MIYAZAWA'S ARTIST PROFILES
IAN CLARKE (UK)
"Ian Clarke 'Within' Marvelous and dramatic flute recordings by increasingly recognized star performer Ian. His sweeping soundscapes evoke the beauty of East Africa and capture the most intimate emotion. An album in search of its visual counterpart: Brilliant, brave, moving." - Musician (CD Review Spring 2006)
"A stunning performance by player composer Ian Clarke....a true master of his art" - British Flute Society
"Zoom Tube is a simply astonishing piece..... Ian's genius lies in his ability to incorporate extended flute techniques for the flute in a way that are thoroughly powerful, natural and accessible musically" - programme notes by Wissam Boustany
IAN CLARKE is acknowledged as one of the leading
player/composers in the flute world. His compositions have been
performed across five continents on stages ranging from the South Bank
to Glastonbury. These works are establishing themselves as some of the
most exciting flute repertoire of today and are being embraced by
internationally acclaimed performers, teachers, colleges & students
Ian has performed as a guest soloist for the British Flute Society
including the Third International Flute Convention, Manchester, as one
of their 'renowned artists' at their 20th Century flute day in 2001 and
will appear at the 2006 BFS international convention. He made his
international debut as guest soloists at the NFA's 2001 International
Flute Convention, Dallas. Following on from this Ian was the guest
artist at the 2003 Hungarian National Flute Event and a headline artist
in the 2005 NFA convention in San Diego. He has given master classes at
the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Royal
Scottish Academy, Royal Northern and Trinity College of Music and has
regularly been invited to perform & lead workshops for 'Flutewise'
and numerous other flute events around the country. Ian has been a
regular visitor to several of the leading Summer Schools. 2005 saw the
release of his long awaited CD 'Within?', now critically acclaimed and
one of the flute world's best sellers.
A prize-winning student, Ian studied with Simon Hunt, Averil Williams
and Kate Lukas of the Guildhall School of Music, London. He
concurrently studied Mathematics at Imperial College, London graduating
with Honors. Ian is professor of flute at the Guildhall School of Music
Ian works extensively with musician/composer Simon Painter writing, producing and performing music for film & television under the name of Diva Music with numerous recordings between them and applications from Microsoft to Oprah Winfrey.
IAN CLARKE (UK)
1. What are your greatest inspirations for your compositions?
Each composition has its own story so it is difficult to say,
particularly because the pieces on the CD 'Within...' were written over a
period of years. However, flute player/composers have definitely been a
huge factor along with a diverse set of other influences. Hearing
Robert Dick for the first time many years ago at the Royal College of
Music was unforgettable and opened up a world of possibilities. Hearing
Dave Heath perform his own pieces was also fantastic. Equally, I have
always been inspired by great musicians/instrumentalists of all sorts
ranging from Oscar Peterson to Sir James Galway, along with great music
from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring to Pink Floyd.
I have owned synthesizers and keyboards of various descriptions since I was in school and have experimented with sound ever since. Texture and sound have always intrigued me, and the possibilities in a studio are vast. The former experience of playing in a band has influenced my writing – I have written in many different genres as well as composed with specific images in mind.
I will be playing Xi by Stockhausen in my concerts in Canada and the
USA partly because of its influence on subsequent pieces like Zoom Tube,
and because Xi is an extraordinary piece. I'm not really big on
Stockhausen but a friend of mine did some work with him and leant me her
autographed collection of Stockhausen's flute music ... I zoned in on
one piece, Xi and set about learning its microtonal language. When heard
back to back, the influence of Xi on Zoom Tube is recognizable.
In summary, my flute pieces tend to evolve and take on a life of
their own, each with its own thread and package of thoughts, feelings
and inspirations. My latest piece Touching the Ether has both
philosophical and emotional ideas running through its creation.
2. How do you go about composing? Do you improvise on your
flute and then write down your ideas? Or do you already have ideas in
your head beforehand?
It is not always a straightforward process.... I feel a need to write something while also finding the process often quite difficult. There are many reasons for this. In general, yes, I improvise and then record or notate these ideas. Also I often have ungraspable images in my head that gradually take shape...
3. How do you balance composing and performing?
The short answer again is, with difficulty! I am lucky that life is very full but this creates a challenge in terms of finding time to write for the flute more. I love performing and it's great to have the opportunity to play in an increasing variety of countries. I recently got back from a brilliant trip to Iceland – somewhere I had never been – playing the flute with a great group of people. And of course, I am off to Canada and the US very soon. A lot of my creative work has been and still is with Simon Painter, my partner in Diva Music, writing for various television and film applications. It was a collaboration with Simon that resulted in T R K s and Tuberama amongst other things. I also love teaching. I seem to need a crowbar to make time to compose for the flute (!), which is something I'm attempting to do now. Interestingly, it is much easier for me to practice repertoire, perform or teach than it is to compose, but I have a 'need' to do it, so in the end it happens.... very complicated!
4. Who has been your greatest influence?
No one person springs to mind. Different people at different times of my life have been important influences. My family, my teachers (flute, piano & school music teachers) and of course legendary musical figures. For me I think I have gone through phases of being particularly influenced or affected by certain people. For instance I won't be alone in being influenced by Sir James Galway. Hearing Robert Dick for the first time had a huge impact and interestingly I heard both in concert at the same convention many years ago. Numerous colleagues, things and people have consciously and subconsciously influenced me since then.
5. What does a typical practice session look like?
My practice sessions vary a lot and don't usually follow a strict regime. Of course I have been through many different routines in the past. However, there are basic themes that give it some shape. I usually do something technical for coordination of fingers e.g. pattern work, virtuosic repertoire, sometimes some studies. I may do some specific tone/resonance flexibility work e.g. exercises of my own, my variations of classic exercises and some slower tunes/movements that I think will help get things going. Tonal variety and expression is always on my mind and it is something I may spend a little time on specifically, particularly if resonance feels a little off, but the thought process is present with whatever I'm playing. Sometimes I may play something 'just because' e.g. a piece of repertoire from the music shelf and this may hang around the stand for a bit. This adds variety to any repertoire I'm preparing at that point. I may also doodle and improvise a bit and if I'm actually working on a flute composition, this aspect will take on a more significant role; the amount can vary from a very little to taking up much of the session. The other area is of course whatever repertoire is applicable at the time. The approach to each piece or movement will vary and I'll apply few or many practice tools depending on what is required and how much time I have to practice. Teaching, chatting with colleagues, reading and observing other master-classes means that you are constantly reflecting on how to approach things in your own practice, at least to some degree.
6. What is the most important thing to teach an upcoming young flautist/student?
It would be to encourage curiosity, creativity and to discover that things have many layers e.g. listening. I think Shrek said that ogres are like onions and have many layers ... so do many of the things we do as a flautist and musician. If there was one thing I'd encourage a young flautist to do, it would be to write their own tunes for fun and get together with others to play ... oh that's two!
7. Why did you choose to play the flute?
I can recall being fixated by the idea of the flute but I can't really recall a specific trigger. I can still remember getting my first flute when I was 10.
8. What are your interests/hobbies outside the flute?
I like to do various things to keep fit although I'm far from a fitness fanatic. I run quite regularly and at the moment try to add some swimming into the mix. I've also started doing more cycling with my wife which is lovely, on top of the odd walk. Like most people we also like to go out to eat with friends, to the theatre, concerts, shows, comedy and films which we do in fits and starts. And like many others I like to read but as life is busy that can be an erratic past-time. So, all pretty regular stuff.
9. How did you come to choose Miyazawa as your flute of choice?
I was looking for more resonance and spin from my flute, particularly in the middle register. I was fortunate to meet the lovely people from Miyazawa UK & US who took me through the range. The Miyazawas with soldered toneholes in particular seemed to work well for me ... Initially, I played the heavy-wall silver then moved onto the GS which is what I used for the CD a couple of years ago and have played solidly since. Even though the player dominates the relationship with their instrument, one's flute is a very personal thing.
10. If you had one piece of advice to give for an upcoming flautist, what would you tell them?
Struggle to imagine the most extraordinary note, phrase, performance and reach for it... every time! Then don't get too worried if you only very rarely get there....getting a little closer is a real buzz!
IAN CLARKE PERFORMS ZOOM TUBE
CLARE SOUTHWORTH (UK)
Clare Southworth enjoys a highly successful and
varied career as performer, teacher and author, and is a well-known
figure on the International flute scene. Clare's many prizes include,
International First Prize Winner of America's National Flute Association
Competition, and Prize Winner of the Madeira International Flute
Clare was formerly Principal Flute with Aquarius, with whom she made
several commercial recordings, and has worked with many leading
orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, Halle
and ECO. She has recorded two acclaimed CD's, Sonatas and Classic
Touch. Clare is in great demand as a performer and master class
presenter, and has regular invitations to perform in Europe, America,
Japan and for International Flute Festivals.
Clare is recognized as one of the country's leading flute teachers and was Professor of Flute at the R.N.C.M. for 17 years. She is now Professor of Flute at the Royal Academy of Music. Her books "Flute Aerobics", "Light Aerobics" and "Sequentials" have become best sellers. Clare has directed her own summer school for the last 18 years.
UK / Switzerland
Boston Classic R-Platinum with 14k Gold Keys and Brögger System™
UK / Switzerland
CLARE SOUTHWORTH (UK)
1. How did you decide to play the flute?
My flute playing days started because I didn't want to learn the piano. My parents were very keen for me to learn the piano, but I persuaded them to let me choose another instrument. I decided to play whichever instrument I next heard and luckily I heard a flute! The thought that I could have heard a tuba fills me with horror.
2. You were the winner of the NFA Young Artist Competition in 1981. What tips do you have for flautists preparing for competitions?
If you are thinking of entering a competition, then make sure you start your preparations early. Often the rounds in these events are very close together and there's very little time for practice once the competition has started. I used to give myself 3 or 4 months preparation time.
There is an element of luck in all competitions, so go into them with a positive mindset, and if you're unlucky, then just focus on the next event. Only one person can win, so if it's not you, don't waste your energy being depressed, get out your flute and start practicing again.
3. What is the most valuable lesson that the flute has taught you?
Patience and the knowledge that if you want something badly enough, then you have to work hard to achieve that goal. Hard work is always rewarded. The other valuable lesson is that it is possible to connect to so many people through the power of music. We are entertainers, and if we remember this in concerts, then any nerves can disappear, because the audience have come to enjoy your playing. By communicating the expression of the music, we can create many positive reactions in the people who listen to us.
4. What musician has had the largest influence on your playing?
This is so difficult, because there have been so many important influential performers. My early flute inspiration was always William Bennett with his incredible palette of colours and depth of musicality. Hearing recordings of Jacqueline du Pre, was another early influence with her playing of Elgar’s Cello Concerto. This was playing of such intensity, beauty and emotional communication, that all I wanted to do was practise and try to somehow capture the magic that she so effortlessly created. I try and encourage my students to listen to as many performers as possible and not just other flute players. I stress the need to listen with ears open and to observe how the performers move them. Is it with a beautiful sound, or subtle vibrato, wide range of dynamics, perfect tuning, or emotional communication? By listening to others, we learn and can then incorporate that knowledge into our own playing.
5. What qualities do you think are most essential to musical excellence?
Emotion is the most important quality to musical excellence. Saying something through music that has meaning and that can touch, move and create those emotions in the people who listen. It is a complex mixture of responses. Music has the power to stimulate and change emotions, it is so versatile. Emotion is part of the four main components of sound, the other three being colour, dynamic and vibrato. I talk about this subject in depth in my book, “The Expression of Colour”. Colour is just another word for sounds. We all need to develop a rich variety of tone colours to add interest to our playing. Expression is the mix of the 4 components, enabling us to play with feeling and communicating the music. Varying their use, they bring music to life and also create movement, adding interest and meaning, focus and direction.
6. What's the most important thing to teach an upcoming flautist/student?
There are so many aspects to teaching, that it is impossible to give a simple answer. Teaching on one level, involves giving your students the practical skills, to enable them to communicate the emotion of the music. The tools for the job. It also involves helping your students reflect and consider their ideas and emotions and developing those ideas into a coherent and understandable language. So simply put, the two most important things to teach a student are expression and technique. I hope to give my students the confidence to perform in an individual manner, with the ability to be expressive and brave with their musical ideas. Communication in everything they do.
7. What is your typical practice routine like?
My practice routine is a constantly changing and evolving process.
But let me tell you what I play on a regular basis. My sessions are the
equivalent of circuits in a gym. Warm up, aerobic, stretching, aerobic,
stamina, cool down.
I warm up with something gentle like a low beautiful melody. This extends into tone work in the low and middle registers. I love Philippe Bernold’s Technique d’Embouchure. Then some technical work, Taffanel & Gaubert Daily Exercises, along with Maquarre, D.S. Wood or any other sequential patterns. I try and link tone work to tunes in my current repertoire and technique work to fast passages in my repertoire. The pieces come towards the end of my practice, where I can just concentrate on the music, because I have worked on the technique in my early exercises. Variety is the key to successful practice. This is the perfect session, but of course I have days when I just play, with improvisation and tunes or I pull out lots of pieces from my library and just enjoy the beauty of music. How lucky are we to be in this privileged position!
8. How did you come to choose Miyazawa as your flute of choice?
I came to choose Miyazawa by way of elimination. I had been trying
many different flutes over a period of time, and was in the fortunate
position of being able to pick the best one for me. That choice was
suddenly a very easy one, once I had played the range of Miyazawa
flutes. I started on a hand-made silver and then a few years later
invested in my Platinum flute. Platinum enables me to be so flexible in
terms of colour production and dynamics. There is such depth of sound
and a beautiful resonance that is difficult to replicate on other
flutes. For the first time, I can be completely confident in the sounds I
produce, the technical security with the new Brogger system and be in
9. Could you provide one piece of advice for an upcoming flautist?
The competition is fierce these days, too many flute players and too few jobs or opportunities. Success doesn't depend solely on how you play, but also on your social skills and personality, being able to fit into different situations and being ready to learn from those around you. Work on your promotion, get some business cards, write to anyone who might be able to offer you work and always thank the people who help you.
CLARE SOUTHWORTH PERFORMS ANDY SCOTT'S SONATA FOR FLUTE & HARP
MICHEL BELLAVANCE (UK / SWITZERLAND)
Michel has appeared in Europe with the Lisbon Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra, the Geneva Chamber Orchestra, the Paris Camerata Academica Orchestra, and in Latin America with the National Symphony Orchestra of Peru, the State Orchestra of Bahía Blanca, the State Orchestra of San Juan, Orchestra Philharmonic of Mendoza, the State Symphony Orchestra of Bahia, the Maracaibo Symphony Orchestra and the Ensemble Ad Hoc, in concertos by Nielsen, Ibert, Reinecke, Bernstein, Kabalevski, Liebermann, Mozart, Bach, Hue and Vivaldi.
He has given recitals in Prague, Barcelona, Geneva, Madrid, Düsseldorf, Basel, London, Zürich, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Lima, Quito, São Paulo, Salvadore de Bahia, Brasilia, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Córdoba, San Juan, San Jose, Bogotá, Manizales, Medellin, Montréal, Ottawa, Omaha, Washington DC, New York Carnegie Hall, Sydney, Auckland, Hamilton, Beijing, and Shanghai. He has performed at major festivals in Switzerland, the United States (NFA 2010 in Anaheim), Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Santiago de Chile, Colombia, Ecuador as well as on several radio broadcasts for the CBC, the Radio Suisse Romande, and National Public Radio (USA).
An active teacher, Bellavance has taught workshops and master classes in England (Guildhall School, Royal College of Music London, and the Benslow International Flute Summer School), France (Conservatoires Nationaux Régionaux of Lyon and Nancy), Switzerland (Blonay International Music Course), Italy (Scuola Civica di Cagliari), Spain (Centro Cultural Kraus, Madrid), Romania (Bu?teni International Flute School), Canada (Montréal Conservatoire), USA (University of Northern Iowa, University of Western lllinois), Brazil (University Federal of São Paulo, State University of Rio de Janeiro, University Federal of Minas Gerais Encontro Internacional de Flautista Tatui, Curso de verao Brasilia 2006-2007 and 2008, ABRAF Salvador de Bahia, Uberlandia and Sao Joan del Rey), Argentina (Conservatorio Manuel de Falla in Buenos Aires, Conservatorio Beethoven, Conservatorio Provincial in Córdoba, State University of San Juan and National University of Cuyo in Mendoza), Peru (Lima International Flute Festival), Venezuela (Maracaibo Festival y Academia del Nuevo Mundo, Curso Festival Union de las Artes Guama, Universidad Simón Bolivar in Caracas), Costa Rica (San Jose International Flute Festival), Chile (University of Chile and Escuela de Moderna de Musica), Ecuaduor (Conservatorio Nacional in Quito). Colombia (Universidad Nacional de Bogotá, Universidad Nacional de Manizales, Universidad Antioquia de Medellin), China (Beijing Central Conservatory, Shanghai Conservatory, Guangzhou Conservatory and Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts), Australia (Sydney Conservatorum) and New Zealand (Auckland University and Hamilton University).
Michel embraces a full range of repertoire, and his discography attests to his keen interest for both new and less familiar pieces. His two discs for Brioso Recordings (USA) have received worldwide critical praise. His CD entitled Sergei, Béla & Bohuslav features works by composers of Central & Eastern Europe, whilst Joueurs de Flûte contains works by French and Canadian composers, including the Rachel Laurin Flute Sonata opus 29, which he commissioned and premièred. Michel made the world-première recording of Salomon Jadassohn’s Nocturne opus 133, which is one of the works featured on his Romantic Flute disc for the SNE label (Canada). His fourth recording, published by Meridian Records (UK), contains French works of the first part of the 20th century, including the flute version of the violin Sonata opus 13 by Gabriel Fauré.
A grant recipient of the Canada Arts Council, Bellavance studied in Paris, Geneva, Zürich and San Francisco, honing his performing skills with artists such as Aurèle Nicolet, Patrick Gallois, Maxence Larrieu, András Adorján and Paul Renzi.
MICHEL BELLAVANCE (UK/SWITZERLAND)
1. How do you balance your teaching career in Geneva when you currently have so much international travel & performances?
Being a professor at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Geneve, I enjoy a certain degree of flexibility in organizing my teaching. This is quite different from playing in an orchestra - which I used to do - where you must attend rehearsals and concerts at specific times. As you know, the academic year includes a number of months with no classes, which is ideal for organizing tours and masterclasses abroad. And during the teaching months, I can arrange my weekly classes so that I have some time to travel. I love this balance between teaching and playing around the world. I need it to continue to develop my artistic career.
2. With this in mind, how do playing styles compare and contrast from different areas around the world?
Without being stereotypical, I note some trends in the various parts of the world where I teach. For example, I observe a more technical focus in Asian countries, whereas South Americans tend to be more intuitive in their playing. Even within Europe, there are lots of different approaches, with the southern countries being different form the northern and eastern ones. The latter have a more intellectual approach to music. But there are many exceptions of course. As far as I am concerned, I try to combine the various trends. I am perhaps more on the intuitive side, meaning that I will always first play a piece instinctively, and thereafter analyse it to confirm my first intuition.
3. What is your teaching philosophy?
I would say my teaching is based on three main principles: honesty, independence, and versatility. First, honesty means that as interpreters we must remain faithful to what composers have produced. In other words, the students must learn how to translate the music as it is written. This includes articulation, dynamics, tempi. As Aurele Nicolet says, 'before interpreting the piece, play what is written.' Second, I want the students to be independent and able to progress further without tuition. I use question-asking as a tool, rather than telling them to do things. This greatly enhances the teaching efficiency, as the students remember better what they have discovered themselves. Thirdly, I insist on the students being fully versatile, like today's actors in the theatre. They must be able to be authentic in music going from baroque to classical or contemporary, to give just a few examples. And finally I insist a lot on sound quality, including having a full range of colours.
4. What is your typical practice routine like?
I don't have one (LOL). However I start every day's practice with a rough sight-reading to warm up. Only after that do I do some sound exercises or scales or repertoire (not necessarily in that order). I find this works better for me, as I need to be warm to be able to work.
5. What musician has had the largest influence on your playing?
As far as flautists go, I think I have been influenced the most by Aurele Nicolet and Patrick Gallois. Of course, there have been many others, but I cannot name them all here. I am more attentive to what singers do in their technical and musical work. I also learn a lot during my travels around the world, including classical and other music types.
6. What is the most valuable lesson that the flute has taught you?
Flute playing has been a wonderful way to share my feelings with others. In other words, I am not trying to promote my own person through music, but I rather use the flute to communicate with others and try to inspire them.
7. What are your hobbies and/or interests outside of music?
As you know, I am a passionate traveller. I would jump on a plane any time to go to the other side of the world and discover new places. I am also a bit of an epicurian: I love good food, fine wines and nice company. In French we say I am a 'bon vivant'. I try to keep fit by swimming competitively with a team in London (as much as my travel schedule allows me to).
8. How did you come to choose Miyazawa as your flute of choice?
I met the Miyazawa team during the 2010 NFA convention in California. I was not particularly looking for a new instrument, as I was happy with my own. However, I noticed a special flute on the Miyazawa stand and then found out this was a platinum flute. Having tried it, I decided that this was exactly what I needed. It combined the qualities of my previous gold flute with a bigger range of dynamics and a superb mechanical system. We then agreed that I would have a platinum flute made for me and this is how I became a Miyazawa artist. I have just been to Tokyo to pick up my new flute and am totally delighted with my new instrument.
9. If you had one piece of advice for an upcoming flautist, what would you tell them?
Get a Miyazawa flute (LOL)! More seriously, I would tell them that on top of practicing a lot, they will need to open up to the word. So many students are trapped in their little flute world. There is so much more out there and we must be part of it. Listen to all styles of music, do other activities, broaden your horizons!