Noemi Gyori is an Associate Tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music, is flute tutor at The University of Manchester and is finishing her doctorate in performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She studied with Andras Adorjan, Barbara Gisler-Haase, and Henrik Prohle. She is equally in demand internationally as a soloist, chamber musician, and pedagogue.
Please share with us what is new in your life since we last spoke:
This past year has been exceptionally fruitful and intensive, in every sense. I am very proud to have released Transforming Traditions, my new album featuring guitar submitted my doctoral thesis, “Reimagining the Flute and Guitar Duo Through Musical Translations of Keyboard Works by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven” at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and have performed in many large scale and successful concerts. And most importantly, my second daughter was born in the summer. She is not only a source of joy and happiness for our whole family but also her birth is a significant personal achievement for me. I had serious health complications following the delivery of my first daughter, and subsequent miscarriages, so having her with us is a constant reminder of the importance of working with and challenging our fears, staying positive, and striving for our dreams. I would also like to highlight a concert that was one of the most memorable to me last season: playing Weinberg’s 1st Flute Concerto with the Jewish Chamber Orchestra Munich at Schloss Elmau in Germany. Performing at this special venue was a long-standing dream of mine, but when the invitation came, I wasn’t sure whether I would be physically able to play a concerto in the final month of my pregnancy. However, because of my love of Weinberg’s music and desire to play at this picturesque scenery, I finally agreed to do the performance. This evening was truly an exhilarating experience that gave me strength in the months to come. I am so thankful for my outstanding and empathetic colleagues, like Lívia Duleba, who agreed to jump at any time if needed, allowing me to fully enjoy this wonderful opportunity without pressure.
Can you tell us more about your recent release, Transforming Traditions and any upcoming recordings planned?
Transforming Traditions is a disc that presents musical translations of keyboard works by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven for flute and guitar, that guitarist Katalin Koltai and I created and interpreted. The recording also features the Grand Duo Concertant op.85 by Giuliani, giving the listener a taste of the era’s original duo repertoire. Producing the flute and guitar versions of these large scale and complex keyboard masterworks presented on this album required years of experimenting and intense work with Katalin in our joint rehearsal laboratory. These compositions have never before been played on our instruments, so they are a substantial addition to the existing repertoire. Their recording of Transforming Traditions and the collection of their scores published by Doblinger in Vienna are also the artistic core of my doctoral research at the Royal Academy of Music. Following this CD, I will soon publish a new album, including some spectacular Haydn flute quartets from the op.76 string quartet series alongside Mozart's energetic D major and C major flute quartets. This recording for Hungaroton Records features violinist Katalin Kokas, violist Peter Barsony, and cellist Dora Kokas. I cannot wait for its release in early 2021!
How do you balance flute & family life? Any helpful tips?
Creating a balance between the two is a constant learning experience for me; having small kids and a career in performance while teaching and conducting research is certainly not easy. I would find it incredibly important to dedicate more visibility to this topic, to have more lively discussions in interviews or at flute-related forums or festivals with successful women about such questions or about being pregnant while practicing, performing. Mastering these is vital for female artists who want to have families and who want to be on stage and stay present in the music industry. It is essential to share our experiences with one another! In the past six years of being a mother and simultaneously building my career as a flutist, I have learned the following: it is essential to be very efficient, focused, and organized, to create and maintain a strong supportive network of friends and/or family, and to simultaneously remain flexible in order to react to changing situations without stress. My husband is traveling constantly, so I spend the majority of my time on my own with our two children, who usually come with me when I perform. I am lucky to have a large and strong family, who help whenever possible, but as we live in different countries, I also invested energy into building a grand network of people from various corners of the world who surround and support our life. I have also developed an effective practice routine that allows me to stay fit on my instrument even when I have little time to practice. I have summarized and shared this methodology in my recent article, ‘My Practice Laboratory’ in the 2019 December issue of Flute Talk. I also put a lot of effort into being aware of how I interact with others. A healthy and nurturing environment allows us to produce our best work, so when people are able to collaborate positively, a beautiful cycle of energy can be created. While I am more and more experienced and self-confident in maintaining this balance every day, there are always things to learn and improve. So, I use every opportunity to practice mastering this cycle of energy between the various aspects of my life.
Is your husband also a musician?
Yes, he is. Gergely (Madaras) is an absolutely amazing conductor! I feel incredibly lucky to have a husband who is such an inspirational musician. And not only that, but he also used to be a flutist, so he knows the instrument and its repertoire inside out. Because of this, I feel that he can fully appreciate what I do and understand everything down to the smallest instrumental detail. In addition to being my life partner of 19 years, Gergely is professionally my biggest supporter, motivator, and critic - all in one person. It is a beautiful and profound task being Gergely’s wife, standing next to him as his equal, supporting him throughout his successes and difficulties just as he does for me.
Do you maintain some sort of schedule? How do you work in practice time with baby time?
It is quite difficult to identify a real schedule in our life as almost every day is different. Luckily we all seem to be quite easygoing and adapt well to the ever-changing circumstances. If we are at home in London, the golden rule is to practice right away, when my youngest daughter falls asleep and the older one is at school, as the afternoons are usually busy with the many extracurriculars of my oldest. Luckily I seem to function quite well on little sleep. Accordingly, a lot (e-mails, programming, articles, research, etc.) is done in the late hours of the night...
What are your greatest challenges?
I am now preparing for my Ph.D. defense and once I receive the degree, a chapter of my life will be closed and a new phase with a new set of goals will begin. I am in the process of identifying how I want to build the coming phase while also thinking about pacing myself and conserving my energy as I move towards fulfilling my future goals.
Do you have any frustrations?
Of course. I am sure someone that tries to continuously excel on multiple platforms and aspires to do well in different roles, which is obviously not always possible. I try to become more patient over the years and to look at the big picture so I can focus only on what is truly important.
Advice for a young flutist/mother?
I think it is incredibly important to practice resilience early on and to understand and appreciate that everything comes through hard work. The classical music industry can be very probing and harsh, so it is essential to not get scared or fall apart if things are not going well or when they get really challenging. If you want to become a successful artist, remember the following: be present in probing moments, stand up when you fail, and don't lose sight of your goals.