thousands of YouTube challenges that range anywhere from eating chili peppers, to dancing, to answering questions. On September 27, 2016, I created my 365 days of flute. The idea of a 365-day challenge isn’t new; in the photography world they are a dime-a-dozen, but musicians largely haven’t taken to them. Joo Won Park did ‘100 strange sounds’ in 2012-2013 and Olivia Jageurs’s 15-Second Harp has been successfully running for almost two years, but neither project really covers the scope of what I attempted. Mimi Stillman’s Syrinx Journey, in which she recorded Debussy’s iconic flute work “Syrinx” for a year in different places, is probably the closest to what I am doing. Here are the rules I set for myself to successfully complete the challenge: every day for a year I had to record and post a video to YouTube. Each video had to be a unique piece, movement, excerpt or etude, and none could repeat through the whole project. Each video should be no longer than 5 minutes (except for some special cases) and I couldn’t prerecord. In October, I started a call for scores to incorporate more contemporary music, since I’m a contemporary specialist. As I am writing this, it is Day 293 and I have recorded 294 videos (an April Fools Day prank caused the video count to be off by one). I have played pieces from every continent, excluding Antarctica, and I have yet to miss a day. I started the project because I wasn’t practicing after I moved to Chicago after graduating with my master’s. I needed something to force myself to practice, but didn’t have any performances lined up or competitions to enter. I also wanted to do something that would push my musical skills and expose me to a wider range of repertoire. I had been posting videos irregularly on YouTube and Tumblr for years, so it seemed like a logical way to keep myself honest. There would be a record of my progress and an audience to be responsible to. But what have I learned from this project? I definitely have learned to practice better and more efficiently; I have to be able to give a performance every day. I can pinpoint the passages I can’t play already and how to practice them so I learn them as quickly as possible. With every piece I see and sight-read, the patterns I already have in my fingers increase, and the next piece gets easier. These skills don’t replace the hours I would like to spend on music, but throw me into a studio setting where I have to perform almost by sight-reading alone, and I have learned that I can produce in this context. I’ve also learned a lot of repertoire. That seems obvious, but I didn’t realize how much of the standard repertoire I hadn’t studied. Even having played for sixteen years, there were pieces people requested that I play or that were on repertoire lists that I had never seen. I can say that I now know at least fifty more pieces, and that doesn’t include the composer submissions....

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Freewriting the Future: Flute Blogs. By Rachel Taylor Geier

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Articles, Essays, Featured, Interviews, September 2017 | 0 comments

Freewriting the Future: Flute Blogs.  By Rachel Taylor Geier

According to the National Science Foundation, our brains produce 50,000 thoughts per day. Some of these thoughts may be individual interpretations of the world around us, and many, delivered in the proper form, may be valuable to audiences far and wide. Social media platforms have made it possible to share ideas across oceans with the click of a mouse or a single swipe across a screen. One of the most effective ways to communicate ideas is to host a blog where concepts may be explained in detail using photos, diagrams, and videos (aka the fun stuff!). A blog is essentially an online journal that you create for yourself. You are the designer, editor, writer, and marketing department, and it is up to you to develop content that resonates with readers within your particular niche. A blog is an extraordinary place for performing flutists to share interpretations of popular works and tips and tricks for executing difficult passages. An instructor, on the other hand, may use a blog to capture lesson plans or share unique pedagogical concepts with the rest of the flute-playing world. What makes a good blog? Where does a first-time blogger start? The first step is to simply dive in. All great blogs have 3 things in common; consistency of posts, diversity of topics, and unique ideas. Before setting up your blogging platform, it is best to make editorial decisions regarding these 3 key components. Will you post once a week? Twice a week? Once every other week? What day will you upload new posts? When I began my own flute blog, I made the mistake of uploading new posts only when I had free time, which turned out to be roughly once a month at odd times. I did not have a readership because I was inconsistently adding new content, making my blog unpredictable and difficult to follow. That all changed when I retitled my blog, “Flute Friday.” I now upload new posts every Friday and readers know when to expect new content. This has expanded my readership tenfold and helped me to develop new, and far more entertaining, posts for wider audiences. Developing your opus of topics will come with time, but deciding what types of posts will initially appear on your blog is an important component of the set-up process. Are you a performer? Would you like to create a tips and tricks blog? Perhaps you would like to use your blogging practice to analyze pieces you are working on or to review new music and recordings. Would you rather combine your teaching and performing practices, discussing how to both perform and teach certain pieces? Once you have determined an overall theme for your blog, grab a cup of coffee and begin brainstorming at least 10 topics falling under that theme. Keep the topics simple (a 1-word title is sufficient) and make sure you can write concisely about each subject. A blog post is not a book. Limit your writing to a predetermined word-count range (1200-1400 words, for example) to prevent yourself from getting carried away. I have sacrificed too many Friday evenings and Saturday mornings creating posts that really could have been packaged in a shorter format, at the expense of spending quality time with my family. Do not let your blog mess...

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A Formal Analysis by Heidi Kay Begay

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Articles, Essays, Featured, Issues, September 2017 | 0 comments

A Formal Analysis by Heidi Kay Begay

Heidi Kay Begay is currently a doctoral flute performance major studying with Dr. Lisa Garner Santa at Texas Tech University. Heidi has held many teaching titles, which include adjunct music instructor positions at Eastern New Mexico University and Tarrant County College. She has held executive and festival committee positions with the Texas Flute Society; such positions include: registration coordinator, festival co-chair, industry/commercial liaison, and president. Her March 2010 publication, “Hopi Culture and the Music of Katherine Hoover,” can be found in Flute Talk magazine. Heidi’s degrees include a Masters of Music from Northwestern State University of Louisiana, and a Bachelor’s of Art in Music from the University of Arizona. Her past flute teachers include Dr. Brian A. Luce, Dr. Diane Boyd-Schultz, Dr. Dennette Derby McDermott, and Don Bailey. A Formal Analysis of C.P.E. Bach’s “Hamburger” Flute Sonata in G Major, Wq. 133 (H. 564), Mvt. I (Allegretto) Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was a master of all the musical genres from his time, except for opera, and was known for composing in the musical style Empfindsamkeit, which translates to “sensitivity.” Among his compositions, C.P.E. Bach wrote a total of eighteen flute sonatas, four flute concerti, and a few minor works for the woodwind instrument (Miller 203). Without question, one of Bach’s most well-known flute works is the “Hamburger” flute sonata, which has two movements (Allegretto and Presto), and is scored for flute and basso continuo. It was written in 1786 in Hamburg, Germany just two years before his death in 1788, and was the last solo flute sonata that Emanuel Bach composed. The research presented here will focus on a formal analysis of the first movement from this famous flute sonata. Examining the first movement of the “Hamburger” flute sonata, one can clearly identify that it is in sonata form. Sonata form is defined as having three large sections: the exposition, the development, and the recapitulation, in which the musical subject matter is stated, explored or expanded, and restated, which is apparent in the Allegretto movement (see Appendix 1). This sonata form analysis is supported by musicologist Mary Oleskiewicz where she states, “...except in the quick movements of Wq. 131 and 133, each movement of Bach’s solo sonatas from 1745 onward comprises a full three-part sonata form” (xiii). To the contrary, Leta Miller, claims the Allegretto movement is in binary form (209). The current analysis shows how the Allegretto movement can be analyzed to coincide to the sonata form model as seen in Appendix 1. The Allegretto movement fits fairly closely to a standard sonata form. For reference, below is a sonata form model from Matthew Santa’s book, Hearing Form, found on page 63 (see Example 1):   Example 1 This being said, it should be noted that Douglass Green offers the following suggestion: When analyzing sonata form, then the student can avoid a good deal of trouble and misunderstanding by attempting to rid himself of a priori requirements. Rather than constantly referring the work under examination to his notions about what it “should” or “should not” do, the student should observe uncritically what the composer has done (210). Hepokoski and Darcy also mention some similar opinions on the subject: “there is no consensus regarding the manner in which sonata form in the decades around 1800 is to be grasped” (3). Without ignoring these scholars’ thoughts, this paper addresses qualities of...

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Barbara Kortmann: Artist Interview with Barbara Siesel

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Featured, Interviews, Issues, September 2017 | 0 comments

Barbara Kortmann: Artist Interview with Barbara Siesel

Flutist Barbara Kortmann was born in Munich in 1985. She completed her studies with Andrea Lieberknecht at the Hanover University of Music, with Felix Renggli at the Music Academy of Basel in Switzerland and at the Mozarteum with Michael Martin Kofler in Austria. Her concert debut at the age of 14 at Hamburg’s Laiszhalle was followed by an active concert career in Europe and the U.S., where she gave her American debut at Carnegie Hall in 2013. With her vibrant presence, exceptional creative drive, and remarkable flute-playing skills, Barbara Kortmann has won national and international acclaim. She is the prizewinner of several competitions, including the International Music Competition Jeunesses Musicales Bucharest, Aeolus International Competition for Wind Instruments, and Märkische Cultural Conference Competition – which she was the first flutist ever to win, earning her the prestigious 2010 Märkische Music Scholarship.  In 2016 she was appointed instructor at the Hanover University of Music, where she leads her own flute class. Her solo debut-album ‘Inner Lights’ was released by the famous German label GENUIN in January 2017 and is highliy commended since then by musical and non-musical journals worldwide.   Tell us about your general education and what you’re doing now.   I started to play the flute at 12 years of age, I had the desire to play the flute from age 5, but was too small to play! The desire to play became stronger and stronger until finally I received a flute and became totally addicted. One year later I won a youth competition and decided – yes-- I want to become a flutist!! I heard Sir James’ CD’s and knew I had to meet him – in fact it was a childhood dream to meet him personally. Now I teach at the Hochschule fur Musik, Theater and Median (media) in Hannover, Germany, where I have 10 students in 90 minute lessons, 4 private students, lead master classes and woodwind sectionals. I love teaching different people, with strong personalities, who know what them want so that they can develop their own sound and style.   What is your philosophy of playing?   You must truly love the music and your instrument because it’s a high mountain and there are so many stones on the way. If you don’t truly love it then the mountain is too high and the stones too big, the love of flute must be(and is) bigger than every stone!   Also, it’s important to only look at your own way of playing, if you’re not focused on your own way it can take longer to develop and you must believe in yourself. You do have to listen to others to help define your direction, but you must do it for yourself. I practice 2-3 hours a day, I try to really concentrate with no distractions.   How do you approach a new piece of music?   First know how it sounds and then learn all the technical places – as you’ll need the technique for making the music. After you’ve mastered the technique of the piece the music comes from above or inside of me, it comes in the moment and I just let it happen, at that point I’m not thinking about the technical things. Although I do need to find time to practice- I have a warm-up routine where I work...

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Yossi Arnheim: Artist Interview with Barbara Siesel

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Featured, Interviews, Issues, September 2017 | 0 comments

Yossi Arnheim: Artist Interview with Barbara Siesel

Yossi Arnheim is Principal Flutist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and head of the wind programs at the Jerusalem Music Centre.  He is a frequent soloist with the Israel Philharmonic and other orchestras in Israel, and has performed as soloist and recitalist in the USA, Canada, Brazil, China, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and the Ukraine. Mr. Arnheim gives Master Classes for flute players all around the globe, and his career as an active chamber musician includes performances with world-renowned artists. He has released 12 recordings for international CD labels, which feature a variety of styles from Baroque to World Music. Yossi Arnheim teaches at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music and at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. He is also Music Director of the Haifa International Flute Competition.   How did you get involved with flute- how did you start?   I was studying in school, and the teacher in the school noticed my talent and tried to convince my mother that I should study an instrument. After a couple of years trying to get me to study it finally worked out and we went to a music school to pick out an instrument. They asked me, “which instrument would you like to study” and I said “I’d like to study the oboe” because I liked the sound of the oboe. And they said, “well we have an oboe here but we don’t have an oboe teacher you would have to go and study with someone from the Israel Philharmonic” ,and my mother said, “stop here –we don’t have the money for that”. And so he said “if not the oboe what instrument would you like to study?” and I said. “OK – flute!” And this is how I started to study the flute. Then after studying a couple of years my teacher said to me well you are making great progress but you will make even greater progress if you go to another teacher who is the principal flutist of the Israel Philharmonic. Back then this was Uri Terplitz and we spoke with him and he accepted me, (and my mother had no choice), so we went for it. I studied with him for a few years and I played in youth orchestra, band and the National Youth orchestra and then it was time to go to the army (after high school.) They didn’t accept me into the army band because they didn’t have a place for any more flutists, it’s always a problem for the flute, always too many of them!! So I went to the normal army and after some time I found myself in the position to be able to take lessons again. In my last year of army service towards the end, my teacher asked me, “what are you going to do after you finish,” and I said –“I’m going to study micro-biology because I love that.” He said, “Have you considered studying music’? I said, “Yes, but you know it’s not my top priority." “Well, why don’t you try one year in the music academy and if you don’t like it you can switch to something else,” and I said “OK.” In the meantime he spoke to people in the field who would invite...

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Paolo Taballione: Artist Interview with Barbara Siesel

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Featured, Interviews, Issues, September 2017 | 0 comments

Paolo Taballione: Artist Interview with Barbara Siesel

Tell us how you came to be a musician.   My family were amateur musicians, not professional, but they all played music. At 8 I started playing the violin, and stopped after 2 years. In Italy you chose your next school at 11 and I picked a school that focused on music. I wanted to play guitar but that class was full, then the piano class full too, but the flute class had an opening – so I chose the flute and – great luck – the flute professor was really fantastic as professor and person and we had a great and joyous relationship!!   I noticed you have a wonderful philosophy of flute playing- can you share your philosophy with us?   When we play we have to think two different ways – there are two parts of playing. One part is the physical part, be good with our body – we need air, we need resistance, a good technique. The other part of playing we have to go with our feeling into another dimension. It’s difficult to coordinate – one part –is really practical –you relax, your body feels good, you can control in the flute in the moment and be present with your body, at the same time a part of us should be in another place, the creative, artistic place and these two different strands should work together every time. When it’s good it’s good… sometimes it’s not working that well!! I try to be present with my body, my technique, so it is automatic, but not thinking of the technique with my mind, with my mind I want to be open and in another dimension, so I can think about the music. We should support the music with the body and be an artist with the music –this is playing. If you are just an artist – maybe you can think of a lot of beautiful ideas but you can’t make them happen technically – but if you just take care of the body, the technique and can make anything happen, you can miss connecting and making the music, it’s difficult to balance these two things.   How do you get yourself to be so relaxed in your playing- so that anything you think of or are inspired to do musically comes through your playing?   When I was young – I did a lot of things – I played football, I was a painter, I played the violin and I saw that the most important thing was to be relaxed, the body and mind when relaxed can function better. This is the first thing for me – in all things, in relationships, with myself, with the world we can always do better when relaxed. I work to be relaxed for example, I know I have a concert – I’ll be nervous and what can happen when I’m nervous? My breathing can be faster, my fingers tense, so I practice to be calm and practice the control I need to be relaxed. We must think about it in our practice – how to be relaxed in our practice in anticipation of the performance. I studied how I will feel on the stage, for example, in this concert (at Galway Flute Festival 2017) I knew...

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