Interview to Juri Vallentin
Juri Vallentin has been praised as one of the most promising wind soloists of his generation and of course we could not miss the opportunity of interviewing this amazing oboist who is only 30 years old. We recommend you to read his amazing and very interesting biography here: https://www.jurivallentin.de/en/biography/
But in case you want to know more about him, keep reading 😉
- When did you start playing the oboe?
I only started playing the oboe when I was 13! Before that I did a lot of recorder, and I think that you can still hear that in my playing today …
- Why did you choose this instrument?
I think this is an interesting question for every oboist. Why does someone choose such a rare instrument that is also considered to be insanely difficult?
In my case, the truth is that when I was eight years old, I heard an oboe in a music school audition and was simply fascinated by the sound – I knew this was the instrument I wanted to play. I had to wait a very long time until a place in the oboe class was free and also a rental instrument. It finally took 5 years before I could start!
- How much time do you spend playing the oboe daily?
If you include orchestra and chamber music rehearsals in regular times, together with personal practicing, certainly a few hours a day. However, I have noticed that in the last few years active practicing has taken up less and less of my time, I am more and more occupied “at my desk” with working on projects, interpretations and concert programs!
- Is there an oboist who inspires you in a special way?
For me, Heinz Holliger is still unreached. Without him the oboe would not be what it is today. A versatile musician who has completely redefined the boundaries, and whose influence cannot be overestimated!
- We have seen you have several awards; how did it feel to be the first oboist in history winning the XVI. International Tchaikovsky Competition in St. Petersburg?
It is true that I have played many and very different competitions, and yet Tchaikovsky was a completely new experience for me: I believe that there is no other competition for oboe that has such an international reach, that attracts so many professionals and, above all, simply music fans all over the world. This is partly due to the “myth” of this great music competition, but also to the broadcast on medici tv, the largest television channel for classical music. Of course it was great to get a lot of messages from all over the world, to hear and meet so many wonderful musicians, and all that in St. Petersburg, for me one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I very much hope that this competition will remain accessible for woodwind soloists in the future.
- What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in the world of music and wants to become a professional oboist?
If you read the biographies of historic musicians, from the renaissance and baroque times, but also from the 19th century, you will often read that they did not study music alone; they often studied philosophy, mathematics, law, medicine, or other completely different subjects. Of course, times are different today, but still I believe we should take a slice of it. Music is a phenomenon that is directly linked to our environment and society. That’s why I advise you: Keep your eyes open, try to understand what is behind the music, where it comes from and where it is going. Then you will make your way. And of course: Always be very cautious when making reeds 🙂
- We have to tell you, we love your pictures in Instagram, especially those related to the oboe and the music. Do you spend a lot of time creating this content? Do you find useful this social network?
In fact, I very rarely create material directly for Instagram, I always try to use material I have collected throughout career. Instagram is a great place to connect with a lot of people around the world, to share and see how they work. It’s very exciting! I am happy that you liked my account!
- Of all your achievements, which one makes you feel proudest?
Impossible to give a firm answer to that! For me, a career as a musician is like a big puzzle in which every infinitely small piece counts.
- Your web is very interesting too, we love it and we have noticed that you have a blog as well. What do you usually publish in this blog?
I started this blog to accompany the release of my debut album BRIDGES. At that time I did a lot of research on the different pieces and offered a very well thought-out dramaturgy with some very rarely heard music. I wanted to show that, far away from the established repertoire, there are insanely exciting areas to be discovered. And what there is to discover, I write in my blog 🙂
- Anything you want to share with Medina Reeds readers?
All of us musicians are not going through an easy time right now. And it doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or a professional, teacher or student, young or old. Use the time to work on projects you thought you would never have the time to realize, build castles in the air – it’s worth it!
Thank you so, so very much Juri, it has been a pleasure to get to know a bit more about you. Danke!
Discover more featured oboists here.