Senior recital is a crowning moment in any Oberlin student's conservatory career. We talked to Hannah Hammel about her recital experience.
Could you describe your recital?
In a way, my senior recital felt like the culmination of my four years at Oberlin. I played four pieces: Philippe Hurel’s Loops for solo flute, Philippe Gaubert’s Romance for Flute and Piano, J.S. Bach’s Partita in A Minor for solo flute, and Lowell Liebermann’s Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 23. For the two pieces with piano, my best friends Rachael [Shapiro] and Marika [Yasuda] accompanied me. I was excited to share the stage with them because they have been so important to me as friends and have inspired me musically. I will be performing in Kulas Recital Hall, which is the place I heard my first Oberlin concert.
What’s the most challenging decision you had to make in planning your recital?
Planning my recital repertoire was actually surprisingly easy. Three out of the four pieces I played I used for graduate school audition repertoire. The fourth piece (Gaubert) rounded out my program well. It is a romantic French piece full of luscious melodies that provided a nice contrast. What was a challenge was finding a weekend where I was in town and my parents and sister could attend. My sister’s college and the college where my parents teach will be on break for Easter, so this was the obvious weekend!
What or who inspires you?
My greatest inspiration comes from my friends and colleagues in the conservatory. Everyone is doing such amazing and unique things, and I learn from them every day. I’m inspired by the mature musicianship that surrounds me daily. Each friend offers a different quality I really admire and hope to incorporate in my own performance. Some of my friends are fearless and dazzling performers, while others look incredibly elegant and in control. These elements often reflect on their personalities. Watching my friends perform is so rewarding because I know them all so well. While of course the Oberlin faculty is inspiring, I am mostly inspired by the students.
What strategies do you use to prepare for a big performance?
The week of a performance is all about refining. My goal every day is to make small improvements that will have large effects. For technical passages, I’m practicing them very carefully and slowly. To improve musical ideas, I’m still stretching myself to explore many possibilities. Consistency is important, so I’m also practicing repetition so I know I will be able to play it the way I want to during my recital. Outside of the practice room, I’m making sure I stay very hydrated and rested.
What do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?
Ten years from now, I hope to be principal flutist of a major orchestra. In addition, I hope to be playing a lot of chamber music, especially contemporary chamber music, with my friends and colleagues. I hope to be teaching either at a university or conservatory, or by maintaining a private studio.
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