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A daring artist with diverse musical interests, flutist Marina Piccinini is in demand worldwide as a soloist, chamber musician and recording artist. Internationally acclaimed for her interpretive skills, rich, expansive colors, technical command and elegant, compelling stage presence, Ms. Piccinini has been hailed by Gramophone as “the Heifetz of the flute." Well-known for her commitment to new music and her history of first performances and commissions by some of today’s foremost composers, Ms. Piccinini gives the UK premiere of Pulitzer Prize winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis’s Flute Concerto, written and commissioned specifically for her, at London’s Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducting, this February 2017. This August 4, she performs the Summer Festival Premiere of the Kernis Concerto with conductor JoAnn Falletta and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. She played the world premiere to great acclaim with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in early 2016, with the Detroit Free Press stating, “Piccinini's gleaming virtuosity, including the variety of articulations and colors she drew from the flute, was a source of wonder," and American Record Guide, “she played it with absolutely breathtaking virtuosity.” This was following a highly acclaimed tour with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra the previous season, performing the Nielsen Flute Concerto under the baton of Jukka-Pekka Saraste. Highlights of recent seasons include a highly acclaimed tour with pianist Andreas Haefliger this past spring 2016; performances at London’s Wigmore Hall and Southbank Center; Tokyo’s Casals and Suntory Halls; the Seoul Arts Center; New York's Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, and Town Hall; the Mozartsaal in Vienna’s Konzerthaus, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Also of note is the world premiere performance of Matthew Hindson's House Music, a concerto for flute and orchestra, with Roberto Minczuk and the London Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. While equally at home with contemporary and traditional works, Ms. Piccinini is deeply committed to music of the present, and expanding the repertoire for her instrument. She has given first performances of works by some of today’s foremost composers, including Michael Colgrass, Paquito D’Rivera, Matthew Hindson, Miguel Kertsman, Lukas Foss, Michael Torke, John Harbison, David Ludwig and Roberto Sierra. An active recording artist with CDs on the Avie, Claves, and ECM labels, Ms. Piccinini is the latest in a distinguished line of virtuosi to make the Paganini Caprices their own. Her new Paganini arrangements can be heard on her recent highly acclaimed recording for Avie. The printed music for Piccinini’s Paganini arrangements was published in autumn 2014 by Schott Music. Other recent recordings include Tre Voci’s acclaimed debut CD of works by Tōru Takemitsu, Claude Debussy and Sofia Gubaidulina on the ECM label; a DVD of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire from the Salzburg Festival, along with an accompanying documentary entitled Solar Plexus of Modernism; for Avie, the J.S.Bach’s complete flute sonatas and solo Partita in collaboration with the Brasil Guitar Duo, and the flute sonatas of Prokofiev and Franck with pianist Andreas Haefliger; and for Claves, Belle Epoque with pianist Anne Epperson, and sonatas by Bartok, Martinů, Schulhoff, Dohnanyi, and Taktakishvili with pianist Eva Kupiec. The first flutist to win the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, Marina Piccinini’s career was launched when she won First Prize in the CBC Young Performers Competition...read more
Elsa Nilsson’s newest album, Salt Wind, is a breath of fresh air, amongst a sea of jazz. Each track is uniquely crafted, and diverse from the next one. Nilsson’s compositions will be heralded by the most discriminating of today’s jazz affectionados. Yet, each piece is appealing to listeners of all ages and backgrounds. Nilsson composed each piece with a unique set of influences, and every composition tells a story. Being a native of Sweden, the melodies sound in Salt Wind are inspired by traditional folk music, but with a contemporary jazz twist. From the beginning to the end, Nilsson’s playing is full of color and life. The bass flute sounds buttery, and the C Flute sings through the registers with musicality and emotion. There are nine tracks on the album. The first track, titled Tiny Bridges, Homemade Islands, is full of joy. The melody is inspired by her time spent at her family’s chalet in the Alps, and sounds like a sunny morning by a lake that was experienced by Nilsson. Another favorite of mine is the fourth track, titled Inside Brooklyn Thunder. This track is smokey and slow-paced. The composition was inspired by a cozy evening indoors, during a thunderstorm. I first listened to Inside Brooklyn Thunder while driving in the rain, and it was very complimentary to the ambience created by the weather outside my car. As a long time fan of heavy metal music from Europe, the fifth track, Hedning exceeded my expectations for “Heavy Metal Flute.” Even cooler, Nilsson sings in this composition, and is the author of the lyrics. The word “Hedning” means “Heathen” in Swedish, and the roving bass line enforces these intense emotions. The flute solo is a virtuosic flurry of notes. I spent a lot of time listening to this album in my car, on the way to work. Every time I listen to each track, I discover something new- a thick guitar harmony, a creative drum riff, or contrapuntal bass line. The entire ensemble is in sync, on both a musical and technical level. At least once a day, a melody from this album will get stuck in my head. However, this is a good problem. I hope that many more flutists and music enthusiasts will add this album to their library, and listen to it often. -Rachel...read more
“In the face of Trump, many artists report feelings of paralysis. Should they carry on as before, nobly defying the ruination of public discourse? Or seize on a new mission, abandoning the illusion of aesthetic autonomy?” Alex Ross Above is a quote by Alex Ross in his article in the New Yorker entitled “Making Art in a Time of Rage.” He reminds us that classical musicians respond to adversity in a variety of ways, choosing to either go deeper into creating beauty as Leonard Bernstein so famously said shortly after the assassination of JFK. Here is an excerpt from the statement that Bernstein made at a fundraising event at Madison Square Garden: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” Or perhaps you are in a state of mind that you can’t create art until you’ve won the fight or cleared the space. Ross quotes Gwendolyn Brooks’s 1949 poem “First Fight Then Fiddle”: “. . . Carry hate In front of you and harmony behind. Be deaf to music and to beauty blind. Win war. Rise bloody, maybe not too late For having first to civilize a space Wherein to play your violin with grace.” But perhaps we want to consider these thoughts deeply and then choose to pursue a third approach. We can continue to create music more deeply and beautifully than before, do our very best, and then attach a social change addition to how the work is presented, funded or performed. We can keep growing our voices as artists and contribute to winning the fight as well! Here’s an example of a project that I think does just that. Fluterscooter has just released a new CD, and I asked her a few questions about the social impact of the new album: Barbara: Congratulations on your new CD- can you tell us about it? What inspired you to make this recording? Fluter: I had always wanted to do a meditation album, but after the election, I was inspired to actually get into the studio and create it! It is designed for meditation and healing, as we all need it in these trying times. It was also inspired by working with the sacred teacher plants for the past year and a half, and it is currently played in healing ceremonies. I composed, produced, and played most of the instruments on the whole album! I finished it in a week and a half, too (lol). Barbara: Why did you choose the ACLU? https://www.aclu.org Fluter: I feel like that's a no-brainer. People's rights are being threatened daily, whether it be their religion, gender, sexual orientation, or color of their skin. Since the election, I've donated to them on a monthly basis, but I want to be able to help more, so I'm donating 25% of profits from this album to ACLU. Also, I'm donating 100% of profits from my track "Standing Rock" to the WaterKeeper's Alliance (www.waterkeeper.org) Barbara: What advice would you give to other flutists who want to pursue an art for social change project? Fluter: Do it. And do it NOW. Music is a great way to help the organizations that need it so much right now! If you have an “Art for Social Change” project that you...read more
Barbara Kortmann shares with us in the opening essay in her new CD, Inner Lights: “the inner forces of being alive." She says “each of the works...has been a special ‘inner light’ for me over the past years." These beautiful thoughts inform the deep and sparkling performances on this extraordinary album. If you don’t already know her, Kortmann (b.1985) is a German flutist who has recently won a raft of competitions, and uniquely these competitions aren’t flute competitions but competitions where she competed against all instrumentalists! She’s won prizes at the International Music Competition Jeunesses Musicales Bucharest, Aeolus Competition for Wind Instruments, and Markische Cultural Conference Competition (which she was the first flutist ever to win) among others. In 2016 she won the Rising Star Award at the International Sir James Galway Flute Festival. They chose well, because Ms. Kortman is an extraordinary player, whose fluid technique serves her musical mastery and unique, beautiful interpretations. Her performance of the Marias, Les Folies d’Espagne is full of interesting surprises that are musically insightful and sent me running to my score to think about! Each work on the album opened up new ways of thinking about the piece. Take a listen to her ideas in Bach’s Musical Offering and the two Vivaldi Concerto’s ‘Il Cardellino’ and ‘La Notte.' Every work is thought through but spontaneous in interpretation as well. Kortmann is accompanied by an expert group of strings including the excellent Hellen Weiss and Kerstin Linder-Dewan on violins and Sabine Erdmann on harpsichord. The chamber music is seamless and the pitch is perfect! The CD is available at Genuin Classics and at www.BarbaraKortmann.de and it is beautifully designed, with a complete booklet and interesting essays by Kortmann and Anna-Barbara Schmidt. The recording and editing are superb with the sound of a full orchestra achieved with a small string section and perfect balance maintained throughout. I highly recommend this CD!...read more
Brian Feliciano started playing the flute when he was 9 years old Today, this 14 year old is the winner of the Music Hero TV Show Competition in the Philippines. Viviana Guzman interviews him and finds out the benefit of exposure on...read more
The NAMM Show is one of the largest musical instrument trade shows, which takes place in Anaheim every January. This was my 5th show and my first one as an exhibitor for Fluterscooter bags! My favorite part of the show is catching up with old flute friends and meeting new ones. Everyone has a unique NAMM experience, and I got to catch up with a few flutists at the show to talk about their NAMM experience. Josh Jonsson Of all the music-industry shows around the world, NAMM has to be one of the biggest and most famous. For years I've wanted to go, and this year, I finally got my chance! 2017's NAMM show was my first one ever, and what an experience! It is by far the largest trade show I've ever been to (NFA will feel like a little village fair after this!), and though this is an article about flutists at NAMM, and most of you probably think of me as a flute player, I was actually there in my official capacity as a performing artist for Uebel clarinets. My primary function was to use my experience as a professional clarinetist and sort of "instrument wizard" to relate the features of these fantastic instruments that make them different from other makers to all the clarinetists who stopped by, and to demonstrate them whenever appropriate. It was an incredible few days, not only because I was able to, in a very direct and fulfilling way, work with quite a few fantastic players one-on-one and match them with the ideal instrument for them; but also because I ran into just about *everyone* I know in the entire music industry! It was like a huge party where everybody was too exhausted from working to be drunk, but still really happy to see each other and to be there. Can't wait for next year! (I also never want to hear another trumpet or trombone again) Sarah Jane Hargis I have always dreamed of attending the NAMM convention since I first heard about it MANY years ago. My experience over exceeded my expectations by far. I was so excited and honored to have had the opportunity to perform at NAMM on behalf of Earthquaker Devices and Altus/Azumi Flutes. So, what did I do exactly? I did what any gear junky would do! I walked onto the largest convention floor I have ever stepped foot on and hunted for Earthquaker Devices and Altus/Azumi Flutes. On my hunt, I was amazed at the tremendous amount of artists, artisans, and the sales staff of these small and large pieces of art we call instruments. Instruments of all sorts were alongside the various gadgets and tricks to make them or the player even better, enhanced or just plain fun toys. Throughout the weekend, I ran into some amazing artists performing their art right in front of me! I was constantly impressed and overjoyed to be around so much music! When I found the Earthquaker Devices stage I was in heaven! They had every pedal they make on stage for me to play with! WOW! I was like a kid in a candy store trying to decide where to start. On top of that, my performance with Lisa Bella Donna was...read more
Robert Dick has recently released his new CD, Galilean Moons. This intriguing groundbreaking album is a result of an extraordinary collaboration between two masters of extending the aural and technical possibilities of their respective instruments. Robert Dick, flute and Ursel Schlicht, piano, both virtuoso’s and visionaries around the combination of new music and improvisation share compositional title on all the works on the CD. Robert plays multiple flutes including the Glissando Headjoint, flute, piccolo, open hole alto flute, bass flute and contrabass flute, all with his usual virtuosity, insight, accuracy, humor and flare! Schlicht is an excellent player, lyrical and beautiful when it’s called for and expert in prepared piano, percussive and brilliant rhythmically too. They are a dynamic team. I particularly liked Schlicht’s ‘A Lingering Scent of Eden for it’s combination of lyrical expressive writing and contrasting jazzy and evocative extended techniques. The piece describes a chapter in Alan Wiseman’s “The World Without Us” that tell us about undisturbed landscapes, never manipulated by humans. It’s an interesting concept in our urbanized lives. I also love Dick’s amazing work, “Dark Matter” for contrabass flute and piano. It’s a truly humorous piece as Robert uses nonsense texts that internet spammers affix to emails to try and elude spam filters. Dick became fascinated by how the random texts “Sometimes …say really amazing things”. Dick recites the text and together Schlicht and Robert match the text with their own musical responses. The other pieces on the CD are, Ursel Schlict’s “Tendrils” Robert Dick’s Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat and Life Matter and by both composers, the title score of the CD “The Galilean Moons”, a piece that creates beautiful and complex sound paintings based on the four moons of the planet Jupiter. I hope you will take the time to listen to the album as it is a wondrous journey into intricate, challenging and beautiful sounds for flute, that expands our understanding of what’s possible for flutes both compositionally and technically....read more
Yes, the practice room mirror selfie is shameless. Here’s why you should do it. The consumer-performer relationship has endured — and survived — many struggles over the last several decades; with modern technology, we are more than a hop and a skip away from formal concert settings of yore. This has been great for the modern music student: instead of travelling to concerts by the artist you want to emulate or scouring library vinyl collections for music history class, the universe of music performance is a simple Google search away. The world is at our fingertips (and in our pockets and our desktops and our backpacks). With the growth of internet resources comes the growth of social media, our greatest ally and worst enemy rolled into one app of your choice. As the internet has evolved, so has musicians’ use for it: now we not only view other performers’ videos and musical examples, but we can post our own. Contrary to popular belief, this is also great for the modern music student. No one should be afraid to use these platforms, students and aspiring professionals included. The platform that has reigned supreme in the musical universe (in my musical universe) is Instagram. Instagram is a photo and video sharing app that now supports live video and a 24-hour Story feature. The best part — the Explore section uses information from your posts, follows, and hashtags to curate a page full of other users you may like. After my first post with #flute, this page exploded with other musician profiles. Game changer. At first, I was wary of finding some 14-year-old conservatory student who surpassed me on every level and pushed me into the classic Social Media Comparison Syndrome: Musician Edition. The last thing I needed was more reason to feel inadequate. I also didn’t want to post mirror selfies every time I pulled out my flute, admittedly because I made fun of the gym rats who did the same thing. I considered myself too “down to earth” to flex my musician muscles for social media, when I see now it was really a lack of self confidence that kept me from posting anything musical. Though I wasn’t posting about playing, I was following my favorite accounts that did. I also follow illustrators, writers, yogis, and dozens of other artists who posted their equivalent to gym selfies daily: the things they dedicated their time to becoming better at, while they’re doing them. They’re not bragging about how much they can lift — they’re finding accountability and community with people all over the world, by use of one app. At good long last, it occurred to me — why can’t musicians do this too? Spoiler: they do. All the time. And they’re good at it. There are performers and students and teachers all under one digital roof, giving mini recitals and lessons right in the palm of your hand — and supporting one another to boot. It’s all because of social media. I repeat, this is also great for the modern music student. Not only should we be following and supporting the really awesome flutists on Instagram, but we should be contributing to the conversation. Music is a community, not a competition — something we students are the quickest...read more
If you say about someone that they are articulate, you mean that they are good at making their ideas clear. From this we can infer that “articulation” in music also means that it is a tool that makes musical ideas clear. Another concept we hear a lot about when we go to music school is that the basic elements of music are repetition and contrast. Articulation plays a big role in creating the perception of both repetition and contrast for our listeners. It then stands to reason that our job as interpreters and performers is to define the articulation as clearly as possible. With good articulation we can define the character of a piece, communicate style and emotion. How can we use articulation as an essential element in our musical toolbox? First we have to really understand the nature of articulation. Is it just tonguing; single, double, triple tonguing? Tonguing is certainly one of the first things we learn playing the flute, along with shaping the aperture and making a sound. According to Thomas Nyfenger, tonguing was merely the finishing touch to articulation, but not the actual articulation itself. The actual articulation is based on using the breath, and shaping and directing the air stream at the blowing edge. The tongue merely provides a clear ictus to the note being articulated. One of my favorite Nyfenger quips is that, “tonguing is the anti-tone.” Articulation is how we define style, character and phrasing. There are two basic kinds of blowing, legato and staccato, and as many variations of each as you have imagination. These two types of articulation have to be cultivated separately in order to clearly understand what is required to produce them. For legato blowing, there is no better exercise than Moyse long tones (as in De la Sonorité and Trevor Wye’s Practice Book 1) in groups of two, three, four and five notes in either direction, descending to spread the richness into the low register or ascending to learn to keep the sound open and full of life. Pay particular attention to space between the notes, the continuity of the air as your fingers move. There is a physical and visceral feeling, pushing from your core, when the notes are well connected. Practice pushing through larger intervals as well, both up and down. Also note the difference in how it feels for upward versus downward intervals. Play long, lyrical melodies from the literature. Some of my favorites are the opening of the slow movement of the Ibert Concerto, the slow movement of the Poulenc Sonata, the opening of the Büsser Prelude and Scherzo, the first melody of the slow movement in the Beethoven Violin Concerto, Fauré Pavane, etc. Staccato blowing is more overtly athletic and requires a different kind of effort than legato blowing. The first question to ask yourself is if you can play staccato without tonguing. Can you control how you shape and direct the air stream so the ictus is as clear as humanly possible without using the tongue for definition? You really have to study your focus, placement and the forcefulness of the puff of air you blow. If you can do this, then try the same thing with just a little bit of tongue for definition. The granddaddy of all staccato blowing...read more
Specializing in Copyright, Licensing, Royalties and Publishing, Paula Savastano has worked in the music business for more than 25 year. As a classically trained musician, she began her career in Opera Management, but quickly made the switch to the popular music realm. She has worked in administrative management and intellectual property departments for several notable companies including Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), Spirit Music Group, Rykomusic, Cherry Lane Music, Musical Heritage Society and Turn up the Music. For several years, Paula’s knowledge and experience has been sought after by publishers and record companies to assist them with audits, royalties and copyright issues. After significant and continued demand, she started her own company, SSA Music, which provides financial, legal, auditing, licensing and royalty consulting services to a diverse clientele ranging from independent musicians to major music publishers and record companies. In recent years, SSA Music has expanded to offer catalog pitching and placement for a select clientele. SSA Music Catalog has grown to include over 1500 titles from nearly all genres of music, ranging from classical, jazz, pop, rock, alternative, rockabilly and varying cross-over genres. The majority of the SSA Music catalog is available as one-stop/all-in licensing, and has instrumental mixes and stems, as well as full tracks available. In the recent past, SSA Music has directed the focus of its business to pairing music supervisors with quality music to fit their musical needs. Paula has been an active speaker at educational conferences and universities around the country for more than 10 year. She has held the position of Adjunct Professor in the Music Industry Departments at Drexel University and William Paterson University. She is active member of National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), National Association for Recording Industry Professionals (NARIP), Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP), Women in Music (WIM) and Sigma Alpha Iota (Professional Music Fraternity). She is also an active musician, performing in the greater New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, as a freelance flautist. I was a flautist – there wasn’t anything else in the world that I related to as much as playing my flute. Other careers were offered up to me including teaching and business school. I had no desire to teach in a classroom or work in the business field. Mean kids, bullies, and stuffy offices did not appeal to me. Music business programs were not well-known in the 1980s, and careers were usually fallen into by accident. I didn’t even know there was a possibility to work in the industry but not play or teach. I chose to attend Boston Conservatory, but had to work my way through school with odd jobs in the school cafeteria and music library, and worked an evening job of usher at Boston Symphony Hall. I also sought out any opportunity to work with or play music. I studied hard and my playing advanced significantly. I was on my way to the playing career I hoped to have. Then came my senior year; I was having issues with painful hands and elbows, which was limiting my practice time. But with all the work, and striving to graduate that year, I ignored it. That is until I slipped on the ice and fractured my elbow. Along with that diagnosis, came the diagnosis of severe tendonitis in...read more