What drew you to the clarinet initially?
After having played the recorder for a few years in primary school and really taking to it, my parents suggested that I pick up another instrument. At my school both the flute and clarinet were offered. I spent a few days thinking about which I might like to choose, and ended up deciding that the clarinet would be best. I loved the rich, warm sounds that the clarinet made, and was also taken by the fact that clarinet is heavily featured across all sorts of genres – not just classical, but also in jazz, gypsy and kletzmer music, and balkan folk music!
(So much so, a few years later when I was in Macedonia with my family, I ended up getting lessons from a gypsy clarinetist, and went back every few years afterwards, learning a whole bunch of gypsy/ folk dances.)
What motivates you? Why do you want to be a musician?
One of the most exciting things for me as a musician is the powerful energy in a concert that’s shared by the audience and the performers. It’s like an electrical charge that fills the space. I love having the opportunity to communicate something to an audience, and often the greatest parts of the performance are those charged silences, when you can feel that the whole room is focused on the shared experience of the music. It’s very special for me to be a part of that experience.
What has been you’re most enjoyable experience at ANAM this year? Has it been what you’ve expected?
It’s hard to pick just one experience – I’ve had the most fantastic, full year!
For me some of the most memorable moments have been on tour. I was very lucky to perform with three outstanding visiting artists (not to mention our wonderful ANAM Faculty) over two wind chamber music tours: Thorsten Johanns, an inspiring German clarinettist who I’d previously listened to recordings of in awe; the highly analytical and very witty Ole Kristian Dahl, one of the most sought-after bassoon teachers in Europe; and I had to pinch myself when we started rehearsing the Ligeti Six Bagatelles for wind quintet, alongside Stefan Dohr, principal horn of the Berlin Philharmonic. That was a pretty starstruck moment!
That’s one of my favourite things about ANAM – performing with the professionals. You really learn an invaluable amount just from playing next to someone, and it’s nice to realise that all these musical idols of ours are approachable, interesting, inspiring people off the stage too… not to mention some cracker senses of humour!
How do things like the ANAM Concerto Competition benefit you as a musician? What do you get out of the experience (or hope to get out of it)?
The most important (and thrilling!) aspect of the ANAM Concerto Comp is that it gives young musicians the opportunity to play a concerto with a real, professional orchestra. I can’t tell you how excited I was to find out that I got through to the finals. It’s literally a dream come true to be able to perform such an intense, huge work with a live orchestra. I feel outrageously privileged to be given this opportunity!
How are you going to prepare for the Concerto Competition final with TSO?
The biggest difference in performing with an orchestra, rather than a pianist, is that suddenly all the different musical ideas are distributed to different instruments. One part of my preparation has been to thoroughly study the score to know exactly what is happening in each section of the orchestra at every moment.
Tell us a little bit about studying with ANAM’s Head of Woodwind, David Thomas.
I have absolutely loved working with David. He’s a very inspiring and supportive teacher, and is always exceptionally clear in how he explains things.
He makes you so aware of every musical decision you make, and is always paying incredible attention to detail. In particular, he has really made me always think about what else is happening in any piece that we’re working on- what is written in the score, and how does the clarinet part fit into the bigger picture of the work. I am very grateful for the wealth of knowledge that he always readily shares.
If you had to describe the clarinet to someone who had never heard of it, what would you say?
It’s kind of like the flute, except you hold it in front of you, run your fingers up and down and blow your guts out!
Three words to describe the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto, op. 57
Intense personal struggle
Magdalenna Krstevska (VIC, clarinet) along with Alex Arai-Swale (NZ, double bass) and Josephine Chung (NSW, violin) are the three ANAM Concerto Competition finalists to perform with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO) under conductor Johannes Fritzsch.
ANAM CONCERTO COMPETITION FINAL
FRI 17 NOVEMBER 7.30PM
Johannes Fritzsch conductor
Alexander Arai-Swale (NZ) double bass
Josephine Chung (NSW) violin
Magdalenna Krstevska (VIC) clarinet
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Venue Federation Concert Hall / 1 Davey St, Hobart, TASMANIA
Bookings tso.com.au / 1800 001 190