April 2024FeaturedIssuesUncategorized

The 11th Annual Croatia Flute Academy

Interview with Petar Curic, Founder / Director of The Croatia Flute Academy

Can you provide an overview of the upcoming 11th Croatia Flute Academy in July? 

We are probably the best-known summer academy for students of flute and their teachers here in the Southeast, and since we aspire to become a Leading Flute Masterclass in Europe, over the last 11 years we have taken great care to ensure our professors, teachers, and guest-performers do represent the Crème de la crème of the international flutists scene. 

Hence, our teachers have so far included such flute superstars as Dennis Bouriakov, William Bennett (OBE), Peter-Lukas Graf, Jasmine Choi, Trevor Wye, Herman van Kogelenberg, Dieter Flury, Pierre-Yves Artaud, Wissam Boustany and many more.

This July we wish to continue in the same spirit, so our guest teachers will include: Davide Formisano from Musikhochschule Stuttgart (previously Principal Flute with La Scala in Milan); Robert Winn from Musikhochschule Cologne (long-time Principal Flutist with the Royal Philharmonic in London); Andrea Wild from the Music Conservatory in Vienna; Alberto Vocaturo from the Conservatorio di Musica “Giuseppe Verdi” in Milano; Juergen Franz from the Musikhochschule Hamburg (member of the Elbphilharmonie), Snjezana Pavicevic, Principal Piccolo with the Belgrade Philharmonic, and Marko Zupan from the Art Academy in Split, Croatia.

We believe that no other Flute Masterclass in Europe this year even comes close to what we are offering in terms of quality and friendly pricing given the top level of international teachers that we feature here in Croatia.


What are the key dates and main events attendees should mark on their calendars?

The Croatia Flute Academy is traditionally held in the first half of July in Karlovac, Croatia, and our dates this year are July 4th-12th 2024.

However, the most important thing attendees should mark on their calendars is this very month - that is, the month of May. 

Why? Because during May we are offering prospective students a DISCOUNT BONANZA FOR ALL! 

Come June, our Regular Full Fee kicks in, and then no more discounts are available. 

It is worth noting that savings to be made this month are quite substantial. So students hurry up!


What can attendees expect in terms of the atmosphere, workshops, and performances at this year's festival? 

One of the things we pride ourselves on is, this is a 100% safe and friendly ego-free work environment. All our masterclasses, workshops, clinics, and concerts take place at the theatre, and the theatre is just a 2-minute easy walk from the hotel where we are all accommodated. By the way, the city of Karlovac is an easy-going no-stress type of place, with a beautiful green park right next door to the theatre, so we have got all it takes to provide a truly serene and inclusive atmosphere for all our students and teachers alike to enjoy.


Are there any new or special additions to this edition?

The CFA 11 ed. coming up this July is unique in the sense that we have retained the same top level of teachers as last year (in fact, three of last year's teachers are coming back now), but at the same time, we have tried to cut down on the number of places so that each student can now get plenty more personal time with each of the teachers. 

As you know, last year we broke all records having admitted students from more than 18 countries. It was great fun! And one of the best years we've ever had! However, we thought maybe that was a bit pushing it... Therefore, this year the number of available places is strictly limited, and registration is on a "First first served” basis until all places are filled.


Can you tell us about the guest artists featured at the Croatia Flute Academy this year? 

Having already stated their names, it is worth noting that our working languages this year are: English, German, Italian, Slovene, Serbian, and Croatian, and that our event, in terms of student participants, is meant for Flutists of ALL AGES and ALL LEVELS, and we also encourage applications from non-performing flute enthusiasts! (Passive Registration)

As a 'fun fact' about all our featured professors this year, here goes:

Davide Formisano - did you know before his posts at La Scala and Stuttgart, he was Solo Flutist with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic?

Robert Winn - did you know before his tenure with the RPO and before coming to Cologne, Mr Winn was a Professor at the Franz-Liszt Academy in Weimar?

Jürgen Franz - did you know, in addition to being a Professor at Musikhochschule Hamburg and performing with the Elbphilharmonie, Mr. Franz has also been a regular guest-soloist with the world-infamous Berlin Philharmonic?

Andrea Wild - did you know, in addition to her duties in Vienna, Mrs Wild is a 'Mindbody Balance Tools' (M.B.T.) Specialist for flutists?

Alberto Vocaturo - did you know, except for his tenure as Chair Fute at the Music Conservatory “G. Verdi” in Milano, Italy, Mr. Vocaturo is also a PhD holder in mathematics! (no joke!)

Marko Zupan - did you know, in addition to teaching at the Art Academy in Split, Croatia, Mr Zupan was Principal flutist with the Berliner Symphoniker?

Snjezana Pavicevic - did you know that, in addition to being a long-time Principal Piccolo Flutist with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, Mrs. Pavicevic was a founding member of the Serbian Flute Association and is currently serving as its President?


What can attendees look forward to in their masterclasses?

Our masterclasses are tailored to the specific individual needs of each of our students. 

In terms of what our students are expected to prepare for the classes regarding repertoire, at the Croatia Flute Academy there are no set pieces required to prepare.

However, we ask our students to bring a minimum of two pieces for flute-solo or flute with piano accompaniment and a maximum of four pieces.

What kind of pieces? How long should they be? Can they all be for flute solo? Can they all be for flute & piano?

The answer is always simple: yes. That is, all and any of the above is okay.

Students choose four challenging musical works that they wish to work on with our professors while in Karlovac.

 Those may all be flute solo pieces. OR, they may be pieces for flute and piano. Or, a combination: two for flute solo, other two for flute with piano, or... Any combination is acceptable.  Yes - it can be one movement of a larger piece. Yes - it can be a long piece with multiple movements etc.

The point is to bring something they have worked on and that they wish to further improve, perfect, and master* while with us here Karlovac. Hence the term masterclass* 


How are guest artists selected for the festival? What criteria do you use to choose these performers and educators?

This is a great question! As the world we live in becomes ever more 'click-dependent' and '#ofviews-dependent' (yes, we are talking social networks and advertising events online), there are tendencies arising every day to consider swapping real-life quality of artists and their innate musicianship for various attention-grabbing skills that people learn to develop to gain personal attention online.

Let us make something clear: we have nothing against online influencers and trend-setters. As the future may be theirs, indeed.

However, for as long as we possibly can, the Croatia Flute Academy will continue to cherish traditional values and traditional art in its purest and simplest form. That is, if you are to teach here - you must not just be good, but be REAL good.

And, even if you have thousands of followers online, but have never won a major flute competition, or do not hold a teaching post at one of the major musical institutions - chances are you will never get to teach here. As simple as that.

On the other hand, yes, we had featured teachers who did not have a Facebook at all, never mind Instagram or TikTok.

But we thought their unique contributions to the world of music meant more than just  'being popular online' or posting highly clickable text, video, or pictures on the internet. For example, Trevor Wye, who taught here twice, in 2016 and 2018, wrote and published several famous practice books for the flute.

Imagine one day someone turning off the electricity for the entire world, and our smartphones and appliances stop working at once.

Well, Trevor's books would still be around. They would remain as helpful and as useful to us as ever!

Can you share some highlights from the history of the Academy and how it led to the inception of this festival?

You know, eleven years is a long time! I often joke most marriages don't last this long (eight years =Average Duration of a Marriage in the U.S.). There were very many highlights over the years, let's mention but a few:

In 2014. at 1st Croatia Flute Academy, we were blessed to feature the legendary James Newton from the United States, one of the most awarded and probably the most successful jazz flutists of all time! In 2015. we featured the tremendously popular Korean-American virtuoso Jasmine Choi, and that year also the CFA International Flutist Competition was held offering winners a scholarship to study in Paris, at the prestigious Ecole Normale de Musique Alfred Cortot. Croatian flutist Ana Votoupal won the prize and the scholarship to Paris!

In 2017. our headliners were the legendary Peter-Lukas Graf, and long-time Principal Flutist with the Vienna Philharmonic Dieter Flury, who was subsequently also the Vienna Philharmonic Executive Director.

I can remember Mr Graf, who was in his late 80-s at the time, insisting on working extremely long hours here, and he taught continuously for 10 hours per day while here in Karlovac, which had never happened before or after him. I remain puzzled today as to why he insisted on working that much...?

In 2019 and 2022 we organized two 'locally-oriented' editions and invited professors from the Balkans and neighboring countries only, such as Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, Italy...

In 2020. our 7th edition has had to be realized under special conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A special Flute Weekend was held from the 10th to the 12th of July, with concerts of Lucija Stilinović (flute) and Danijel Detoni (piano), the Flute Quartet 4SYRINX, while Ana Batinica, Principal flutist of the Zagreb Philharmonic, gave a lecture that was broadcast live on the CFA social networks, etc.

Nevertheless, one of the most memorable years for us was in 2021, as that event was marketed as a Special edition since Denis Bouriakov, Principal flutist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (previously with the Metropolitan) and probably the most sought-after living flutist in the world, was the only lecturer/professor that year. This event was held from 01.-07. July 2021, and all places at the masterclass had been filled months in advance...

I will always remember Mr. Bouriakov's Solo recital/concert he performed as a present to the people of Croatia, here at the City Theatre Zorin Dom in Karlovac, as that was probably the most fascinating concert of classical music I have ever witnessed in my entire life! It was just beyond belief special...


This festival is set in a picturesque location in Croatia. Can you describe the setting and explain how the location enhances the festival experience for participants and guests?

In addition to the activities at the Croatia Flute Academy, Karlovac, the town on four rivers, is also interesting to our students because it boasts the first registered river beach in Croatia, situated on the Korana river bank, and called the Foginovo beach.

From its source at the beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park, all the way to its mouth, where it joins the Kupa River in Karlovac, the green beauty that is the Korana River adorns its surroundings. It flows practically through the very center of the town of Karlovac!

For those who like mornings, this beach offers the privilege of swimming alongside the swans, and for those preferring evenings and nights, they can opt for the summer joys of the open-air river cinema. 

Interestingly, Karlovac is also a city with numerous therapeutic parks and practically looks like one huge park with a town within it!

The green vistas of the town are awaiting you, regardless of the direction of your approach. In Karlovac, you really have to turn on all five senses, as well as the sixth, the hidden one, and listen to the pine cones crackling in the summer heat, mixed with the most pleasant sounds of flute coming out of the windows of the city theatre - the official home to the Croatia Flute Academy.

Perhaps one final thing to mention, unlike in other more touristy places in Croatia, prices for a cup of coffee in nearby caffes, ice cream, pizza, or a large beer on tap or late-night cocktails, etc. in Karlovac are seriously cheaper than in the rest of the country.

So... what more can you ask for? 


For first-time visitors to the festival, what are your top recommendations for making the most out of their experience, both within the festival and in the surrounding area?

Based on experience, here's our top 4 recommendations for the first-time visitors at the Croatia Flute Academy:

  1. Apply as soon as possible to SAVE SERIOUS $ on the available discounts we offer before June each year;
  1. Arrive mentally prepared for the daily schedules that are intensive, and LOTS is going on here each day, however, also know there are no sanctions in the case you happen not to manage to attend every single lesson or class. In other words - we try to offer you plenty, but it is also up to you to decide how much you will be able to take in. 
  1. If you desire to chat with teachers about everyday things just to be friendly and make friends, that is fine with us, but please know that such sessions cannot and will not be scheduled. :-) Try to establish this kind of friendship on your own. What we schedule is, we schedule the educational sessions, and we schedule the "After-lunch Interview sessions" in which we discuss various topics outside of the music craft. For example: the music business topics, the audition preparation topics, the touring, money, promoting yourself in the media, balancing private and professional life, etc. Other "small talk" should be pursued on your own at breakfast, or during lunch or dinner. 
  1. Exchanging information and making friends with other like-minded, talented young flutists from around the world is one of the key things that you should expect to take with you once the academy is over. These friendships often last a lifetime!






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