Livia Duleba Artist Interview

Lívia Duleba was born in 1989 in Hungary. Livia has worked with many domestic and foreign orchestras, amongst others she was the solo flutist of the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra, the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, and the Hungarian National Philharmonic. In addition to teaching, she is a frequent guest at festivals as a soloist and as a founding member of the Wind Quintet Budapest. She is currently a flute teacher at the Széchenyi István University, Faculty of Art.  She was the 7th Prize Winner of the Tchaikovsky Woodwind Compeition 2019.

When did you decide to apply for the  Tchaikovsky competition?

Ever since I started working as a teacher, I have been paying closer attention to the latest competitions, scholarships, and orchestra practice opportunities, using various international web portals. This is how I found the Tchaikovsky competition.  I had decided that in the year 2019 I would like to participate in a few more prestigious competitions.  I was very pleased to find this one, as previously,  I had already missed a competition in Russia.

Why did you apply?

This competition was special and unique in many ways, and had special elements. Throughout my career I had participated in many international competitions.  I had been looking for a competition to break the routine, either with an unusually virtuoso repertoire, or one that would somehow enrich me with an experience that I would otherwise never experience.  I very much enjoyed going to St. Petersburg and Moscow, and thanks to the Medici TV, people from all over the world have seen me and heard my music.  I was a great honor to accept the humble congratulation of Valery Gergiev, who visibly supports young talents with heart and soul.

How did you prepare for the competition?

I must confess that my preparation was not as thorough as I would have liked, as my circumstances were complicated in many ways prior to the competition. Besides working, in March I attended the Nielsen Competition, and in May I attended the Prague Spring International Music Competition, which did not allow me to properly prepare for the Tchaikovsky routine.  Also not knowing until pretty late whether I was going to be invited or not.

As I was coming home from Prague, I heard about it on the train, that I had gotten invited to the group of 12 flutists, with only 4 weeks prior to the competition. I started panicking a bit, as there were 5 musical pieces that were totally new to me.  In only 3 weeks, we managed to work up to the level and quality heard at the competition.  My accompanist was Anna Granik, to whom I am grateful and who I am proud of  as she received a prize for Best Piano Accompaniment.

How was the atmosphere at the competition?

I was welcomed by a (to me) rare luxurious environment, which I think guaranteed the relaxed preparation and relax time in the pine forest of the Repino area near St. Petersburg with all competitors. Frankly, in the first days I already felt unusually comfortable, although in such a prestigious competition one must normally feel stressed and nervous. 😊

Jokes aside, we became a pretty great team with the finalists and it was a truly inspiring experience to listen to the music of the other woodwind artists. It was a great addition for me that not only flutists were included in this category.  This way, a greater emphasis was added on the musical content and the personal performance.

How does this achievement influence your career?

I received the 7th prize in the overall Woodwinds Category. During the time spent there (2 weeks) I realized that merely the participation in this competition is already a great privilege and acknowledgement of the highest professional circles. With all this in mind, even getting into the finals triggered an euphoric joy to me, and at the same time put me under enormous pressure, which I admit was a tough experience. In Hungary, my home country, surprisingly, I received words of appreciation from many musicians and colleagues that I admire, who otherwise would have not been so enthusiastic if it hadn't been for the Tchaikovsky Competition. With this result and my performance, now I think I belong to an International Professional Elite, and I don’t think I have ever received so much recognition and acknowledgements before from such an acclaimed and mixed professional jury regarding my music.

There are already great consequences and benefits from this competition result of mine, and more are coming, I hope.

What do you think about competitions in general?

I recently read jury member, Hungarian cellist, Istvan Vardai's thoughts about the competition.  He got the essence of it.  Many before me answered this question better than I can, but as an active competitor and young flute teacher, of course I have my own opinion about it.

I could bring up arguments against it, list the negative experiences or mention extreme cases.  But generally, I think, competitions are a unique kind of experience and challenge, let it be negative or positive. And it always takes further experiences to be able to develop and improve as a flutist, as a musician, and as a human. I think a wide spectrum perspective is especially important in this profession. We need both positive reassurance and negative experiences too, in order to be able to judge and establish whether the road we have been walking on is indeed the right one. For this, one of the best tools, is competition. A young artist can already benefit a lot merely from a proper physical and mental preparation which is the important task of the preparing teachers.

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