Ananda Artist Interview
Ananda is a homeschooling first grader, who has won over thirty prizes on flute and piano in national and international competitions. NUVO appointed her as one of their youngest ambassadors after she was only playing a few months. Her latest accomplishment is reaching the finals of the London Young Musician of the Year 2022 competition and winning "Flautist of the Year" award.
How did the Pandemic affect you?
Ananda: I was fortunate to be homeschooled for kindergarten due to the pandemic because schools were closed or virtual which was less than ideal for me. I loved it so much that I continued now for first grade. It allows me to learn at my own pace and I can't imagine it any other way.
In the summer of 2020, I saw a video of a five year old boy playing a Nuvo Toot flute and I immediately asked if that could be something I could have and play! Once I received it, I mastered multiple melodies within an hour of receiving it, and performed in our weekly “Musical Mashup” (outdoor concert for our neighbors and friends due to Covid-19) the following day, which I had already been performing piano in. My mother and grandmother have been a driving force in organizing the concerts, which has brought joy to everyone, especially their elderly neighbors who have felt quite isolated the past two years.
After a week of playing, I recorded a video performing “Twinkle, Twinkle Variations” that received over 15,000 views in two days on the flutesbythesea Instagram flute page. Now, I've been playing flute for two years and the piano for three years. On a typical day I sightread, learn and record a new piece because my note reading is solid from my piano background. It’s fun to sightread in between working on more challenging repertoire! Last summer, I participated in the NY Philharmonic 30 day practice challenge! To my surprise, they featured me as participant in their Instagram stories writing how much they loved her flute performance of Theme from “A Little Night Music” by Mozart. I managed to learn a new piece of music everyday for thirty days as well!
I have also enjoyed entering so many competitions that were all virtual, due to the pandemic. When I made my videos, it helped me improve my playing and it made it feel like I was playing for a real audience!
HOW OLD WAS ANANDA WHEN SHE STARTED TO LEARN MUSIC?
Ananda’s Mom, Prema Kesselman: Ananda has been surrounded by music since she was in the womb because I was playing full time in an opera, ballet and symphonic orchestra and her father was conducting. When she could barely sit up she would pretend to play intricate piano pieces on the piano which led to her improvising beautiful melodies at one years old. At the age of three, she begged me to play the flute and I let her try my flute headjoint. To my surprise, she produced a clear sound! I told her she’d have to wait until she was around seven years old to start flute. Soon after her fourth birthday, she began piano lessons and quickly progressed because she already at a first-grade reading level. Reading music came easily to her and her natural musicality and love for music flourished. I would have to beg her to stop to come and eat dinner most days!
Ananda subsequently progressed to the jFlute after less than two weeks of playing, after insisting that the Toot flute was too limited for the music she wanted to play because it didn’t play “enough high notes”. The transition was easy and I wrote arrangements of classical melodies from symphonic, ballet, and opera repertoire and essentially any piece she asked to play with the help of my husband, José Luis Domínguez, who is an accomplished conductor and composer.
In September 2021, she started transitioning to the silver flute and now plays a Miyazawa 202 HW Flute Handmade, silver-plated heavy wall body and keys, French pointed and open hole keys, B foot, off-set G, C# trill, D# roller, partial Brögger system (pinless), handmade Britannia (.958) silver head joint, Straubinger pads. The transition has been easy for her and I look forward to continue teaching and supporting her!
She keeps me on my toes, so that she is challenged, yet not bored or frustrated, and above all, to have fun playing music. She inspires me everyday to shine and be in the moment. The moment is all we really have.
ANANDA’S MUSICAL JOURNEY ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Ananda: I am a homeschooling first grader and I'm currently working through fourth grade curriculums. My Mom has been sharing excerpts of my daily piano practice since the beginning of February 2020 on her private Instagram stories and Facebook stories. When I started the flute, she also wanted to share my flute playing, so we have been posting excerpts of my flute practice as well! We enjoying receiving messages of support and love from our friends around the world. I've met so many wonderful young musicians too.
What inspires you the most in life?
Ananda: What inspires me most is challenging myself to be the best that I can be. I know that when I work hard I can achieve my goals and continue to advance, whether it is on flute and piano or in homeschool. I have been striving to read more advanced books which has taken me to reach high school level literature now. When the "school work" and music practice is fun then I don't realize that it is "work". If you're not having fun learning then find a way to make it fun!
What has been your greatest challenge?
Ananda: I don't feel I've had a challenge because I believe in myself.
What is the most exciting thing in your life right now?
Ananda: I am very excited learning area, making STEM projects, learning "Flight of the Bumblebee" on flute, drawing with pastels, and hopefully going back to an in-person activity in September.
What are you completely bored with right now?
Ananda: I'm m not bored with anything because there is always something to do. If I get bored in a moment, then I make up a play with my Mama! Otherwise, there is plenty to play with or learn about because I have so many toys, books and art supplies.
One habit you wish you could break?
Ananda: I tend to wait until very late to start practicing because I take too long looking for "practice buddies" (stuffed animals or dolls) or doing plays. Then I end up practicing until around 10:30pm because I haven't finished. Remember, I have to take a lot of practice breaks so that my body can rest and my mind is alert. If I start practicing earlier, then I can play everything I want to play and not have to rush off to bed!
If you had a super power, what would it be?
Ananda: If I had a super power, it would be to travel back in time to meet Helen Keller and other inspiring people.
What is your Spirit Animal?
Ananda: The cow is definitely my spirit animal. They are extremely intelligent, have a fantastic memory and are affectionate too. I think that's an excellent combination!
Ananda has been surrounded by music since she was in the womb because her mother was playing flute, full-time in an opera, ballet and symphonic orchestra and her father was conducting. When she could barely sit up, she would pretend to play intricate pieces on the piano which led to her improvising beautiful melodies at one years old. Soon after her fourth birthday, she began piano lessons and quickly progressed because she was already at a first grade reading level. Reading music came easily to her and her natural musicality and love for music flourished.
Ananda has won over thirty prizes in international competitions on flute and piano including 1st Place in five Charleston International Music Competitions, where she was honored with the "Most Devoted Performer" award. Ananda won 1st Prize in the American Protégé International Music Talent Competition and will perform in Carnegie Hall in 2023. She also won 1st Place in the 2020 King's Peak International Music Competition, the Gold Prize in the Music & Stars Awards Competition, Gold in the 2021 Quebec Music Competition, 1st Place in the 2021 Rocky Mountain Music Competition, 2nd Place in Crescendo International Music Competition, 1st Prize in the 2021 "Golden Classical Music Awards" International Competition, 1st Prize in the Medici International Music Competition and 1st Place in the North American Virtuoso International Music Competition.
Ananda recently placed in the Vienna Virtuoso International Music Competition and was invited to perform in Vienna. She won the Gold Prize in the London Young Musician Season 4 (Spring 2021) and Season 1 (Summer 2021), Young Talent Category, and the Fans' Favorite Award in the prestigious London Young Musician of the Year competition. Ananda also won Gold in the British Composition Category (flute) in Season 1. She was the only Gold winner in this category across all ages. On piano, she won Silver - Young Talent Category in Season 1 (Summer 2021) as well as a Special Award for the Most Characteristic Performance (Piano). She ranked second across all ages as winning the most award points.
In Fall 2021, she won First Prize on piano in the Four Notes International Piano Competition - Baby Category, 2nd Place in the Mark and Pioneer International Music Competition, 1st Place in the New Talent British International Youth Music competition, Gold in London Young Musician Season 2, Performance Grade I and also reached the Semi-finals in the 2nd Tokyo International Flute Audition in the age ten and under category.
Her latest accolades in 2022 include winning Gold in London Young Musician Season IV (Spring 2022), Young Talent, age 10 and under and qualifying in the top 5 winners in all categories for 2021-2022 and was a Finalist in the London Young Musician of the Year 2022 competition for a second year in a row. Ananda won "Flautist of the Year" and ranked #7 in their World Ranking for all instruments and categories based on award points. On piano, in June 2022, she won Silver in the Young Talent age 8 and under category, as well as a Special Award for the Most Characteristic Performance, playing Bach Invention No. 8.
She also won the Gold Medal Award as Artist of the Year at the USA ARTISTS OF THE YEAR International Music Competition 2022 was invited to perform in New York City at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music. Ananda is currently a Finalist in 8th Singapore Raffles International Music Festival 2022 on both flute, in the Woodwind category, and on piano as well.
She has been an Ambassador for Nuvo Instrumental since 2021, who discovered her after she was playing the flute for one week, and she has been featured in various music education publications.