It’s pretty mindblowing to think that virtuoso flautist Marina Piccinini only had her first real flute lesson at the age of 16. Even having been obsessed with classical music since the age of seven, she was only given a recorder – not that we have anything against recorders – because she was so small, and only received her first flute when she started high school. Yet after she met Jean Baxtress, a teacher at the University of Toronto, Piccinini blossomed under her studies and shot in to prominence by winning awards and securing an entry into the prestigious Julliard School by the age of 18.
Skip forward 25 years, and today, the American is now a highly acclaimed soloist having developed a distinctively sharp, energetic and raw virtuoso style. Indeed, she’s famous for her flamboyant musical edge. But she’s also previously stated that she isn’t a particular fan of extended techniques, only using embellishments when she needs to, bringing together a combination of well thought out interpretations and technical skill, which has brought her engagements with the biggest orchestras (Boston Symphony, the New York Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic, included).
These are all elements we’ll see on display when Piccinini plays 20th century French composer Ibert’s Flute Concerto with the HKPO this fortnight, a florid and lyrical work that provides her ample opportunity to show off her storytelling prowess and flex that virtuoso muscle.
Marina Piccini plays Cultural Centre on June 1-2. Tickets: 2734 9009; www.urbtix.hk.