Powell Brings Philippe Bernold to Tomar

Courtesy of Powell Flutes and its parent company, Buffet Crampon, Professor Philippe Bernold, of the Paris National Conservatory, presented classes, a seminar and a recital at the Summer Flute Academy 2018, in Tomar. 

It was a unique opportunity for all present to observe his work, play for him in classes and hear him perform a stunning recital. Bernold is a Powell Artist, performing on a Handmade 18k gold Powell flute, and along with his position at the Paris Conservatoire, gives master classes worldwide, and is extremely busy as a soloist and conductor. He is also very approachable, generous, and can simplify musical and instrumental issues brilliantly.

He also fell in love with Tomar! Portugal has many "hidden" delights, and the historic city of Tomar—gastronomy included!—is definitely high up on that list! Prof. Bernold—au revoir! See you again soon!

 Philippe Bernold in recital with pianist Jonathan Ayerst, at the Summer Flute Academy, Tomar

Philippe Bernold in recital with pianist Jonathan Ayerst, at the Summer Flute Academy, Tomar

Coming up for air / Bravo Maria and Simão!

Oops, I've been so busy I haven't been blogging…but time to get back on the saddle, because there is a lot to write about!

To start off, just a sweet photo of two ESART students, Maria Paixão (entering 3rd year) and Simão Francisco (completed Masters in Teaching in 2017), together in Tomar. As Simão was Maria's teacher, at the Canto Firme School of Music, where he is Professor of Flute and also the Director (!), you can sense in the photo the special connection between students and teachers, and a love for music that is what makes me enjoy teaching so much. 

Shortly after this photo was taken, Maria won 1st Prize in the "Sons de Cabral" competition in Belmonte, and Simão was busy directing the flute ensemble and helping organize the 6th Summer Flute Academy in Tomar—congratulations for two jobs extremely well done!

 ESART in Tomar—Maria Paixão and Simão Francisco

ESART in Tomar—Maria Paixão and Simão Francisco

Welcoming Paolo Taballione to the 5th Summer Flute Academy!

Courtesy of Powell Flutes, we are excited to welcome Powell Artist Paolo Taballione to the 5th Summer Flute Academy! Paolo will give a recital and work with selected students in a masterclass that promises to be a lot of fun!

I met Paolo briefly at the "Hands-On" flute festival at the University of Aveiro earlier this year, and very much enjoyed his entertaining performance, which included two works he himself arranged for flute and piano! We are waiting to see what else he has up his sleeve for us at the Academy, and look forward to his feedback to our fantastic students! Alongside his many solo performances, Paolo is Solo Flute of the Bavarian State Opera, so be prepared for a little "magic flute-ing"!

There is no cost to participants in the Academy for his (or any of the other) class—it's all included in the very accessible price of the Academy, so hurry up and sign up before places all fill up!

Many thanks to Powell Flutes in Boston, USA, for once again supporting the Academy with the presence of an outstanding flutist at our course!

 Paolo Taballione, Powell Artist

Paolo Taballione, Powell Artist

Head joint upgrades, Part 1!

Are you feeling like your flute is letting you down? Do you feel you are ready for an instrument that can do what you can imagine doing? Are you looking to upgrade to a much better instrument—and yet, you don't have the funds for a whole new flute?

We've all been in this position, and the very best advice I can give you is to UPGRADE YOUR HEAD JOINT! The head joint of a flute is like the bow for a violin or cello—and believe me, our string-player friends spend a lot of time searching for a better bow, since it is so much more affordable than a better fiddle!

As long as the body of your flute is working well—and if it isn't, you should send it to Luthier Tomás Miranda right away!—then you can definitely make a huge positive impact in your performance by upgrading to a better head joint.

Which brings me to Powell and Powell's famous head joints: famous since 1927 for their response, flexibility and projection! I have in stock a wide selection of head joints, both Signature (a more accessible line which is still totally handmade) and Custom, in materials ranging from classic Silver, Grenadilla, Aurumite and Gold. There's literally something for everyone.

If you are interested, just contact me for a no-obligation trial, or attend the 5th Summer Flute Academy, where there will be oodles of stock available to try and buy.

 Gorgeous Powell head joints, waiting for you to find yours!

Gorgeous Powell head joints, waiting for you to find yours!

Pedro de Alcantara @ 5th Summer Flute Academy!!

Consider yourself invited to attend our 5th (!) Summer Flute Academy— it promises to be the biggest, craziest and most fun EVER! Don't come to sit there watching, you'll be there to play, play, play, and also do a little listening and lots of trying out of new ideas!

There is really TOO MUCH planned to list it all in one go, so I'll just start in with one hot-off-the press bit of news: Pedro de Alcantara, one of the world's best-known teachers of the Alexander Technique and a wildly creative person, will be present! I'm very excited to announce this as it is not easy to get Pedro, based in Paris, "down" to Portugal, not for lack of interest, but only because he's often busy working in exotic places such as Australia or Japan! 

Pedro is Brazilian, trained in the US and the UK as a cellist, and has lived and worked in Paris for quite some time. He is the author of "Indirect Procedures", a book about the Alexander Technique for musicians published by Oxford University Press, has released several CDs, including improvisations, and is also a writer of novels. Check out his site and blog!

But mostly, he is a wonderful, insightful and unique person, who will bring his own ideas on music-making to all of us at the Academy! Thank you, Pedro, for fitting us into your schedule! "Expect nothing, anticipate anything."

 Pedro de Alcantara, musician, writer, thinker, healer, creativity expert

Pedro de Alcantara, musician, writer, thinker, healer, creativity expert

ESART - Auditions Overflow with Talent!

It was an exciting, if long, day at ESART last Sunday! My wonderful colleague (and Powell player) Professor Stephanie Wagner and I listened to twenty candidates for the Bachelor's program (licenciatura) — this was a tie with last year's number, and the largest applicant group by instrument!

To the hopeful candidates performing for us, it is of course very stressful, but an important thing to know is that what any jury really wants to hear is GREAT PLAYING! We are "with you" out there on the stage, we've been there, too! Never think the jury just wants to toss people off the ship—it really is not like that!

And we were extremely pleased with the level of the young flutists! For someone who has been in Portugal for quite some time, you might say the level would have been unimaginable even 5-10 years back. Therefore, we congratulate the hard-working, dedicated teachers who have produced such fine young players!

Lastly, we thank all twenty flutists for making the effort to be there and putting out your best! Bravi tutti!!

 ESART Classe de Flauta Transversal, 2016-17 (with fun filters!)

ESART Classe de Flauta Transversal, 2016-17 (with fun filters!)

India Travelogue: the Whirlwind Begins!

Nov. 2016—Our first two, oops, three! concerts have already taken place since I last wrote—such is the touring life: lots of packing and unpacking, setting up, taking down, travel, EATING (great food!), and trying to fit in some sleep! 

The first concert was at the "Piano Man" Jazz Club in Delhi, which was a totally chic venue with a fantastically warm audience, many of whom were hearing their first-ever live Western classical music concert! We were honored! The Club features not only Jazz, but every kind of music, including Indian Classical music and Western pop music of all kinds. A great openness to all music is the result!

The Club has produced over 380 concerts in just 14 months, IMAGINE THAT! 

Our concert was tremendously well-received, with special kudos to the new trio by Carlos Marecos' which had its premiere. Many in the audience came up afterwards to mention how moved they were by the work, which depicts seven rural villas in Portugal with the special harmonic genius of Marecos setting the scene for each. Thank you, Carlos, for such a magnificent piece!!

Photos: Arjun Sagar Gupta, owner of the Piano Man; a fine collection of recorders; Syrinx : XX colleagues rehearsing; a seriously cool chandelier made of, well, trumpets!!

Welcome to ESART - a Dear Colleague!

This is only "news" because I was away from the blog for some time following the India tour: join me in welcoming to the Flute Faculty at ESART the wonderful and multifaceted flutist Stephanie Wagner! We will be team-teaching there, in Castelo Branco from here on out!

I am very honored that Stephanie is able to put her wide-ranging professional experience at the service of the class, with a complementary angle to mine! Together, we have already "produced" four editions of the Summer Flute Academy (which was her brainchild!) along with our terrific colleague Raquel Lima of ESMAE, so we are enjoying extending the collaboration throughout the school year!

Stephanie, a native of Lisbon, has held orchestral positions in Germany, performed piccolo with the London Symphony Orchestra, studied at the New England Conservatory in Boston, USA, and the Hochschüle in Munich, Germany. She has now been the flutist with the Remix Ensemble-Casa da Música in Porto for over ten years! You can check out all her activities on her site!

She is also a longtime Powell Flutes player, both C flute and the piccolo in the photo below! And she is the Portuguese rep for Kingma Flutes, playing the Kingma alto, bass and contrabass with Remix. We have a love for new music in common; composers should check out her "UnlimitedFlutes" project!

Anyway, this weekend we'll be doing a "flute marathon" with the ESART class—photos forthcoming!

 Powell Flutist Stephanie Wagner, with the smallest flute of her collection!

Powell Flutist Stephanie Wagner, with the smallest flute of her collection!

Lunch & News from Scherzo Editions!

Between rehearsals for Donizetti's opera based on the true story of Anne Boleyn, "Anna Bolena", I had a delightful lunch with João Vidinha, who is an outstanding flutist as well as the owner/founder of Scherzo Editions, the up-and-coming Portuguese music publisher/editor. 

It was, as always, great to catch up! Scherzo is "on a roll", having received a 1st Prize in the most recent "Newly Published Music" Competition of the (American) National Flute Association with "O motivo da menina laite" by André M. Santos for solo flute. This puts Scherzo on a par with renowned music publishers such as Theodor Presser and Universal Editions, which have been in existence for over 100 years!

I received my order for some of the latest items from Scherzo for flute, or flutes, and it was exciting to see Scherzo's catalog growing; it now includes works by Ricardo Matosinhos, Wilson Tanner Smith, Nuno Peixoto de Pinho, and two by Jorge F. P. Ramos—all of which come out of the Summer Flute Academy's Composition Competition! There are also works for flute by Sílva Mendonça, Fábio Cachão, Donald Yu, Sara Claro and others— you can check out the catalog on Scherzo's site. The composition talent in Portugal is second to none, and so is the publishing talent!

Scherzo Editions also has published all the commissioned works for the Young Musician's Prizes (Prémios Jovens Músicos) recently, and that adds a wonderful variety to the catalog as well.

Another day, another hat off! It's great to see well-executed entrepreneurial efforts based here in Lisbon—Portugal today; tomorrow, the world!

 João Vidinha of Scherzo Editions, holding a new work by Jorge F. P. Ramos

João Vidinha of Scherzo Editions, holding a new work by Jorge F. P. Ramos