Camilla Hoitenga – A Versatile Flutist
By Kathleen Weidenfeller, American flutist living in Finland.
Camilla Hoitenga says that if she had to use one word to sum up her career, it would be ‘interesting!’. ‘Any time I’ve tried to actually ‘plan’ part of my career, it’s never really worked out. I’ve always just followed what interested me’ she says ‘and then the teachers and opportunities just seemed to fall into place’. Following her interests has lead Camilla to work with many of the major composers of our time, collaborations with important visual artists, concerts in a wide variety of venues, and sharing her knowledge and energy with young flutists all over the world.
Camilla started playing the flute at age 8, when her family lived in Pennsylvania, but they soon moved to Michigan, and Camilla ended up changing teachers 4 times before the age of 13. She can’t help but think that this might have contributed to her openness towards new and different ideas.
It was very clear after high school that music and flute were what she wanted to study, but her parents said no to Julliard. ‘They wanted to be sure that I had a good liberal arts education. Their idea was that I probably wouldn’t go back later and study philosophy, history, etc. My mother also wanted me to have a degree in education to ‘fall back on’. Camilla said she couldn’t see herself teaching a room full of children, and didn’t think education needed someone who was ‘falling back’, so while she did attend Calvin College, she did keep flute as her major. Looking back she’s very glad about that. ‘Calvin was a good school, with good professors. I received a very good, well-rounded liberal arts education. And my parents sent me to summer music camps, like Aspen where I got to study with Albert Tipton, and keep up with what the ‘conservatory’ flute students were doing.’
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Interview with Pat Spencer
Pat Spencer: Tell us about your program: how did you choose these pieces for the NYFC
listeners? What considerations will you have as you decide on the order of
the works? Why do these pieces fit together?
Camilla Hoitenga: When I came off the stage after playing my “Savage Aural Hotbed” program at the NFA convention in Nashville last year, Jayn Rosenfeld introduced herself and various NY flutists (you were also there, Pat) to me and said (exclaimed) “we want you to play this program for the flute club in New York!”. So that was easy!
I had chosen the pieces for NFA mostly on the basis of my relationship to the pieces and composers, i.e. that that I both liked the pieces, and that they were either written for me or I had worked closely with the composer. I thought that that would be the best way of making a distinctive program in the context of all the great music presented at a convention.
PS: You have worked with some of today's most exciting composers, especially
of course Kaija Saariaho and Karlheinz Stockhausen, but also many others.
Can you tell us what you consider the biggest musical "plus" of working
closely with composers of our own time?
CH: The biggest plus is being part of the creative process, whether during the actual writing or in being the first to interpret the finished score, of being able to explore various musical languages and worlds while having “direct access” to the source.
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