CCFQ in La Gaceta

For our performance in Septiembre Musical de Tucumán 2020, we were interviewed by Argentinian newspaper La Gaceta. Read our full interview (in Spanish): here.

For our English readers, here is the English version of our interview:

From Amsterdam comes beautiful wind music

Canal City Flute Quartet presents itself online on the escenario international (international scene) today, at 20h on Channel 10 and on the networks of Ente Cultural.

Amsterdam, the emblematic city of the Netherlands, is approaching today with online flute music in the “international scene” of the 60th Septiembre Musical.

Canal City Flute Quartet (CCFQ), the flute quartet consisting of Mirna Ackers, Ema Bajc, Rama Kumaran and Alexandre Tkaboca, appears at 20h on Channel 10 and on the networks of Ente Cultural.

Via email, the musicians revealed to LA GACETA that, while the group name is a tribute to the city of canals, they come from France, Slovenia, America, and the Netherlands. They know eachother because they studied together with extraordinaire flutist Kersten McCall (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra) at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Since 2019, their goal is to expand the flute ensemble repertoire and bring chamber music for flute ensembles closer to the audience. In addition to the traditional flute quartet repertoire, CCFQ writes programs for children, arrangements of well-known and lesser-known pieces, and original compositions. And that they don’t have a conductor: “actually, we’re a democracy! We each use our respective strengths to keep the group moving forward.”

– Are the four instruments you play technically similar?

– We play C flutes from Japan (Muramatsu), and America (Brannen Cooper). But we’re often playing every member of the flute family, from the tiny little piccolo to the big husky double contra, and lots of other cultural flutes besides (tinwhistle, traverso, bansuri, and more).

– During the covid-19  quarantine, you played online. How hard it was to play together in this format?  

– Since our group was so new then, we were ready and eager for the challenge. It was surprisingly easy, after we found the right workflow.

– What are the pros and cons of playing music on line?

– The visuals are always an adventure, since you can record the nice clean audio first and the fun flashy video after. We replace live rehearsals with videochat “talk-throughs,” which took some getting used to. 

– What can you tell me about the streaming shows with music in scene playing together without public?

– It is really weird to play our pieces without an actual audience. Normally, an important part of playing is communicating with the audience, and it is so rewarding to get applause after a piece! Luckily, the audience still communicates with us on social media after our performance is live streamed.

– How long have you been isolated without playing together because of covid-19 quarantine?

– We had to stay apart for four months, during which time we released several videos. We got back together after that to rehearse again together, and play two concerts in Amsterdam’s Grachtenfestival.

– How have you felt when you could play live again?

– It felt like a miracle! It felt like homecoming, after being separated for so long in France, Slovenia, Switzerland and the Netherlands. We rehearse in the beautiful Waalse Kerk in Amsterdam (featured in our Septiembre Musical video). You can only imagine the joy we get from entering that space as a quartet and playing beautiful music. Playing for a real audience felt really nice.

– What repertoire do you usually play?

– We can play orchestral classics, like Pietro Mascagni and Felix Mendelssohn’s Scherzo; chamber music of Franz Schubert and Ludwig van Beethoven, and new compositions from Rama and other real live composers.

– What program will you play on line for the September Musical?

– Our program begins with Ástor Piazzolla’s “Libertango,” then we play Rama’s piece “Glimmering,” and finally the intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana” from Pietro Mascagni.

–  How do you invite to the public of Tucumán to your show?

– It’s an honor to perform in the 60th Septiembre Musical! We can’t wait to see you in 2021 in person. We hope that the public of Tucuman will enjoy our music as much as we are enjoying playing it.

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