Can you give us 5 career highlights?
I love performing SO much and I have had so many extraordinary experiences in my career that it’s difficult to narrow down to 5 but here goes!:
-Playing as a soloist in the breathtakingly beautiful La Sainte Chapelle Paris (a yearly event for me)
-Completing my film An Australian In Paris (Homage to French Flute); having it so well received by Claude Bolling, Raymond Guiot, Madame Jean-Pierre Rampal, Madame Alain Marion & my French flute colleagues.
-Performing at The Sydney Opera house 50th Anniversay Joan Sutherland /Richard Bonynge tribute (I was the only instrumentalist to be included as a soloist with many great international opera singers. This was a gratifying endorsement of my philosophy: the flute is a ‘voice’, of being a bel-canto flute player.
-Receiving a Peoples’ Choice TV Award
-Equal thrills: Recording Mozart Concerti with Maestro Richard Bonynge( who as a conductor has to be one of the best accompanists in the world! He constantly handed me the musical places which were exactly where I wanted to be); Playing at The Blue Note NYC with The Manhattan Transfer; performing the role of Titania in a rainforest production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare (surrounded by 20 young ‘fairies’ all singing my incidental music to the play); receiving a standing ovation from 10,000 strong audience at the Leeuwin Estate concert (in which I shared the bill with Michael Crawford).
What do you like best about performing?
I love the quiet atmosphere backstage; I love the cocooned feeling of being in the spotlight; the sense of concentration and quiet from the audience; the fact that time stands still during a great performance; that we are all (the performer and the audience) on a musical journey together; the sense of belonging; the sublime darkness of the hall; the joy when I feel that the sound of my flute and my musical message is landing in the hearts of the audience-that my sound is a musical embrace for all in the audience.
I hope I understand the question correctly!
I have recorded some 21 solo CDs (see my discography on my website).
The most exciting recent release for me (and a slight departure from a normal CD recording was the film An Australian In Paris, which I directed, produced, wrote, arranged the music and starred in.(Soon to be available for sale on Amazon, this DVD is available via my website).
I have two or three albums which are nearly complete:
1 entirely solo album of French Flute music
2 An album of Gershwin arranged for flute and piano
3 A follow up album to my album Flute Spirit (all improvised music on classical and world flutes)
I feel compelled to say that the recording industry has changed so much and it remains to be seen – with the event of Spotify and the like-whether the old format of CDs will endure for musicians. Perhaps there emerge a newly valuable formula… Recorded music these days is treated the way we treat electricity: ie something that is easily ‘free’ & accessible.
A high-quality recording still costs several thousand dollars to make, master and produce, yet because of free downloads, the returns can be so minimal. Along with many of my colleagues, part-way through recordings, I am waiting to find out whether the recording is destined to be a mere promotional tool, or something which will contribute financially to my professional career and financially at least recoup the expense. I love the recording process and I still intend to continue recording and complete the above albums but there is a definite ‘holding pattern’ going on!)
What does your schedule look like for the next 6 months?
I have been incredibly busy for the last four years and I hope to take some time off to enjoy getting used to my new Haynes flute! I will be touring and curating my own concert series in Sydney. In the process of locking in performances in Europe- and hope to be able to perform and give Masterclasses in United States in the next 12 months. I also plan to release an on-line flute-teaching method in the near future, and will spend time working on this. A huge highlight will be performing and attending Flutes by the Sea in Bali (one of my favourite places in the world)in March 2016.
In your career, what has been your greatest challenge?
I have had two great challenges:
One: a very bad car accident (in which I was in a coma for as short while and had fractured ribs). The aftermath meant that even though I recovered quite quickly, it took close to a year of rehabilitation as a flute player. I thank my lucky stars that I had been shown all the tools of the French flute school (with its impeccable technique and fool-proof methods of training) so that I was able to put myself into a kind of flute bootcamp and get back in shape as a player.
Another major challenge is: Although I am a musician of high standards, impeccable training and of high quality,
I am also (not unlike like Viviana Guzman) a ‘musician of the people’
This has enhanced my career: I reach a larger audience. However the challenge is that I am perceived as a popular musician, and thisperhaps sometimes works against one. Those who inhabit what is termed: the straight classical world are perhaps sometimes not as welcoming as one would like! In France we carry in the culture a notion of traverser la barriere (crossing the musical barrier). As Francis Poulenc said Je suis un musicien sans etiquette (I am a musician without boundaries). In France the flute is viewed as a voice so it’s less of a problem there.
What has been your greatest joy?
A great gift I learned from my two teachers, Alain Marion and Jean- Pierre Rampal, was the immediacy of joy in the sound. So I can honestly say that my greatest joy is being a flute player- one whose desire for creative self expression is absolutely satiated through my own flute playing.
This is not about ego-it’s about a sense of being completely connected on four levels when playing ( emotional, spiritual, intellectual and physical) It’s about spontaneity, about satisfaction in having the technique with which to fully express oneself through the sound of the instrument. I am by nature a joyful communicator and thanks to my French flute teachers the best voice I have is my flute!