A concert interview with soloist
"Ibert designed the concerto like a virtuosic playground... with lightning-fast fingering and technique. Listening to the concerto is an exhilarating experience for both the performer and the audience!" — Ann Kuo
Ann Kuo, 22, studies at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, CA, with Jim Walker. Kuo has performed around the globe at venues in Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Japan. Last summer, she programmed a charity recital in Taiwan called “Sound of Home”, for which she commissioned a new work by a Taiwanese composer and donated proceeds to youth service organizations in Taiwan.
Ann Kuo will perform a solo recital of flute repertoire on Friday, April 5, at 7:30 PM at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden. Kuo performs her winning concerto repertoire, Jacques Ibert's Flute Concerto, with Jefferson Symphony and conductor Arturo González at the Season 71 Young Artists concert on April 7, 2024, at 3:00 p.m., at the Green Center in Golden.
Jefferson Symphony asked flutist Ann Kuo some questions about her upcoming performance with JSO and why life is better with music.
JSO: What is 1 reason (or more) why life is better with music?
Ann Kuo: "Life is definitely better with music. Music has been a faithful companion that accompanies all the stages of my life. In moments of joy, it dances and sings, and in moments of sorrow, it empathizes with our voice. Music is a constant presence that never betrays; it stands by us in the highs and lows and it is always on our side. Its ability to resonate with our deepest feelings makes the journey of life more rich and meaningful."
JSO: What are 2 moments audiences should anticipate when listening live to your performance of Jacques Ibert's Flute Concerto?
Ann Kuo: "The beginning of this concerto is like hitting the “go” button on a roller coaster that immediately drops the car from the highest point. The music brings the audience a thrilling journey that descends with negative g-forces and sets the excitement for an adventure filled with exquisite harmonies and intricate melodies.
"In the heart of the second movement, the concertmaster solo engages in a soulful dialogue with the solo flute. It's a musical conversation that transcends time, like narrating a nostalgic story from long ago full of memories and emotions. The delicate interplay between violin and flute becomes a heart-to-heart conversation that leaves lasting echoes on the listener's soul."
JSO: Share 3 words that describe the flute concerto you're performing with the Jefferson Symphony."
Ann Kuo: "Intricate, illustrative, Incessant."
Ann Kuo won our 2024 Young Artist Competition in January and will return to Colorado in April. Her grand prize includes $5,000, a solo recital, and our invitation to perform with the Jefferson Symphony.
JSO: Trivia time... what are some facts about your instrument?
Ann Kuo: "The flute is the instrument that uses the most air of all the wind and brass instruments—including the tuba! And 70% of the air we blow doesn’t even go into the flute.
"The flute is considered a woodwind instrument, despite being made of metal and even though it is the only woodwind instrument that doesn’t use a reed."
JSO Why is the piece you're performing unlike any other?
Ann Kuo: "The Ibert Concerto stands apart from others by exploring the flute's vast range. It goes beyond showcasing the flute's beautiful tone and high soprano voice.
"Ibert designed the concerto like a virtuosic playground that pushed the boundaries of the flute's capabilities with lightning-fast fingering and technique. This dynamic range of expression highlights the flute's grace and lyricism while displaying its flexibility and virtuosity. Listening to the concerto is an exhilarating experience for both the performer and the audience.
JSO: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us, or with our symphony audiences?
Ann Kuo: "I'm very looking forward to working with Jefferson Symphony Orchestra. Let's enjoy the happiness of making music together and create memorable moments in the hearts of our audience!"
Listen and Explore
Bach: Flute Sonata in E major, BWV 1035 – 1st and 2nd Mov.
Ann Kuo, flute
Mozart: Overture of The Marriage of Figaro for flute quartet.
All parts recorded and performed by Ann Kuo.