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August's Featured Artist 2016

Our Featured Artist for the month is Miyazawa Artist Mihi Kim, who currently teaches at Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris "Alfred Cortot" and Issy-Les-Moulineaux.
As an international soloist in Europe and Asia, Mihi regulary teaches master classes in France and abroad. She has taught in Germany, Korea, Taiwan, Serbia, Japan, Slovenia, Italy, U.S., England and Chile. Her collaboration with the composer Regis Campo led her to produce two CDs, "Autoportraits", published by Mandala/Harmonia Mundi and a second disc on the Aeon label. She has also been a member of the Ensemble Multilaterale since 2005

We had the opportunity to ask Mihi a few questions. Check out her thoughts on preparation for major performances, balancing international travel while maintaining a local career as well as advice for upcoming flutists.



1. How do you go about preparing for a performance? What do you do months ahead of time as well as the day of the performance?


First, I try to know the background of the composer in the first place, to understand his musical language. I do so by listening to his/her work over 3 or more days, total immersion, or his/her sources of inspiration. Then I try to prepare the piece in order to do a small public performance that I record, 1 or 2 month prior to the event, to check eventual traps. I stop working on it for a couple of weeks, and than, either play it again on a video recorded performance, or concert. That’s when I am checking the memory part, if I want to perform by heart. The second experience would be at least 2 weeks before the important date.

On the same day, I treat myself, spa, chocolate, whatever I want. My body understands that it will have to do some considerable effort soon, so it makes itself ready. After performance, I need a massage, or a hot bath with essential oils, I have strong muscle aches afterwards, especially in the neck and shoulder area.


2. How do you balance your international travels with your local career? Do you find this difficult?

I used to travel a lot, but now I found a perfect compromise: projects involving travelling abroad are only set within academic vacations (we in France are lucky, we have 2 week breaks every 6 to 7 weeks of course). On the other side, I can set my projects within Europe any time, I travel the same day of the event early in the morning, and come back the next day.

It makes me play less than before, but I can choose my program entirely and be more focused on each event. I am very happy with it, my plans are quite full for 1 and a half - 2 years in advance.


3. Who or what has been your greatest influence?

Other instruments! Like violin, piano, voice, guitar… also I listen to a lot of jazz, rock, word music to discover different type of style, in melody and rhythm.

I could not accept that the flute (instrument) was doomed to be less interesting for music agencies and a larger public than violin or piano. My ideal is to get the whole palette of musical expression of a violinist or a pianist, therefore my idols are Maxim Vengerov, Shlomo Mintz, Maurizio Pollini, Nicolai Lugansky, Grigori Sokolov, and of course, Yehudi Menuhin.

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

Humility and Love.


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

Teaching: I try to think like the student and imitate his/her way of play. And then, from that point I start to work on it as I would have done. So I always need to prepare my lessons thoroughly. I usually do it right after the lesson, for preparing the next one, and take some memos.

Playing: Open yourself completely on front of the audience. Not trying to hide anything, but try to be loved by loving them in the first place.


6. What is the hardest part about being a musician? What is the best part?
 
Never being satisfied. Always getting more than expected.


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

Honesty, courage, perseverance and generosity.


8. If you could identify the moment in your life when you knew that you wanted to be a professional musician, what would that moment be?

When you are not well, and feel really sad, and when music is the only thing that can pull you through. I did not wanted to become a professional musician, I had to, I could not live without, and the bond I forged is unbreakable now.
People ask me often, when did I choose music - I would answer, the moment music choose me.


9. We are always evolving as people and as musicians. With this in mind, what is your musical vision moving forward?

I feel very glad that you ask me about music and not only about flute…! We evolved for long time in a 3 dimensional space, realized by dynamics and directions within interpretation. I guess a 4th dimension has to come up, which would be time. There will be a significant change in the way we approach rhythm.


10. Do you have any new projects in the works?

Yes, I will be performing some Concerto world premiere in several places around the world. And new projects of recording and publishing - the coming years will become a very busy period in my life.


11. What do you like best about performing?

Experience an ultimate freedom and immense love.


12. What are your interests/hobbies outside of music and/or the flute?

I like many things, and my hobbies change every 2-3 month - right now I am on sketching and reading french classical literature.
 
 

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

Since I was a fan of non-typically-flute-expressions, I was looking for a long time for a flute with a wide range of dynamics and perfect mechanism. The flute I play, Boston Classic Platinum with e-mechanism, inline G and C-foot joint, was ordered and made especially for me. The platinum gives me the dynamic range I seek for, and the mechanism lasts with no major trouble since 13 years now.
I have a silver flute for daily practicing and contemporary repertoire, with an extra B-foot joint. I would never use another brand again, I simply don’t find these 2 characters which matters to me as that high-standard than on a Miyazawa.


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

Stay humble, love music and not only flute. Learn culture. The best technique means nothing if there is nothing behind it.