Beatriz Macias Artist Interview
Beatriz Macías has established an international career as one of the most versatile figures in the scene of classical music. Both a flutist and singer, Macías has held the position of Solo Flutist in the Luxembourg Chamber Orchestra and has performed with some of the top orchestras in the world. Macías is the founder and Artistic Director of the Tampere Flute Fest based in Finland.
When and why did you decide to start the Tampere Flute Festival in Finland?
The Tampere Flute Fest made its international debut on April 25-26, 2020 as the world’s first online flute festival. The intention was to bring something new, exciting and inspirational. I wanted to create the TFF to further expose and celebrate a new era of talent in a country that welcomes diversity, innovation, and eagerly looks to the future.
When I moved to Tampere in the fall of 2016, I was immediately impressed by the many opportunities the city offers through leading edge technology, research, education, culture, sports and business. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to combine my talents and use them to create an avant-garde music festival. By doing this, I would help to encourage and promote a new generation of talent, as well as further expose Finnish culture and its music.
How was your first year in operation?
Challenging, interesting and rewarding.
Running a festival comes with many challenges. From organizing the event itself, to seeking sponsors, training a team, and curating the program, careful and thought-out planning is needed to ensure the event runs well.
One of the key elements in the successful outcome of our festival was the excellent team running it. None of us had previous experience in doing this. Like the inspiring story of Paganini improvising on a single string, we too had to improvise, using the accumulation of our talents, qualities, creative backgrounds, and varied experiences to make this event a success.
We learned so much!
The 2020 Tampere Flute Fest reached a wide audience in Europe, USA and Asia through its online event. It offered a variety of happenings, among them masterclasses, recitals, interviews and a Young Artist Competition.
Who is in your lineup for 2021?
2021 brings some of the most accomplished young soloists and orchestral flutists to the TFF! Among the flutists performing and teaching in masterclasses are Francisco López (Oslo Philharmonic), Yuki Koyama (Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra), Kerttu Aalto-Setälä (Swedish Radio Orchestra Orchestra), Alexis Roman (Finnish National Opera & Ballet Orchestra), Annaleena Jämsä (Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra), Sarah Ouakrat (Dutch National Ballet Orchestra), Heili Rosin (International Piccolo Soloist), among other known flutists. The 2020 Young Artist Competition winners Janette Levan (Finland, 24) and Ekaterina Ivanova (Russia, 12) will also be featured.
But that’s not all!
The creation of the TFF would not have been possible without the artistic thrust of artists who with their art elevate culture. We proudly welcome international flutist Silvia Careddu and Latin Grammy Carlos Cano Escribá who are one of the biggest highlights of the 2021 program.
What has been your greatest challenge with the festival?
The greatest challenge we’ve faced as an organization was to carry out the 2020 festival online.
News of Covid-19 hit shortly after the announcement of our festival. With restrictions for live events, we were faced with limited options and a major decision to make. Would we carry out the festival, cancel it, or reschedule it for the following year?
The inability to hold the festival live forced us to find alternative ways in order to accomplish it. We had diligently prepared and were eager to start it. That’s when we decided to give it a go and go live via the web! We saw this challenge as an opportunity. Not only would we be able to make music accessible to a wider and more international audience, but offer a top event for flutists to enjoy during this unusual period.
The TFF team of artists and technicians worked rigorously to secure that a plan B (or even a plan C) could be quickly implemented in case any disruption happened with the online connection during the course of the festival. We prepared for many scenarios, but nobody could have predicted the unforeseen challenges ahead.
During the course of the festival we experienced a massive internet outage that lasted 6 hours, later to find out that half of Finland experienced the outage as well. After regaining our posture and rescheduling all of Saturday’s events to the following Monday, YouTube blocked us in the middle of a masterclass due to copyrights. In less than an hour, we moved platforms and reconnected with all of our artists, participants and viewers.
All in all, we were still able to carry out the events promised and offered the possibility to re-watch the festival, which is still available for purchase.
What has been your greatest triumph with the festival?
Conquering the challenges that come with running an online festival is definitely on the top list of the TFF’s greatest triumphs!
As pioneers, seeking to present something new and taking the risk to do it, we had much at stake when we announced the making and execution of this festival. Thankfully, we’ve been able to see this through and currently working on yet another festival. The 2nd edition of the TFF will take place live at Scandinavia’s largest convention center Tampere Hall on April 23-25, 2021!
Tell us a little about your singing career.
Singing has always been an important part of my life. My approach to playing the flute, as well as my method of teaching, falls under the idea that the flute is a connection to the voice. Recently, I have been focusing on further developing this amazing instrument with Dutch soprano Miranda van Kralingen and on performing a series of recitals with Finnish pianist Tuomas Nikkanen. An interesting fact about me is that I initially wanted to become an opera singer after hearing the Metropolitan Opera on TV. However, it wasn’t long until I was introduced to the flute at the age of 11 and the dream of becoming a singer was put off until the age of 30.
I believe that it’s never too late to begin with a new dream, especially if you’re already half good at it!
What are you up to professionally?
Thanks to the fact that I live in a country that has not been greatly affected by the pandemic, I’ve been able to perform as a singer and take my Spanish opera program The Best of Zarzuela! around Finland. This coming spring I’ll be presenting a new concert series dedicated to Puccini which I am extremely excited about! Although it’s sometimes difficult to keep the balance between playing and singing, I love the fact that I can combine my two passions. Apart from my singing recitals, I frequently perform as a Principal Flutist in several European orchestras and teach a private flute studio of young, enthusiastic flutists who keep me on my toes! And, like a true Texan girl who lives by the motto “go big or go home”, I’m devoting my time to getting things ready for our 2021 festival which will present an exhilarating program with five competitions, a Rising Stars Program and a world-class artistic team!
What 3 things would you offer as advice for a young flutist eager to start a flute festival?
I clearly remember the words of my teacher Carlos Bruneel (La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra) before going on stage: “Courage!”.
If there’s one thing an artist needs it is courage. Whether you want to become a principal flutist in an orchestra or manage your own festival, you must have the guts to keep your head high and your heart strong. If we talk specifically about creating a festival, courage without wisdom won’t lead you very far. Creative vision is important, so I believe that having a clear perspective of what you want is the first step. Seeking the advice and knowledge from those you respected is the next. And finally, having the right motive will surely ensure your success because that is your seal of approval that you are on the right track.
Holding the title of Artistic Director of a festival sounds fancy, but being a leader is not a mere position to fill in. Before commencing on this big, but nevertheless rewarding adventure, make sure you take the time to answer this question for yourself first: “What is it that I want to give and leave in this world?”.
Photo: Raisa Taurinka / Visual Rama
TFF website: www.tampereflutefest.com
The 2021 Tampere Flute Fest international event is taking place at Tampere Hall on April 23-25, 2021. The 2021 festival will offer many enriching opportunities for performers, students, teachers, and flute lovers alike, to participate in masterclasses, workshops, five competitions, the TFF Flute Orchestra, a Rising Stars Program for young flutists ages 6-17, as well as engaging exhibitions organized by Huilupiste.
2021 TFF artists include Silvia Careddu, Carlos Cano-Escribá, Yuki Koyama, Francisco López, Kerttu Aalto-Setälä, Alexis Roman, Annaleena Jämsä, Sarah Ouakrat, Heili Rosin, Beatriz Macias, and other international artists.
For information: www.tampereflutefest.com
2021 Young Artist Competition
TFF’s 2nd Young Artist Competition is divided into these age categories. Qualifying contestants will perform at the 2021 TFF. Winners will receive cash prices, awards, and the opportunity to perform in a recital the year following the festival. Category A (18-30 years old) Category B (12-17 years old) Category C (6-11 years old) Applicants will be accepted based on a preliminary round video.
Deadline: March 1, 2021
2021 Orchestral Competition
TFF’s Orchestral Competition is open to flutists ages 18-30 years old. Three winners will be chosen to perform in a masterclass for the Principal Flutist of the Dutch National Ballet Orchestra Sarah Ouakrat and receive a one-year career and development study plan with Dr. Heidi Kay Begay from Flute360 Podcast. Applicants will be accepted based on a preliminary and final round video.
Deadline: February 15, 2021
2021 Piccolo Orchestral Competition
TFF’s Piccolo Orchestral Competition is open to piccoloist ages 18-30 years old. Three winners will be chosen to perform in a masterclass for international soloist Heili Rosin and receive a one-year career and development study plan with Dr. Heidi Kay Begay from Flute360 Podcast. Applicants will be accepted based on a preliminary and final round video.
Deadline: February 15, 2021
2021 Masterclass Competition
TFF’s Masterclass Competition gives young flutists the opportunity to perform and learn from a recognized flute specialist. Qualifying contestants will perform at the 2021 festival. Masterclass professors include: Silvia Careddu (ITA) Yuki Koyama (JPN) Alexis Roman (FRA) Francisco López (ESP) Applicants will be accepted based on a preliminary and final round video.
Deadline: March 8, 2021
2021 Flute Lovers Competition
TFF’s Flute Lovers Competition is open to flute enthusiasts of all nationalities over the age of 18 years. Winners will receive an award given by a flute company and an online lesson with the Principal Flutist of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet Orchestra Alexis Roman. Applicants will be accepted based on a preliminary and final round video.
Deadline: March 5, 2021