Articles

Nicolet Flute Competition – Beijing, 2010

– Event Review –

by Janet Webb

(Originally published by The NSW Flute Society Blog in September 2010 and published on Flute Tutor Australia at the request of the NSW Flute Society in February 2014)

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The Venue

Concert Hall, China Conservatory, Beijing

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The Repertoire

Preselection

a) JS. Bach – Corrente & Sarabande from Paritita in a-minor for solo flute

b) N. Paganini – Capriccio No. 4 from 24 Capriccios

First Round

1) H. Holliger – écrit for solo flute (Schott edition)

2) A.Honegger – Danse de la Chèvre for solo flute

3) One of the following:

a) F. Kuhlau – Ariette con variazioni from Fantasy in D-major op.38

b) F. Kuhlau – Romanza con variazioni from Fantasy in C-major op.38

Second Round

1) R.Schumann – Romance no. 2 from Three Romances op.94

2) One of the following:

a) A. Roussel – Joueurs de Flûte

b) A. Caplet – Rêverie et Petite Valse

c) C. Debussy – Prélude à l’après-midi d’un Faune

d) Ph. Gaubert – Ballade

3) One of the following solo works:

a) G. Benjamin – Flight

b) T. Hosokawa – Sen 1

c) B. Ferneyhough – Cassandra’s Dream Song

d) F. Donatoni – Nidi (piccolo)

e) X. Dayer – To the Sea (flûte alto)

f) I. Fedele – Donax

4) Chinese piece (composed for the competition)

Third Round

1) One of the following:

a) P. Boulez – Sonatine for flute & piano

b) I. Yun – Garak for flute & piano

2) JS. Bach Corrente & Sarabande from Partita in a-minor for solo flute

3) One of the following:

a) F. Schubert – Sonata in a-minor for flute & piano (Arpeggione)

b) G. Pierné – Sonate for flute & piano

c) Ch.M. Widor – Suite for flute & piano

d) Th. Boehm – Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Schubert for flute & piano

Final

1) W.A. Mozart – Quartet in C-major KV 285b for flute and string trio

2) J. Andersen – Konzertstuck Nr. 1, op.3 for flute & orchestra

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IT WAS AN HONOUR to be invited to be a jury member for the Nicolet Flute Competition held in Beijing this April.

As the volcanic ash cleared from the skies, the 11 jurors (all from different countries) arrived, as did the 52 contestants. The jury included esteemed colleagues such as Felix Renggli, Andrea Lieberknecht, Phillipe Bernold, Petri Alenko, Hiroaki Kanda and Clara Novakova.

We all got on famously. Of course, we had differing opinions at times – but secret ballot, and no discussion, meant we kept our own convictions. We were all very happy with the final outcome.

My first job was to learn the huge amount of difficult music that the competitors had to prepare. With four rounds, including chamber music and a concerto with orchestra, the competitors had to learn 11 pieces, and with all of the possible choices, I had 25 to learn!

The competition lasted 10 days. For 8 to 9 hours of each day, we marvelled at some amazing performances. To name a few highlights: JS Bach’s flute works, the Boulez Sonatine (on half an hour rehearsal with the pianist), a Chinese piece composed especially for the competition, the Mozart flute quartets and a concerto by Andersen.

We all remarked at the high standard of the competitors. I am very proud to say that our two Australian competitors did very well. Lina Andonovska made it to the final 22 competitiors, and Jessica Gu won 5th place – and a reasonable amount of money! The winner was Argentinian, 2nd – German, equal 3rd – Japanese and Chinese, 4th – Japanese and 5th – Australian! All of these players were great musicians, as well as being good flautists. Every competitor said they enjoyed preparing for the competition and meeting, hearing, and being inspired by fellow competitors. Overall, the competitors felt it was a very worthwhile experience.

It was equally interesting to hear different styles of playing in the juror’s final concert. Yes – we had to play too!!!! I even heard one of them say, “I can’t wait to get back to the hotel to try some new ideas I heard today!”

But, it wasn’t all hard work for the jurors. Every night was a different, amazing dining experience. I had no idea there were so many different types of Chinese food! At lunch times, we enjoyed noodles made by hand in front of us – all for AUD $1.30 a bowl! It was great to experience the city of Beijing.

Back on a flute note, I hope to see more of our very talented flautists in the next Nicolet Flute Competition in 2013. Start practising!

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About the Author

Janet WebbJANET WEBB has occupied the Principal Flute chair of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra since 1985. Throughout her distinguished 25 year career , she has received high praise from conductors as notable as Maazel, Dutoit, Jansons, Jarvi, Robertson, Nezet-Seguin, van Sweedan and of course Maestro Ashkenazy. This was preceded by the Principal Flute position in the Singapore Symphony  Orchestra in 1980 at the age of 21.

She holds an Arts/ Music degree from the Canberra School of Music. Studies with Andras Adorjan in France followed.

Janet has performed numerous concertos with the Sydney and Singapore Symphonies, as well as other orchestras. These range from CPE Bach to Honegger and include a performance of Bach’s 4th Brandenburg concerto for 2 flutes with James Galway. Her solo recitals, chamber music performances and masterclasses across Australia have been widely acclaimed.

Janet has appeared as guest principal with most of Australia’s premier orchestras. She is regularly heard on radio both in solo performances and with the Sydney Symphony and on their numerous recordings released regularly.

Her solo CD -“‘Tango and All That Jazz”, features a number of works composed for Janet and her accompanist, Jocelyn Edey-Fazonne, by Australian composer, Andy Firth. They enjoy collaborating with composers on their compositions.

Janet has taught in many institutions including the Singapore, Sydney and NSW Universities and Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

As an inaugural tutor at the annual Australian International Summer Orchestra Institute she has played an important role in shaping the course and working with aspiring orchestral musicians over the last three years.

Janet is a Powell Flute Master.

 

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