arirang TV, 12.2016
Multifaceted concert programs featuring first performances andarrangements drawn from the Lied and violin repertoire make the concerts given by Swiss flutist Philipp Jundt very special experiences. The warmth of his tone paired with his vast dynamic expressiveness has captivated audiences around the world. For the last decade Jundt has been shuttling between the continents of Asia, Europe and America. In addition to his concert and teaching activities, he has devoted himself passionately to arranging. He has thus arranged selected Lieder by Johannes Brahms for flute and piano, which appeared on a CD with the British pianist Freddy Kempf on the Sony Classical Korea label in the fall of 2016.
As a soloist Jundt has been a guest of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Camerata Zurich, Bern, Basel and Zurich Chamber Orchestras, Camerata Munich, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Slovak Sinfonietta, Chamber Orchestras of the Schleswig-Holstein and Davos Music Festivals, and in Korea with the Korea Symphony Orchestra, the Korean Chamber Orchestra and the Gyonggi-Do Philharmonic Orchestra in Seoul.
The flutist has performed under such celebrated conductors as Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Alexander Lazarev, Fabio Luisi, Zubin Mehta, Krzysztof Penderecki, Helmut Rilling, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Jeffrey Tate. He has also engaged in musical cooperation with Sir Colin Davis and Lorin Maazel.
Jundt is co-founder and artistic director of the Gonijam Music Festival. In January 2016, the festival got off to a brilliant start, with Jundt teaming up with Sir James Galway to play among other things a world premiere of a work for two flutes and orchestra by Marco Hertenstein.
The high points of the current 2016/17 season is the Gonijam Music Festival in the fall and the Gonijam Flute Festival in February 2017, which has rapidly evolved into Asia’s biggest flute festival. Jundt will also be performing as the soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of the Munich Philharmonic, the Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie in Augsburg, the Gwangjoo Symphony Orchestra, the Changwon Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bucheon Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kammerakademie Potsdam, and Seoul Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. The flutist will be working with various chamber musicians, including the clarinetist Andreas Ottensamer, the pianist Freddy Kempf and the Varian Fry Quartet of the Berliner Philharmoniker. This year, he has been appointed to the jury for the VI “Severino Gazzeloni” International Flute Competition and to the Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse de Lyon. Jundt will also be appearing at world-renowned flute festivals in China, Italy and Switzerland.
Jundt was the first solo flutist for the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, Korea’s oldest and most important radio orchestra. He has also performed with the Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Münchner Kammerorchester, and Bavarian State Orchestra.
Jundt received his first flute lessons from Doris Lüthi, Kiyoshi Kasai and Aurèle Nicolet. He studied under András Adorján in Munich and Jeanne Baxtresser in Pittsburgh and Boston. He completed his training in Munich with the distinguished Meisterklassenpodium. At the same time he studied political economy at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and Harvard University in Boston, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
Even during his studies, Jundt began forging ties with young composers. The Ergo Ensemble co-founded by Jundt has made an international name for itself with first performances, so far commissioning more than 40 new compositions and premiering them all over the world.
Jundt is a regular guest at international music festivals like the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Niagara International Chamber Music Festival (Canada), Young Artists In Concert (Davos), ADEvantgarde Festival (Munich), ConTakt Toronto, Academy of the West (Santa Barbara, CA), Kreuth Music Festival, Murten Classics (Switzerland), Ittingen Whitsun Concerts, Rheingau Musik Festival (Germany), Tongyeong Festival and the Pacific Music Festival in Japan. He performs chamber music alongside such artists as Niels Mönkemeyer, Sebastian Klinger, Freddy Kempf, Andreas Ottensamer and members of the Oliver Schnyder Trio.
In addition to his concert performances, his teaching activities have been a second focus of his career for many years. Since 2008 Jundt has held a professorship for flute at the German School of Music Weimar, a joint university faculty of the Liszt School of Music Weimar and Kangnam University in Korea. Since 2017 Jundt has also been appointed professor at the Conservatoire de Neuchatel in Switzerland. His students have won international competitions and occupy important orchestra positions around the world. Jundt is also repeatedly invited as a guest lecturer for masterclasses in Greece, Korea, Italy, New York, Mannheim, Italy, China, at the Barenboim-Said Foundation in Ramallah, Israel and at the Internationale Junge Orchesterakademie in Bayreuth.
He has been serving as the director of the Korean Flute Educators Association since 2012 and as President of the Swiss-Korean Cultural Association since 2016, which is devoted to the promotion and exchange of Korean and Swiss artists, such as in a joint production by Ballet Basel and the Seoul Ballet Theater.
He made his CD debut in 2002 with a recording of Swiss flute concertos on the British Guild label. The flutist has also been involved in many radio recordings and television productions around the world, especially for the Canadian broadcaster CBC with his Toronto-based Ergo Ensemble.
Two CD productions are on the calendar for 2017. With the pianist Galina Vracheva, Jundt has recorded his arrangement of the 24 Caprices by Niccolo Paganini for flute and piano improvisation. In the fall 2017, his solo CD will be appearing with the 12 Telemann Fantasias and the 12 contrasting Fantasies by David Philip Hefti, which are dedicated to Philipp Jundt. The flutist gave the first performance of this complex work at the Ittingen Whitsun Concerts in 2016. A new CD with works by Johann Sebastian Bach just appeared, including the triple concerto for flute, violin, piano and strings with Daniel Hope, Sebastian Knauer and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra.
Philipp Jundt plays an Albert Cooper flute.
What’s the first piece of music that you can remember?
“Erst geköpft, dann gehangen” from Entführung aus dem Serail with Matti Salminen (my mother always listened to operas while vacuuming) and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with Bruno Walter and Francescati.
What’s the first concert that you can remember?
Isaac Stern, Sonatenabend, at the Tonhalle Zurich. 7th row left. I was five years old.
Why did you choose the flute?
My first contact with the flute was Peter Lukas Graf’s recording of Mozart concerts, followed by Bach’s chamber music with Aurèle Nicolet and solo concerts with James Galway.
Were you able to assemble your instrument on the first try?
Yes, and I’m also an expert at assembling Ikea furniture.
How would you describe the sound of your flute?
She’s a diva. A rare Albert Cooper solid gold flute. Egotistical, tender, modest, erotic and luxurious. Never vulgar. She has a depth of sound that a flutist friend of mine calls the “Cooper bloom”.
How long can you hold a note?
Without practice: about 45 seconds. With practice: a bit more than a minute. That’s a lot of work for 15 seconds!
What piece scares you?
What would you be if you weren’t a musician?
A gardener or an economist.
Bach or Brahms?
If there were no Bach, then Brahms would be my favorite composer.
Do you have a motto?
I try to concentrate on the present moment.
Do you have a role model?
No, I try to blaze my own trail! But I do try to learn something from everyone I meet and to glean as much as I can from certain people: for example, Leonard Bernstein for his youthfulness, Isaac Stern for how he held his own and played for himself, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli for the color of his tone and timbre, Adam Smith for his (theoretical, at least) ability to let go, John Nash and others because they grasped that precisely this “letting go” is only possible to a limited extent within a form and structure, Michael Jackson for his love of detail and many, many others…
What does the word “home” mean to you?
Switzerland is my home. When I’m in Munich I feel at home. Without a sense of home, the distances we travel in life would be lonely.
What music are you listening to now?
At the moment I’m listening to a lot of Brahms and Handel. And the latest CD from Second Function, my younger brother’s rock band.
What’s your favorite meal?
Warm, white St. Gallen bread (at most half a day old) from Switzerland with liverwurst, lots of mustard and onions from the Pfalz, aged, ripe kimchi from Korea and a beer fresh from the tap in Munich (or even better, a good Bordeaux). Midnight snack: One cheeseburger, six Chicken McNuggets with sweet-‐sour sauce, medium fries with at least three ketchups and a Diet Coke.
Who would you like to share a meal with?
Breakfast: Eggs Benedict with Brahms. In the morning: A picnic with Bach -‐ first we’d hike through the Swiss Alps and then I’d play his flute sonata in B minor. Lunch: Organic roast chicken from Ammerzelt with Handel (Handel’s name in German is Händel, which sounds like “Hendl”, which is German for chicken …). Coffee and cake with Schubert: We’d skip Hotel Sacher and head instead to Basel to eat St. Honoré Torte. Dinner: The fish market in Seoul with Telemann. With Mozart: Drinking in Munich until the early hours.
What would you ask them?
Brahms: Why didn’t you write anything for the flute? You should have guessed that the flutists of the future would be better than the ones you were surrounded with. Bach: Would you please play your B minor sonata with me? Handel: Where’s the best steak in London? Telemann: What’s you favorite music? Your favorite style? Do you like contemporary jazz? Who is your favorite composer? Schubert: I’d play Georg Kreisler’s song “Der Musikkritiker” (The Music Critic) for him. Kreisler got in a few good jabs at him and I think Schubert would have been amused. Mozart: You really loved the flute, didn’t you? So why did you so rarely write the way you really felt? Afraid to take the plunge?
How would you ask a passerby for change to make a phone call in Switzerland/Munich/Korea?
In Switzerland I’d really let my native dialect shine through: Grüezi! Entschuldigung bitte. Ich weiss es isch e chli komisch Si eifach so uf der stross z’froge, aber mi natel (!) het kei Aku meh. Könnte sie mir vilicht a franke gäh, zum telefoniere? Das wär wirklig sehr nätt vo Ihne, danke viel moll!! In Munich I’d keep it quick, polite and formal: Entschuldigung, hätten Sie einen Euro für mich zum telefonieren? And in Korea, well - there are no payphones in Korea and I’d never ask someone on the street for money.
Finish the sentence: Music is …
… the language of the soul.
Sport is …
… a good moment to think.
A French film, Le Bonheur est dans le pré, also known as Happiness is in the Field.
You first learned to play the violin as a young boy before switching to the flute when you were 11. What was it about its sound that drew you to it?
The golden rays that emerge when the flute shimmers above all the other instruments in a large symphony orchestra—that sound moved me even as little boy and it’s captivated me ever since. My first conscious engagement with flute works were the Mozart concerts with Peter Lukas Graf, and then later Bach with Aurèle Nicolet, and then soon after that the recordings with James Galway. Completely different musicians, but all three lived in Switzerland.
You grew up in a little town between Basel and Zurich but travel is part of your everyday life now. You once said that a flight from Seoul to Frankfurt seems like a brief bus ride now. Where do you call home?
I feel at home in Munich. That’s the place where I grew up, the place where I developed the most. I’m originally from Switzerland and that’s where my family is. That’s also home for me. I need that in order to have a firm emotional foundation during all the travel and overseas engagements. When you travel to a foreign culture, your own personal perspective gets tossed overboard and shaken up. You might cling to some principles more stiffly than ever while at the same time you might find yourself letting go of others. That’s the difficult but also interesting part of travel. You learn about yourself and notice what’s really important. But I think that it’s only possible to travel so much when you also have some place to call home. It’s important for me to know where home is, to have the certainty that you can always go there. To you know where you come from, to know that you have a culture, and to know its history. Only then can you really open up to other cultures.
In the meantime you’ve really embraced the Korean culture. You speak Korean and you can even read and write Hangul (the Korean alphabet). You’ve taught at the German School of Music Weimar near Seoul since 2008. Your classes are highly sought-after. What musical backgrounds do the students have? Are they different from young German musicians?
The sporting and technical aspects are highly valued at a very young age. But the musical orientation and the feeling for various works are not yet as developed as it is for German students. As a European entering this totally foreign culture, trying to bring Western music even closer to them is an exciting challenge.
How do you express the basis of Western music to them?
During my time in Korea I’ve learned a lot about myself and about the people that I teach, about technique, and about music. When teaching you’re forced to consider the problems the students face, which are often very different from your own problems. That taught me more about music in all its facets than what I’d learned from my own teachers because you then have to deal with the works in a more precise and individual manner. That’s very valuable to me as a musician.
What kind of experiences have you had onstage in Korea? Are there differences in the approach to musical performance and interpretation compared to Europe?
Absolutely. When I perform chamber music in Europe I try to engage with the rhythm, the energy of the musicians I’m playing with, or else to determine that impulse myself. There’s a constant give-and-take. That’s also how we speak to one another in everyday life—we seek contact that’s a mix of connection and confrontation. That’s because musical understanding in Europe is based on communication. We speak with each other, we show feelings, and we address confrontations. We express that onstage, since that’s our way of life. In other cultures, especially in Asian countries like Korea, our first impression is often that musicians don’t interpret music in this way but rather that they approach it in a descriptive, representational way. But if you delve deeper into their culture, then you begin to notice that it’s in total harmony with their way of life and their way of thinking. It’s just as deep, just as honest and genuine, but the people just express themselves differently. Sometimes they keep things to themselves or they express them in another way. They don’t put everything on the table all at once. From them I’ve learned to hold back at times—not just in life but in music as well. It enriches the music, just as, in a very different way, the musical culture of the US, where the musicians have what we would consider a predilection for extreme displays of expressivity. Being able to draw on such multifaceted approaches from different countries and being able to employ them in a targeted way—that’s something I find very valuable for myself as well as for the musical culture here in Europe. I’ve learned a lot about communicating and presenting music from my students and my concert engagements.
The repertoire for the flute, especially in Romantic music, is comparatively small, which can be problematic. Schumann and Brahms, for instance, employed the flute in a range of ways in their orchestral works but they never wrote any flute concerts.
It’s a shame that many composers limited the use of the flute because it can be such a multifaceted instrument. In earlier periods the instruments they had available weren’t capable of as much as modern ones. I think that if the classical or Romantic composers had the opportunity to work with modern instruments and flutists from our era, they’d have certainly written more interesting works for the flute. If Brahms heard the flute of today, then he would certainly have written a great flute concert.
The modern concert flute has developed over the centuries from an instrument, often out of tune, with very limited dynamic possibilities, into the superior instrument we posses today. What is special about your own flute?
I had the good fortune to be able to get ahold of an Albert Cooper flute a couple of years ago. There are only nine of that particular model in existence. Albert Cooper united the French tonal tradition with precision German techniques. The result is an instrument with an incredibly broad tonal spectrum that simultaneously possesses very good intonation and mechanics. I found my voice with that flute.
What would you like to accomplish with your voice?
My greatest goal is to express with the flute what a violinist or a cellist can express with their own instruments. I’m happy to turn to music from singers, violinists and cellists in order to do so because our flute music is very limited. There’s fantastic baroque music, including Bach, there’s some classical and a great deal of contemporary music. But besides that, our flute music is often very shallow. In the Romantic period, for example, we find many virtuoso works with pretty melodies, but no depth. And so you eventually hit a limit. If you devote yourself to works by Brahms, Schumann and Schubert, where you can always go deeper, discovering new harmonic and structural details every time you pick up a piece, the sounds just keep going, let go and then just sing: that’s a grand challenge that can just push you further and further. That’s what I dream about.
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