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Performs On:

Boston Classic RH-24k Gold Flute

Artist Bio

Pierre-Yves Artaud (France)

First Prize winner for flute and First Prize winner for chamber music at the Paris Conservatoire, Pierre-Yves Artaud has played all over the world as a soloist and with ensembles such as the Trio à Cordes de Paris and Arditti Quartet. He has also performed with many world-renowned orchestras under the direction of P. Boulez, P. Eotvos, J.C. Casadesus, A. Tamayo, A. Louvier and L. Foster. He has also been part of the Ensemble 2e2m for many years both as a soloist and as Associate Artistic Director.

Professor of flute at the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique, he is the director of several collections and has compiled several teaching methods and treatises. He has organized numerous masterclasses: Taiwan, Japan (Èlisabeth University of Music in Hiroshima, Akiyoshidai festival), Korea, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Germany, and has worked on important research, notably at the Ircam in Paris where he was put in charge of the Instrumental Research Workshop un P. Boulez from 1981-1985.

As a performer, teacher and in the field of research, Pierre-Yves has played an important role in the development of the art of the flute, both in the interpretation of classical music as well as the creation of modern music with many composers writing specifically for him.

Professor Artaud was awarded the Grand Prix for interpretation of French contemporary music by the Sacem (1982), the Prix Charles Cros for the Artaud/Ferneyhough record (1983), the Grand Prix de l'Académie du Disque franç (1984), the Prix Charles Crox (1985) for the Artaud/Taïra record and the Japanese Grand Prix for the Hosokawa record. He and Takemitsu share the chairmanship of the Tokyo Franco-Japanese Festival of Contemporary Music.

Prochains Rendez-vous
Orchestre de Flûtes Français

Artist Interview

Pierre-Yves Artaud (France)

We had the opportunity to ask Pierre-Yves a few questions. Take a look at his thoughts on preparing for orchestral auditions, regular practice routines, as well as advice for upcoming flutists.

1. Orchestral positions are presently very competitive. How do you suggest preparing for a future orchestral audition both mentally and physically?

Having control mentally and physically are problems that we face daily as musicians. As musicians we are constantly working on this our entire career! The thing to be most sensitive or aware of is to understand what the orchestras are really looking for. We must know a few things: Do we compete for principal or second? What is the style of the orchestra and the musical taste of the main conductor? What are the indispensable qualities a flutist must possess in an orchestra? I would say there are three main qualities:
 1. Perfect rhythm & tempos
 2. Perfect Intonation
 3. The capacity to change every parameter of your playing in order to appease            the demands of different conductors.

In an audition, one must prove they know how to play the orchestral excerpts. However, this constitutes a big problem as the auditions are often done without an orchestra (which is paradoxal) and because we really don’t know how we should be playing them because it is always decided by the conductors! A good way to avoid this is to listen to a CD, if it exists, in the discography of the main conductor of the orchestra that is holding the audition. You can get a lot of great information on the style of the conductor this way!

2. What is your regular practice routine like?

I actually don’t have a routine! (Any more, that is.) I work on what I have to prepare at that time. The technical work that is needed after 50 years of flute playing is completely different than it is for beginners. Tone, fingerings, articulations, etc. must of course be systematically studied when we are pupils. But soon we understand that it’s impossible to separate technic and music. Technic has to be worked on with everything we play. Music that lacks technic does not exist. When a student tells me that he works on tone for 2 hours a day, I tell him - Only? Tone must be worked on with everything we play! If we play for 5 hours, we are also practicing our tone for 5 hours. How can you separate sound and music? It’s impossible!

3. What music are you currently listening to that has caught your attention?

I always prefer to be listening to something new. In our lifetime, we read the best books about 3 times, see the best movies about 3-4 times, but we listen to the same symphonies at least 100 times! Especially if the music is constantly being performed by different musicians, it is interesting to hear different interpretations. I like to discover new composers or even a new piece by a known composer. Art is discovering and should be the opposite of routine! It’s also why my main activity involves new music (even if I regularly play the main repertoire: I LOVE Mozart and the other greats, don’t worry!) New music, however, gives a lot of inspiration for the interpretation of other repertoire. More and more these days I don’t even differentiate between Mozart and Stockhausen! Stravinsky wrote that it is impossible to understand the music of the past if we don’t have the unique experience of creating new music and working with the living composers! So simple and so true!


4. What is the most valuable lesson that the flute has taught you?

Many ! Music in general, I should say. But the flute has the special history of being an instrument belonging to every culture, even the most ancient ones. The first lesson music teaches us is surely to respect every culture, musical expressions, and to celebrate the love of difference. The second lesson is the research of the truth, the original intent which may be far from the “effects” of modern day versions.  We must find the real musical expression; the result of the correct understanding of what is written. The flute is an instrument that is both tradition and modern at the same time. Many modern composers have used flute as the privileged instrument of their musical expression. It helps me to understand that the true modernity can exist only if we can deeply understand and assimilate the past. In my approach of musical understanding, practicing both modern and early repertoires helped me a lot!


5. What qualities do you think are most essential to musical excellence?

Sensibility and intelligence! It’s not very original, I know, but it’s what I think! How can you imagine a musician without sensibility? Of course it is impossible! But sensibility means everything and nothing in same time. Intelligence is an obligatory quality which can justify the sensibility as it relates to the problems of style, time, character of the composer, of the piece, etc.  So many parameters.  Sensibility alone means nothing and can justify bad taste sometimes. It’s not music without these two qualities together.


6. What do you think is the most important thing for you to emphasize in your teaching and in your own playing?

Teaching is one of the most exciting activities for an artist. It’s an exchange, a perpetual challenge, a reflection on our own playing. The difficult thing is to remember that teaching is intended to help the young students to find their own way, not to make “musical clones”. It’s easy to say “Do this like me,” but it can be challenging to understand that nobody is owner of the truth! So the respect of the others must be surely the number one quality for every teacher. I say that I have no students – just young colleagues. The only advantage a teacher has is their experience. But after all, is it really an advantage?  Not necessarily true for everything.

For performing, it is the same thing. We must be proud of ourselves, but only for coming onto the stage. After the performance has finished, we must come back to reality and strongly judge what we did if we want to have the possibility to develop. Doubt must be always present in our minds.

7. What musician has had the largest influence on your playing?

As this job is first of all for me a human adventure, the influences came from many artists as Roger Bourdin, Christian Lardé, Emmanuel Krivine, Manuel Rosenthal, Jean-Sebastien Bereau, Olivier Messiaen, André Jolivet, to mention some of them. I knew them quite well, working frequently with them, and each brought something important to my life. But maybe another musician had the strongest influence on me:

I had the luck to meet an incredible musician in the CNSMDP. Jean-Claude Pennetier, a fabulous pianist and more – a complete musician, composer, conductor, playing every kind of music – solo, chamber music, everything. New music, baroque, romantic, impressionism, no music has secrets for him. It’s probably because I performed with him for many years that I understood so many things that no teacher had explained to me before, so well anyway.

8. What are your interests/hobbies outside of music?

I have a lot of hobbies. It’s very important because art is nourished by different activities. Of course I love other arts, painting (so inspiring for the “sound colours”), poetry, literature, theater, movies. Also sports! I learned body and mental control by practicing basketball and tennis during my youth. As I love different cultures so much, you can easily imagine that I love traveling, and on this point I am exultant!

9. How did you come to choose Miyazawa as your flute of choice?

I need a dependable flute that can also play in tune. I’ve had my Miyazawa flute for 5 years now and have never had even the slightest problem with this fantastic instrument! This is so important, especially when traveling. I am so relaxed knowing that my flute can withhold the amount of traveling I do. Also the intonation is the best of any flute I have tried and it gives the flutist marvelous comfort when playing it. I can say that with this flute my biggest dream has actually come true: to be able to forget the act of playing the flute and be 100% concentrated on the music!

10. If you had one piece of advice to give an upcoming flutist, what would you tell them?

Wow! This is a difficult question... we might have the most beautiful job imaginable, but it is also the most demanding! Because of this, if you don’t have a passion for music, it is better to stop now! If we are passionate, however, we can bring so much happiness around us through our music that makes our efforts highly rewarding. Never lose patience and hope, the end result is so beautiful!

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