Clarinet, Curtis, and Culture with Victoria Luperi

Date Posted: February 15, 2018

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Interview conducted by Jenny Maclay

Jenny Maclay: As a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician, how is your approach different for each of these settings?

Victoria Luperi: I think of my approach as a very integrated one. Whether I find myself playing as soloist, in a chamber music group or in the orchestra, the key is to have equipment that is versatile. This allows me to play comfortably, without having to change the way I play in each setting. This is why I love playing Vandoren products.

JM: You are an active proponent for South American music – what is different (culturally or musically) between South America and the United States?

VL: It is very interesting to me to explore the South American repertoire because I was born and raised in Argentina. I am passionate about being a part of the process of discovering, preserving, expanding, and disseminating the musical legacy of the Americas. While some of this music may not be widely known, it is exciting to me to get to share it with new audiences.

JM: What is your average practice routine?

VL: My routine involves playing long tones, slow vocalization exercises, scales in all forms and shapes (3rds, 4ths, 5ths, so on), technical exercises such as Kroepsch, a few staccato studies and a few etudes. I am particularly fond of the Rode and Uhl books. Quite a bit of my time is also spent learning music that I have to perform under deadline.

JM: You studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Donald Montanaro. What made him such a great teacher? Who are your musical inspirations?

VL: Donald Montanaro is my greatest musical inspiration. He is an incredibly expressive and engaging performer – the beauty of his tone and depth of his musicality is breathtaking and immediately draws you in as a listener. As a teacher he is persistent, meticulous, patient, articulate, demanding and inspiring, as well as extremely generous with his time and knowledge. Every time I hear his performances, every time I play for him, every time I hear him speak, I learn something new!

JM: If you could meet any composer (dead or alive), who would it be and why? What pieces do you enjoy performing the most and why?

VL: Performing new music is very exciting to me, and I enjoy getting to meet and collaborate with composers. In this regard, I consider myself very fortunate in that I have been able to perform, and even premiere works by composers such as Jennifer Higdon, Behzad Ranjbaran, Richard Danielpour, Osvaldo Golijov, Kevin Puts, Peter Boyer, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Yevgeniy Sharlat, among others.

Recently, I premiered a work for clarinet and orchestra written for me by John B Hedges which is titled “Fantasía sobre Yma Sumac.” It is a terrific piece, and my favorite in all of the solo literature for the clarinet!

Next week, in Chicago, I am looking forward to performing a piece by Elbio Barilari for the Latino Music Festival. The concert will be held on Oct. 12th at Fullerton Hall, in the Art Institute of Chicago.

JM: What advice do you have for aspiring clarinetists?

VL: Pursue your passion with focus and consistency. Keeping a practice log is very useful in this regard. Listen to lots of recordings and attend live performances. Listen to your teacher. Play Vandoren products!

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