Concert with Denis Bouriakov and Karl-Heinz Schütz flute Srebra Gelleva piano
Review and interview with Maria Kosa from the Austrian Flute Association
How long have you been involved with the Austrian Flute Association?
I began working with the association in November 2018 as the result of a happy coincidence, being in the right place at the right time so to say. Together with the new board, I was elected in the position of co-chair and finances.
How long has the association been running? Can you share some history of the Austrian Flute Association?
The Austrian Flute Association was founded in 1991 by Raphael Leone (flutist and piccolo player Vienna Symphony Orchestra) together with a team of like-minded flutists. Their original goal was giving people interested in the flute, such as professional musicians as well as hobby flutists, teachers and students, the opportunity for mutual exchange within the framework of events and platforms.
Since the end of 2018, Matthias Schulz (Vienna Symphony Orchestra) has been the new president of the Association. Together with a new board team, the initial goals of the organization have been continued and expanded.
How often do you present events? What do you think works best to bring flutists together? Concerts? Masterclasses? Flute choirs? Competitions?
After the renewal of our board and a couple smaller events, planning came to an abrupt halt due to the pandemic. We had to postpone our 30 year anniversary flute festival too, but managed to host it finally in April 2022 with overwhelming success. The biannual flute festival in Vienna is one of the most important traditions of our Association and we are very proud of having it brought back to life.
Apart from the festival, we organize 2-3 bigger and several smaller events such as concerts and masterclasses all around Austria each year. Offering a country-wide program is a very important aspect of our work.
Is the Austrian Flute Association funded by the state? Private donors? Or ticket sales?
Our association is mainly funded by membership fees, ticket sales and some generous supporters of our cause. We are fortunate to have so many wonderful flutists, professors and professionals living and working in the country, and are very grateful for their continuous support.
What has been the greatest challenge for the Austrian Flute Association?
Taking over a renowned institution with so much history was a big responsibility. Our board wanted to make sure to stay true to the original values and traditions of the association, but we also saw it as our mission, to widen perspective and support diversity with our events. Balancing these goals is not always easy. We see our association more like a flute family, and value the input of our members and colleagues very much. The familiar and friendly atmosphere has become a trademark of our association and it translates to all our events. The secret behind our success is that we truly like, respect and support each other.
How did this concert/event come to fruition?
We have been talking to Denis, wanting to invite him to Vienna for a recital and masterclass for some time, and when the first chance of being able to organize events after the pandemic presented itself, we took the opportunity. In the middle of all kinds of restrictions and safety measures, we had an amazing event with Denis in June 2021 in Vienna.
That's when the idea of a duo recital was born. Karl-Heinz and Denis are good friends, and Karl-Heinz is also a very valuable member and great friend to our Association, so we welcomed the idea with open arms.
The concert took place on the 19. of April 2023 in the Ehrbar Saal, one of Vienna's historic baroque concert halls. Denis and Karl-Heinz were joined by wonderful pianist Srebra Gelleva and gave an unforgettable recital, which immediately became a shining moment in the viennese concert history.
These two amazing flutists not only showed the enthusiastic audience their unmatched levels of artistry and virtuosity, but captured everyone's hearts with their respect, love and friendship for each other, highlighted beautifully throughout the evening.
What was the best part of this day/concert/event?
In the program were arrangements of Concertos from Mendelssohn and Beethoven and pieces by Frédéric Chaselin, Mel Bonis and Tchaikovsky, real gems of the flute literature. The three artists gave several encores amongst the continuous ovation of the audience.
I remember standing backstage with my colleagues, waiting to go onstage to congratulate our artists. We all just stood still, looking at each other and couldn't stop smiling. It was a truly beautiful and humbling experience, and an absolute honor to organize this concert.
What are some of your upcoming events?
We have a major event planned for December 2023, where we will be hosting Muramatsu and five of their most renowned artists to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of The Muramatsu Flutes.
The date of our upcoming Flute Festival has been already set too, on the 13.-14. April 2024 in Vienna, which we are very excited about. The motto of our next festival will be Innovation and we can't wait to surprise and inspire all our guests with an amazing lineup and a fascinating weekend all around the flute.
What do you like best about being involved with the Austrian Flute Association?
Everything. First and foremost my colleagues and our team. I'm very fortunate to have gained a flute family and all the opportunities to create and facilitate truly outstanding events with and for so many amazing people.
Organizing events like these is very hard work, lots of responsibility and pretty stressful at times, but we always can count on each other for help, and are very appreciated by the members and guests of our Association. With all the challenges around, it is still very rewarding.
I personally can't wait to see where we are another 30 years from now.