Welcome to a new interview! Today I bring you a new young flutist who has already succeed on big competitions and who is already working in one of the most prestigious orchestras in Europe.

He is the russian Matvey Demin, coprincipal solo flutist in the Tonhalle Orchester in Zurich (Switzerland) and first prize winner in the Tchaikovsky Competition on the woodwind category in 2019.

He has won also other prizes and plays as a soloist with different orchestras, it’s a good thing he was born in 1993!

A top flutist who I recommend you to listen, and of course, read this interview where he tells very interesting things. I hope you like it!

  • How did you begin in music?

I come from a musical family. For instance, my mother teaches piano in a music school, my father is not a musician but loves music very much, and my grandmother used to teach all wind instruments in the same music school as my mother. You’ll think it’s impossible to teach every wind instrument (flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone etc.), but in a small town in Siberia, in Russia, it was possible. For the town where I come from, it was a usual thing. So, naturally I became a student of my grandmother when I was 9 years old. The music school got a new flute from Japan (it was Yamaha 211) – and my grandmother gave it to me to try. And I loved it ever since.

  • What’s the most curious thing that has happened to you in your career as a musician?

For me its a couple of things: first would be moving from Siberia to Germany alone when I was 16 years old to study with Prof. Andrea Lieberknecht; and then the most bright moment of course is winning the Tchaikovsky competition. 

  • You were the first woodwind winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition. First of all, congrats! What does that mean for you?

Thank you very much, dear Juan! As a young musician I had followed every edition of Tchaikovsky competition. And I always thought to myself – I wish I would be a pianist or violinist or a cellist, just to take part in this competition. So when I saw the opening of a woodwind section I was really excited to take chance to be a part of this competition. Being the first prize winner of this category was truly a dream come true. 

  • Now you are working in Zürich. How did you join the Tonhalle Orchestra?

I think it was my 3rd professional audition. It is a very complicated process sometimes.. You have to have some sort of experience (youth orchestras can help a lot) to get admitted to the audition in Europe. I came to Zurich on the night of audition from Russia, and I remember that I was very tired and jet-lagged. It was 4 rounds overall, where the first round was held behind a curtain. On that day I have only thought about how to give my best, which you should do in every audition. And in the end, I got the position, which I’m very happy to have.

  • You know that is really difficult to get a job in an orchestra. What can you recommend to all the flutists that are trying to get a job?

It is indeed difficult. But my advise would be – start to play auditions as early as you can. Prepare them well from beginning to the end. Maybe the best option would be to gain experience in youth orchestras or orchestra academies first. And then comes a very important part, which is to stay consistent and not to get disappointed if it doesn’t work out the first time.

  • Do you think that the orchestra or teaching are the only career opportunities for flutists?

Yes and no. In our time it is very difficult to be an international wind soloist. Even being a renowned wind soloist means that you have to have a stable job (whether it’s teaching or playing in an orchestra). But in my opinion there are still few other options – you can play chamber music (for example in a wind quintet). 

  • How do you see the current musical outlook?

All of us musicians are struggling right now because of the pandemic. Concert cancellations even for months ahead are, unfortunately, a usual thing… But there is still hope for the best as we’ve seen – some orchestras (mine as well) already started to play concerts for smaller amount of audience. That gave me the felling that at some point we are going back to normal. For me, the whole lockdown situation was a chance to have a bit of a break and gather new strength, ideas and repertoire for the future. 

  • I have a question from a reader. @patri_music asks: Which flute teachers or music universities do you recommend in Europe?

I have done all my studies only with Prof. Andrea Lieberknecht. She is a fantastic teacher and player. Also the conservatory in Munich, where she teaches, is an excellent university. And of course in Europe there are many great teachers (all with different approach and taste) almost in every country. Most importantly I would advise is the following – you can try to take part in master-class with the teacher you like, and then see for yourself if that works for you.

  • And finally, some advice for our readers.

Listen to a lot of music of all kinds (symphonic, flute music and chamber music… maybe even something totally different) to build a musical taste of your own. And of course, practice well, because the old saying «practice makes perfect» is true. Also, for everyone, stay hopeful and positive. Only like this we can overcome the current crisis and make beautiful music all together again!

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