Mathilde Calderini Artist Interview

French flutist, Mathilde Calderini is principal flute of Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France since 2020. She won several prizes in many prestigious competitions such as First Prize of Kobe International Flute Competition and First Prize of Karl Nielsen Chamber Music Competition. She dedicates a substantial part of her time to chamber music with her woodwind quintet Ouranos Ensemble and gives concerts all around the world.

Can you give us 5 career highlights?

I would say the first highlight in my career was winning the First Prize of Kobe International Flute Competition in 2013. The year after, thanks to my prize, I got the opportunity to go on tour in Japan. I was so lucky to play in beautiful and prestigious halls. I met great people who invited me again in Asia, it was like a dream to me!

The second important moment was meeting my friends of the Ouranos Ensemble and starting to play together as a woodwind quintet in 2014. During the same year we were nominated "Artist in residency" at Foundation Singer-Polignac which allowed us to rehearse and give concerts in great conditions in the Foundation and several festivals in France. Later, we won Lyon Chamber Music Competition and Karl Nielsen Chamber Music Competition. We are so happy to make music together! 

The third highlight is one year ago when I was appointed Principal Flute of Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. I have been playing with them for nearly a year now and I feel very lucky to play in this fantastic orchestra full of brilliant musicians and great human beings!

The most recent highlight was in January 2021! I was invited by Rolando Villazon to play Mozart Flute and harp Concerto with Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Xavier Demaistre and Keri-Lynn Wilson in the famous Mozarteum Grosser Saal for the opening concert of the Mozart week. I felt so special and inspired to play this great piece in Mozart city and in this mythical hall! I met Rolando Villazon on his TV show "Stars von Morgen", where I played Mozart Rondo. I guess Mozart accompanied me in these great moments of my musical career! 

How about 3 pivotal moments that were essential to creating the artist that you've become?

I feel that each moment of my life is connected to the music I make. Each people I meet, each relationship I build, each landscape I see or each country I visit is an inspiration for the artist I have become. 

I guess watching concerts as a child in my hometown by the Leman Lake gave me the will to go on stage. 

And when I decided to become a professional musician I moved to Paris. My teachers in Paris Conservatoire, Claude Lefebvre, Sophie Cherrier and Vincent Lucas made me the flute player I became. French flute is my heritage! And then studying with William Bennett in London was like a musical shock! He taught me a lot about how to find my own way of playing music. Studying at the Royal Academy of Music allowed me to find more freedom in my music playing and in my career.

What do you like best about performing?

I love the very first step you put on stage, when you feel that, "This is it!". I am very often stressed before going on stage and that very first step always feels like a relief!

And in general I love feeling the energy that the audience gives you on stage, the exchange and complicity that can be created sometimes with other musicians and audience.

CD releases?

I recorded two CD with the Ouranos Ensemble, my woodwind quintet. In our first CD, we recorded Nielsen Quintet, Ligeti Bagatelles and Dvorak American Quartet. We just recorded our second cd! It will be out in September 2021 with Poulenc, Strauss and Françaix!

What does your schedule look like for the next 6 months?  

The next 6 months are quite busy with my orchestra, my quintet and solo concerts! I am happy to play again Mozart flute and harp Concerto with Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne, Anneleen Lenhaerts and Renaud Capuçon in April in Aix-en-Provence. Let's hope everything doesn't get cancelled because of the pandemic! 

This summer, if everything goes well, I will give solo and chamber music concerts in many festivals in south of France, Switzerland, Corsica and Russia. 

All our tours with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France have been cancelled unfortunately. But we will play a lot of concerts in our Auditorium, live broadcast on France Musique Radio.

Let's hope the audience will be soon able to come back in our concert halls. It is very difficult to continue without them....

And of course I will teach to my dear students of École Nationale Supérieur de Lille.

What are your goals professionally?

Professionally, my ultimate goal is to feel more and more free with my playing, to be able to understand and know better each composer and the music in general. I am planning to record more CD's because I feel that it is a way of getting that.

What are your goals personally?  

Being happy and giving happiness and understanding to people! Also I love to travel so I hope I can travel the world with concerts and meet inspiring people and places.

What inspires you the most in life?

People and Art.

People, because we have so many ways of seeing life and seeing the world, so many ways of feeling... It is when you meet people that you can feel what they feel and then understand better Art which is directly linked to people. Art creates links between people and we need it to live !

What has been your greatest challenge?

I think my greatest challenge was to play Jolivet Concerto from memory for a competition when I was younger! I had only ten days to learn it and it was very scary!! But finally I made it! 

Who were your music mentors? and what did you learn from them?

I studied with André Guérin in Chambéry until the age of 17. He taught me everything, I had the best bases to make my own way! And then I went to Paris Conservatoire with Claude Lefebvre for two years. She changed my vision of the sound! For two years we worked on making a beautiful, homogeneous and powerful sound. I made so many improvements with her! 

I studied also with Sophie Cherrier in Paris Conservatoire Superior. She was very meticulous with rhythm and sound as a way of touching the audience. She gave me a lot of strength and great creativity. Her assistant Vincent Lucas helped me to get a good technique and was also very supportive. Listening to him playing was enough to understand that playing music is about generosity. He has such a reach sound, very supple, talkative and joyful. 

Finally I studied with William Bennett in London. I loved his way of teaching because he had so many anecdotes to tell about music, concerts, life... he really has so much to share and his advices were so precious. As I said earlier he gave me more freedom in my playing and a lot of meaning in music. I have the feeling that he gave me the possibility to understand why I was making music.

Can you give us 5 quirky, secret, fun, (don't think too much about this) hobbies or passions?  

I love dancing to cheesy music when I am alone and singing very loud in my apartement... 

I love skiing very fast (I come from mountains!) and the hot wine that comes after that!

What 3 things would you offer as advice for a young flutist?

I would say first: Be yourself! Sometimes in music, we have to fit in a way of playing, especially for competitions. But never try to change yourself and try to be honest with music! 

Second, I would say: never let someone decide for you, keep going if music is what you want to do. It is very hard to be able to be a professional musician but never let it go and practice, listen to a lot of different musics to get inspired.

And last: follow your dreams !

Leave a Reply

You have free article(s) remaining. Subscribe for unlimited access.