FeaturedInterviewsIssuesJuly 2024

Elizaveta Ivanova Artist Interview

Elizaveta Ivanova is, since 2022, Associate Principal Flute of Frankfurt Opera Orchestra. In 2023 she won a First prize of the Geneva International Competition, where she was also mentioned with a few special prizes. She studied in St. Petersburg State conservatory with prof. Olga Chernyadeva and in Basel Music Academy with prof. Felix Renggli. 


Can you give us 5 career highlights?

The first is the meeting with my dear teacher Vladimir Ushakov when I was just 12. He was the first person who believed in me and started a work with me almost from nothing.
Next I would highlight my first international Crusell Competition in Finland in 2017 where I got the 3rd prize. That time the most important thing for me was not so much the fact of the prize but the understanding that I was moving in the right direction and the motivation I received for further development. Then a moment I met and decided to study with my dear Professor Felix Renggli. Further years of study with him I would call quiet decisive. In addition to inspiring me in every lesson, he taught me first of all to trust myself as a musician, to listen to myself and learn from myself and from music.
The big moment, of course, is moving to Germany and starting work at the Frankfurt Opera in 2022. From that moment on, I fell in love with opera music and the atmosphere of the theater. Listening to the best singers every day also helps to reveal new facets in playing the flute. And of course, the unexpected victory in the Geneva competition, which was the perfect end to my path in competitions and a great boost to my career. The recognition received from the best musicians in the world and from the public was a reward and another reminder not to doubt yourself.

What did you do specifically to prepare for the Geneva Competition?

First of all, I tried to take a good break from the flute for two weeks in the summer after the end of the season. A few weeks without the flute allowed me to miss it again and start preparing with a new charge.
After the announcement of the results, there was only a month for active preparation. I had to make up a practicing plan for myself because without it it would have been impossible to combine a very busy schedule in the orchestra and prepare 13 pieces to play on the stage by heart. A lot of work was also done without instruments just in the head and, for example, singing the pieces. Modeling the concert situation was an essential part of the preparation process for me. I asked a friend to listen and played whole rounds how it supposed to be and asked then to give me a detailed feedback. It helped me a lot not to lock myself inside just of my head, not to overthink too much up and also to check the truthfulness of my ideas.

What do you like best about performing?

I'm quite a shy person in life and I don't like being the center of attention. But when I go on stage with a flute, it's like I find my voice and I can speak more free through music. I love the feeling that the time while I'm standing on stage belongs only to me and I try to enjoy it as much as possible. The magic of music for me is that every concert, every performance brings me a surprise, that it is impossible to play one piece twice in the same way. It's like every time I learn something new about myself and about music, and I try to make this discovery together with the audience for whom I play.

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

I’m very looking forward for the summer break after this very full season. And from September on I have quite a busy schedule. Apart from a new season in the opera and several flute festivals, I am very excited to start my way as a BBC New Generation Artist and looking forward to everything that it will bring. I have also some own ideas that I hope to start to work on in next months.

What inspires you the most in life?

I am always very inspired by the music itself and the power it has over me and over people. Sometimes I even think that I live for the moments of goosebumps and tears from music. I also always admire the perfection and well-done, finished work, whether it's a play in the theater, a book or a subject of technical progress. And the biggest life-inspiration for me is to see people who are really happy, happy where they are and with what they have and are able to appreciate every moment of their lifes. Surprisingly, it's not that simple.

What has been your professional greatest challenge?

The biggest challenge for me so far remains the competition in Geneva. For example, freely choosing a program for a solo recital in the semi-final was quite a difficult task. It was necessary not only to choose several different favorite works that reflect me as much as possible and show me from different sides, but also to arrange them so that they form a single program that would be
interesting to the public. In general, the entire extremely intense week of the competition required a special approach to myself and to the music itself.

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

I’m not sure that I can name 5 hobbies but a few I can say. I love to buy beautiful books and organize them on the bookshelf. And of course to read them all. The idea of this is to eventually build my library of books that I love and that are important to me and could characterize me.
Also I love figure skating and everything what is related to this beautiful sport. I have a small playlist on YouTube with my favorite performances and I like to rewatch that when I need to get an inspiration.

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

Remember that every big thing in the world starts from the small steps. Organize a healthy every day practice routine and you will see the progress. Try always to sing and dance the music you play, it will help to understand and feel better the music. Keep your body in a good condition, take care of your health. Your body is your first instrument before the flute.


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