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

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!

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

Portugal at the US National Flute Association Convention!

We're small, but we're mighty! For anyone attending the NFA Convention in San Diego, CA, put this on your calendar for tomorrow, Sunday, August 14th, 9am: the US premier of Portuguese composer André M. Santos's work for solo flute: O motivo da menina Laite, published by Scherzo Editions of Lisbon.

The work will be performed by American flutist Tracy Doyle, of Colorado, a winner of the NFA's 2016 Convention Performer's Competition, and a Powell Flute player. The premier will be Sunday at 9am, on the program of "Newly Published Works" — works whose publishers won First Prize for the edition—in the California Room at the Convention venue. 

I sure wish I could be there to hear it, but you can be sure that the room will be filled, and Portugal will be "put on the map" as we say. Tracy has kindly agreed to send an "on-the-ground" report from the Convention afterwards, for me to publish here on the blog—keep your eyes out for that!

Toi-toi for the performance (that's Portuguese for "break a leg"), Tracy!!

Powell Flutist Tracy Doyle, with a beautiful out-West, Colorado background

Powell Flutist Tracy Doyle, with a beautiful out-West, Colorado background

Summer Flute Academy Composition Competition - WINNER!

A quick entry about the First-Prize Winning work from the 3rd Composition Competition of the Summer Flute Academy: "Traveling", for flute and alto flute duo, by Ricardo Matosinhos. The work is in four movements, each very picturesque and extremely well-written for both instruments, with a touch of extended techniques here and there, but very accessible to any listener! The composer, also a horn player, is now composing for flute, and all we can say is WELCOME!! The work will be edited and published by Scherzo Editions before the end of 2016—you can order it online

We professors of the Academy were particularly proud that two advanced participants gave the work's premier at our final presentation, in the Teatro Helena Sá e Costa in Porto, and extremely well and beautifully played it was! The performers were André Cameira, flute, and Patrícia Pires, alto flute — BRAVO!! Here's a photo of these two fine players with composer Ricardo Matosinhos after the performance. Cheers to all, and on to next year's competition, dear composers!

Flutists André Cameira and Patrícia Pires, with composer Ricardo Matosinhos, center

Flutists André Cameira and Patrícia Pires, with composer Ricardo Matosinhos, center

Bravo, Scherzo Editions of Lisbon!

At the last three editions of the Summer Flute Academy, we have been pleased to include João Vidinha, owner-founder of Scherzo Editions. Scherzo Editions has been busy publishing works by Portuguese and foreign composers, mostly living ones, for a variety of instruments and ensembles. As João has described it, he is looking for "fresh" compositions, music that is well-written and stylistically interesting, without following any particular "school". 

Scherzo Editions is a fundamental element in the Academy's annual Composition Competition for Works for Flute, in that the winning works are subsequently published by Scherzo. Not only is this great for the winning composers, but also for us flutists, since the emphasis at Scherzo is on attention to the legibility and practicability of the score for the PERFORMER! Scherzo's editions are truly a joy to look at and to play from!

Recently, along with publishing all the required commissioned works for the Portuguese Young Musicians' Prizes, Scherzo received a FIRST PRIZE in the American National Flute Association's Newly Published Music Competition—right alongside long-established editors such as Bärenreiter Verlag and Theodor Presser Company, which is an amazing achievement! The winning work, by the Portuguese composer André M. SantosO motivo da menina Laite, for solo flute, will have its US premier at the NFA Convention in San Diego, California, later this month! To purchase, order directly from the Scherzo site. Bravo Scherzo Editions and André M. Santos!!

João Vidinha of Scherzo Editions, with the NFA prize-winning work, at the Summer Flute Academy

João Vidinha of Scherzo Editions, with the NFA prize-winning work, at the Summer Flute Academy

A Day to remember!

What is a FULL DAY? One like yesterday that started with the final presentation of the Summer Flute Academy, in which 3/4 of the program was music by living composers, with 2 out of 3 present in the hall! FANTASTIC new works—prize-winners of our 3rd Composition Competition—by Jorge Ramos and Ricardo Matosinhos (have I mentioned that Portuguese composers rock?)—the first for full flute ensemble, from piccolo down to contrabass, conducted by yours truly, the second a duo expertly performed by André Cameira (flute) and Patrícia Pires (alto flute). Soon the videos will be online at the Academia de Flauta de Verão's website for all to enjoy! Check them out! 

In the afternoon, I was honored to be a jury member again in the Prémios Jovens Músicos (Young Musician's Prizes) at the Casa da Música in Porto. The final round of the the Senior category was held, with beautiful and poised performances by all three finalists, with Mafalda Carvalho taking home 1st prize—CONGRATULATIONS! She performed Casella's Sicilienne et Burlesque and the Nielsen Flute Concerto. Put September 23rd on your calendar to hear her perform the first movement of the Nielsen with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon at the Winner's Concert—looking forward to that!