One of the finest flutists to emerge from a celebrated group of Italian virtuosi this past decade, Enrico Sartori has been establishing himself in the American musical scene. At the beginning of the 2009 season, Mr. Sartori made his Carnegie Hall debut as a winner of the Artist International Competition. His stunning performance at Weill Recital Hall received an unanimous standing ovation.
He maintains an intense concert schedule as a soloist in Europe and the US. He has appeared as a concerto soloist with many orchestras including Orchestra Sinfonica della Valle D’Aosta (Italy), Chamber Orchestra Dumitrescu (Romania), Maribor’s Festival Orchestra (Slovenia), and the Wayne Chamber Orchestra (USA) just to name a few. He is the winner of many national and international competitions such as the XIV Franz Schubert International Competition, the Genova International Competition, the Festival Mid-South and the New York Flute Club competition. In 2010 he won the first prize and the grand prize at the Alexander & Buono International Flute Competition.
As an orchestral player, in 2010 he played as assistant principal at the BBC National Orchestra in Cardiff, England. In 2009 he was principal flute with the New York Chamber Players and flutist with the Key West Symphony Orchestra (Florida). In 2003 he was principal flute at the Academy of the Teatro alla Scala of Milan (Italy) under the direction of Riccardo Muti. From 2001 to 2003 he was principal flute of the Turin Youth Orchestra and the Symphonic Orchestra of Piemonte (Italy). Also an avid chamber musician in 2004 he was member of the Norfolk Contemporary Ensemble and during summer 2005 he toured the Netherlands playing seven concerts with his flute, cello and piano trio. In the season 2007 – 2008 he became principal flute of the wind ensemble Campo Aperto, which was invited for several concerts in Mexico in Summer 2008.
He released his first solo CD in 2002 for bm records. Enrico Sartori collaborated with many recording artists for the production of several CDs. In 2005 he collaborated with Naxos for the release of the Charles Ives Songs Cd.
Active as a teacher, he taught at Yale University, SUNY – Stony Brook and University of Nebraska. He has held several flute master-classes over the summer; in Maribor, Slovenia during the international musical festival Musical Summer in Maribor (2006) and at the Consevartorio of Morelia, Mexico (2008).
Enrico Sartori earned his doctorate at SUNY Stony Brook (2011), his master degree at Yale University (2005) and his bachelor’s degree at the Conservatorio G, Verdi of Turin (Italy) in 2001 with full honors. He was awarded the Berrino Prize as best performer and until 2007 he was awarded a scholarship fro the De Sono – Music Association financed by the Praemium Imperiale Grant for Young Artist (Japan). In 2007 – 2008 he has been the recipient of the Hixson-Lied Fellowship in Music, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His major flute teachers were Carol Wincenc, Ransom Wilson, John Bailey, Emmanuel Pahud, Peter Lukas Graf, Maxance Larrieu, Bruno Cavallo and Antonmario Semolini.
Also an accomplished conductor, since 2009 Dr. Sartori he is the principal conductor of Musica d’Insieme, a string orchestra based in Long Island, NY and he is frequently invited as a guest conductor of several European and American orchestras. His past conducting positions have included principal conductor of the Arturo Michelangeli Youth Orchestra and Choir in Turin, Italy for the season 2001 – 2002 and his four times guest conducting appearances with the Stony Brook University Orchestra.
Enrico SartoriWe had the opportunity to ask Enrico a few questions. Check out his thoughts on preparation tips for competitions, advice for flutists interested in the orchestral path as well as advice for upcoming flutists.
1. What does a typical practice session for you look like? How do you maximize your practice time with your busy schedule?
No matter how busy my schedule is I always try to play at least one hour a day. As Paganini used to say: “If you don’t practice one day, I know it. If you don’t practice two days, the audience knows it."
When I have only have one hour, rather than working on different pieces, I’d like to work on pure technique. I made a personal schedule, which incorporates different exercise / method books, that allows me to work on the different aspects of the flute technique: articulations, breathing, speed, sound, dynamics and trills. To give a practical example I will give you today’s schedule:
Long notes 10 minutes
Scales and arpeggios, 15 minutes (either Taffanel and Gaubert or Reichert)
Staccato: simple, double and triple, for about 12 minutes
Personal exercises on dynamics and trills 10 minutes
Sometimes I also like to work on little and simple melodies that I will transpose in all the different octaves and with different dynamics / colors.
A great exercise book that I recommend to all the flute players is Check Up, by Peter Lukas Graf. With 50 minutes a day you are able to work on all the different technical aspects of the flute. Only after I am done with the technical part I will work on the repertoire pieces that I have to perform. Of course there are always exceptions to this rule…
A great method to maximize your practice time is to take small breaks. I generally take a 10 minutes break every 40-50 minutes of practice. It is good for the concentration, and of course while I practice no cell phone, chats or facebook distractions.
2. You have competed in and won many competitions, what preparation tips can you give to others? How do you conquer nerves?
When I have a big competition I try to learn the entire program as soon as possible. Then, once learned, I don’t practice it for a while and I go back to it 3-4 weeks before the competition. This is what works for me. I noticed that if I keep practicing the same program for months and months I get bored and my level is going down. Of course the flute preparation is not all. To overcome the nerves and the anxiety of playing, I prepare myself both physically and mentally. Running is a great exercise; I would say any aerobic exercise is good because strengthen the lungs and the heart and it improves your breathing. As far as the relaxation part, Yoga, Tai Chi or concentration exercises are also very useful. Also a healthy and equilibrate diet helps to give you the energy and the concentration you need.
3. How did you become interested in conducting and what has your experience been with it?
It started almost by chance. The conductor of the youth orchestra where I used to play quit. Since it happened in the middle of the season they needed a replacement as soon as possible. At that time I just got my bachelor’s degree from the Conservatorio G. Verdi in Turin, when the president of that orchestra called me up and offered me a job as a conductor. It was a great experience. Then I took conducting classes at Yale University and I was accepted into the two years conducting program in Milan.
I was always fascinated by the sound of a symphonic orchestra or opera pit orchestra. I feel that since Bach, great composers gave their best with their symphonic and operatic works. I like to conduct because I love to perform these great works. I feel that the orchestra is like a big and wonderful instrument with an endless variety of sounds, colors and nuances. My dream is to become an opera conductor one day.
4. What upcoming performances do you have that you are currently looking forward to?
I have a few performances scheduled in Italy with a pianist who is an old friend of mine. We are preparing a program called “The Flute and Mythology”. We are going to play all those pieces that have a Mythological story behind them, like Undine by Reinecke, Jolivet’s Chant de Linos and La Flute the Pan by Mouquet. Over the summer I am also trying to organize a performance in Seoul, South Korea.
5. As a seasoned orchestral musician, what advice do you have for flutists who are interested in following this path?
As a conductor and flute player I would say that the most common problem among orchestral flute players is the intonation. It is also an acoustical fact: being out of tune is more noticeable in the higher voices than the lower ones. To overcome this problem the tuner needs to become your best friend. Being an orchestral player is more about precision than everything else. My recommendation for flute players who want to follow this path is to apply for an orchestral academy. The amount of time spent in the school’s orchestra, both in America and in Europe, it is not enough if you would like to pursue a career as an orchestral player. I was very lucky because I had the opportunity to do two orchestral academies, the first one when I was 19 with the RAI, Italian broadcast National orchestra and the second one when I was 20 at the Teatro alla Scala of Milan under the baton of Riccardo Muti. They were both invaluable experiences because every day I had the chance of playing in the orchestra, plus there were two different full programs to perform every month.
6. What musician(s) has had the largest influence on your playing?
My list is very long. All my teachers were very important for me and helped me to become a better player. A special thanks goes to Antonmario Semolini, my teacher in Italy, who influenced me with both his teaching and his conducting and Bruno Cavallo who helped me with all the orchestral excerpts and gave me great ideas. I also thank Peter Lukas Graf for his help on interpretation and Maxence Larrieux for his help on the flute French repertoire. In the United States, Ransom Wilson, John Bailey and Carol Wincenc were really of a great help for me especially for XX century and contemporary repertoire.
Also audio recordings had and have a big influence on my playing. I have many CDs at home by Rampal, Gazzelloni and James Galway who I had the chance to meet very recently. I also really enjoy listening to Emanuel Pahud, and I think his CD Paris is really a “must have” for all the flute players. But most of my musical inspirations are from non-flutists. I frequently listen to the pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, the guitarist Andres Segovia or the violinists Leonid Kogan and David Oistrakh. But I am also very fascinated by conductors like Claudio Abbado or jazz musicians like Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
7. Do you have any new projects/cds in the works?
Right now I am working on two different projects. The first one is trying to create and present a program for solo flute in several venues in Italy. The program will include mainly XXth century composition from all over the world, like Voice by Takemitzu, Berio’s Sequenza, Sori by Isang Yun…. But I would also like to incorporate flute pieces that require the use of a tape like Vermont Counterpoint. The second project is the release of a CD that will include only works written by Italian composers for flute and piano.
8. What are your interests/hobbies outside of music?
I really like to read. Generally historic novels or thrillers are my favorites. Right now I am reading the Queen of Freedom trilogy by Christian Jacq, an Egyptologist who writes historical novels. I also like to play tennis, and since I was born and raised in Turin, Italy, by the Alps Mountains, I go ski in the winter.
9. If you had one piece of advice to give an upcoming flutist, what would you tell them?
Try to attend as many concerts as possible and travel to get different prospectives. Of course, what is really important especially for the young flute players is having the right teacher. There is not a golden rule for that because every person is different, so the same teacher might work very well for one person, but not so well for another. Going to master classes, summer courses and take lessons with different teachers certainly helps to find the right teacher for you, plus everyone always has something new and interesting to teach.
And of course, always try new things. Practice and never get discouraged even after failing. While reading a book written by the conductor Diane Wittry I came across the following passage:
Nothing in the world can take place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful individuals with talents.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
(Ray A. Kroc).
10. How did you come to choose Miyazawa as your flute of choice?
I used to say: “the flute it is just a tube so it doesn’t matter” but when I started shopping for a professional flute I realized that wasn’t quite the case. I play a 14k all Gold Miyazawa flute. The sound is really dark and powerful plus it travels and that it is really a very important quality for a flute. Especially as an orchestral player, when you play in very big halls, like the Konzerthouse in Berlin that sits 2000 people, you want your pianissimo sound to travel and be heard also by the people sitting in the last row.
Another plus is the Brögger Mechanism: it is so precise and fast that I almost don’t need to practice. Unlike the Brannen’s Brögger, the Miyazawa version has also registration springs for every key that allow you to save lot of money and time if you need a fast and easy fix on a key that is not closing too well.
And last and not least, the people who work at the Miyazawa are friendly and truly nice people, and it is always a pleasure to see them.