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

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!)

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

CAROS COMPOSITORES: 4º Concurso de Composição está em curso!

Queridos e estimados compositores—queria também anunciar, agora em português, a 4ª Edição do Concurso de Composição para Flautas Transversais da Academia de Flauta de Verão! Temos duas categorias diferentes que achamos que vão vos inspirar:

1) OBRA A SOLO para uma das "low flutes": flauta em sol, flauta baixo, ou flauta contrabaixo.

2) QUINTETO para 5 flautistas com instrumentação flexível.

O nosso concurso está aberto à compositores de todas as idades e nacionalidades, e temos abertura para qualquer estilo de escrita. Estamos ansiosos para ver, tocar e ouvir o que vocês podem imaginar!

Obras que obtém um 1º Prémio terão estreia durante a 5ª Academia de Flauta de Verão em Julho de 2017 no Porto. Serão gravados em audio e vídeo, e serão publicado pelo notável Scherzo Editions, e há ainda um prémio monetário.

Nota-se que a Scherzo Editions já foi premiado pela National Flute Association em 2016, com um 1º Prémio para Obras Recém-Publicadas (Newly Published Music Competition)—BRAVO, Scherzo Editions, uma empresa 100% portuguesa!!

O Concurso conta com o apoio precioso da Powell Flutes, EUA e da Kingma Flutes da Holanda, da Scherzo Editions e ainda com a ajuda da ESMAE no Porto—OBRIGADA A TODOS!

O regulamento pode está no site da Academia de Flauta de Verão. A data limite é dia 20 de Março de 2017—por favor, ajudam a partilhar estas informações, obrigada!

DEAR COMPOSERS: 4th Competition underway!

Dear cherished composers: we are pleased to announce (again, better a little late than never) that the 4th Composition Competition of the Summer Flute Academy is underway! 

Our two categories this year are: 1) SOLO WORK for "low flute"—alto, bass or contrabass; and 2) QUINTET for a flexible group of five flutists. The competition is open to composers of all ages and nationalities. We are excited to see, play and hear what you send in, so set your imaginations free!

First prizes include a premier performance at the 5th Summer Flute Academy, recorded in video and audio, publication of the work by Scherzo Editions, and cash prizes. We are proud to be sponsored by Verne Q. Powell Flutes, USA, and Kingma Flutes in Holland, and supported by ESMAE and Scherzo Editions—thank you all!

All details can be found on the Summer Flute Academy (Academia de Flauta de Verão) site. Deadline for entries is March 20th, 2017. SPREAD THE WORD!

Information available online in both English and Portuguese

Information available online in both English and Portuguese

TONIGHT: Mafalda Carvalho at the Winners' Concert!!

Calling all Lisbon-area flutists! Let's show up in record numbers for the Winners' Concert of the Young Musicians Prizes (Prémios Jovens Músicos) TONIGHT, at 9.30pm at the Gulbenkian Foundation. It has been SIX YEARS (!) since the last Sr. Division Flute Competition, so NOW is our chance to hear a flute concerto front and center! Those not in Lisbon can listen live on Antena 2 radio.

I exchanged emails with Mafalda, and let's just say she's had a BIG YEAR: finishing her Masters Thesis and training, touring with the Galiza Symphony Orchestra to Abu Dhabi, teaching, entering the Classic Orchestra of Madeira as 1st Flute—and winning this competition! As you might imagine, she's pretty much a master of organizing her work and her time! So exciting to see someone aim high and achieve their goals! Click here to read an interview with Mafalda on Da Capo Magazine.

Mafalda says that she feels a special affinity for the Nielsen Concerto, which explores many different moods. For the free-choice repertoire for the rest of the competition she relied, intelligently, on works that she loves and had previously played, bringing a new maturity to them this time around. That sounds like an excellent "recipe" for success! Don't forget that to arrive at this new maturity, there always has to be a first time around, too; all stages of development are important!

Now I just look forward to being there and hearing Mafalda perform the Nielsen with the Gulbenkian Orchestra! Tickets are free but get there early before the hall fills up! And to Mafalda, as we say in the US: "Break a leg"!! Or simply: "GO GIRL!"

Flutist Mafalda Carvalho 

Flutist Mafalda Carvalho 

Not to miss: Winners' Concert of the Young Musicians' Prizes—FRIDAY!

The culminating moment of the 30th Edition of the Portuguese Young Musicians' Prizes, the most prestigious national competition, now celebrating its 30th edition, will be the "Winners' Concert", Friday, September 23rd at 9:30pm at the Gulbenkian in Lisbon.

Happily, there is a flutist among the 1st-prize winners, the fabulous Mafalda Carvalho, who will perform the first movement of the Nielsen Concerto with the Gulbenkian Orchestra. Having been on the flute jury again this year, I can vouch for the very high level of all the candidates—and tell you that the flute competition (Senior level) was the most contested of all the instrumental competitions, with 32 candidates submitting recordings for the first round. So an extra bravo for all who entered, putting in hours of preparation and work. There is never anything to lose if you are invested in the work, even if you don't take home a prize, and much to be gained, namely "grit" and  experience!

Those not in Lisbon can hear the concert live on Antena 2, but tickets for the concert are FREE, on a first-come, first-served basis, so get there early and DON'T MISS THE SHOW! And let's give all our flute-community support to Mafalda! I'll have more on Mafalda tomorrow; stay tuned!

Mafalda Carvalho, 1st-Prize Winner, Senior Flute Category, Young Musicians' Prizes, 2016

Mafalda Carvalho, 1st-Prize Winner, Senior Flute Category, Young Musicians' Prizes, 2016


So we know what a marathon is, and we know what a phone-a-thon is, but what's a "Faune-a-thon"? It's when you play Debussy's "Faune" (Prelude à l'après-midi d'un faune, if you prefer) TWELVE TIMES in the same morning! I should know, because that's what was on the orchestra docket yesterday— luckily for a good cause:

The Portuguese national Youth Music Prizes is celebrating its 30th Edition this year by, among other events, staging its first-ever Competition for Orchestral Conductors, and our orchestra is their "instrument" for the live rounds, three in all. Yesterday was the first live round, with TWELVE candidates, all of whom had to conduct (the first half of) Faune, plus the 4th movement of Beethoven's First Symphony (first half, also). 

I am happy to report that it was actually fun, in part because the pressure was more on the candidates than on the flute soloist (for once). Secondly, as there was no time to talk, the approach in rehearsal to this famous and incredibly beautfily work was fairly existential—what's coming next? And thirdly, it was fun because the conductors were of an excellent level (Faune is a work that poses many difficulties and options for the conductor, too!)—another reflection of the amazing quality of music-making going on here in Portugal! Bravo, maestros!

Leon Bakst's famous program cover for the 1912 premier by the  Ballets Russes , with Nijinsky as the Faune.

Leon Bakst's famous program cover for the 1912 premier by the Ballets Russes, with Nijinsky as the Faune.

Winning Composition Premier now on YouTube!

My magnificent Summer Flute Academy colleague Stephanie Wagner is back from holiday, and thus the recordings from the concerts at the Academy are going online! (She's the IT whiz amongst us). They are on the Academy site, FaceBook page or YouTube.

The first one I'd like to draw your attention to is the fabulous performance by André Cameira (flute) and Patrícia Pires (alto flute) of Ricardo Matosinho's work "Traveling". It is extremely well-written and fun to listen to—bravo to the performers and the composer, who received First Prize in the Academy's 3rd Composition Competition for Works for Flutes

As soon as the work is available—it will be published by Scherzo Editions before the end of the year—I'll let everyone know. Until then, enjoy listening, and to the composer: keep writing for flutes, please!

Composer Ricardo Matosinhos, Patrícia Pires and André Cameira. Photo © Susana Neves /AFV

Composer Ricardo Matosinhos, Patrícia Pires and André Cameira. Photo ©Susana Neves/AFV

Em Foco - Teses! / In Focus - Theses!

As part of the Summer Flute Academy project, we look for interesting thesis projects that can be presented in a seminar to the students (and Professors!). This is our "Em Foco—Tese" project, and this year's winner was André Cameira, of the University of Évora. He gave an excellent presentation on the 12 Fantasias of Telemann, with an overview, historical information and performance and practice suggestions. Highly useful and inspirational—THANK YOU, André!

Next year we'll be having our 5th (!) Summer Flute Academy, so if you have written a thesis that is nearing completion or has been completed in the last 10 years we'd love you to submit it—I'll let you know when the regulations for 2017 are on the site. Our idea is that many theses are being written but end up on a shelf without having any wider exposure, which is a shame. The winning thesis will also be included in the archives of the Summer Flute Academy online. And we are completely open to theses by non-flutists since many times the subject matter is relevant!

Flutist André Cameira presenting his seminar on the Telemann Fantasias at the 4th Summer Flute Academy

Flutist André Cameira presenting his seminar on the Telemann Fantasias at the 4th Summer Flute Academy