Johanna Malangré

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2019 MAWOMA (Women Chefs CompetitionInterview with German chef Johanna Malangré, winner of the ) competition.

Photos: Hara Vlachou


Q: How did you choose a classical music career? Can you tell us about the path leading to chiefdom?

A: I started my piano lessons when I was 3 years old. I was very lucky with my family, they would always take me to opera and concerts.

I remember my admiration for the colorful sounds of the symphony orchestra. As a young girl, at some point, I decided that I wanted to spend my life in the middle of this world and as a chef.

Q: A moment when you say 'end of the road' for your music or conducting career?

A: It did not happen; I saw setbacks and failures as part of the process.

Q: When we consider the music made in the 18th and 19th centuries and the dedication of the artists to their art, I see the century we live in as 'commercial'. what are you?

A: There are certain parts that I also question and where making music becomes commercial. For example, promotions of albums or presentations of artists on album covers. Such as the selection of works that are valid within the programs and that will make a profit at the box office.

On the other hand, serious organization, sponsorship and commercial support is inevitable in order to make music. I do not think that the situation was different in previous centuries.

When we read the letters or memoirs of Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy or Mahler, we can see their financial difficulties. The artist, who lives a life devoted only to his art, is a romantic assumption rather than reality.

Q: What is the use of knowing the lives of composers when performing your art?

A: This part is vital for me when preparing for a piece. It helps me to see what the composer wants to express and behind the notes. I also like to do research.

Q: As a Beethoven expert, I wonder how you first met this giant on the chef's podium?

A: Among all other orchestral works, the first piece I directed was the 9th Symphony. This was even before my full-time conducting classes. Probably, considering the depth of this work, I can say that I even managed to partially touch its surface. However, it was a great experience. We were a group of young students and it was a first for many of us. There was general excitement and happiness in viewing this masterpiece. We believed in the humane approach and enthusiasm of the work.

Q: A festival will be held in Switzerland in which you will take part. Can you give information about the program and the festival?

A: Both are great. I love the participatory spirit that will take place at the Lucerne Festival, not to forget the beautiful lake and mountain scenery.

Traditionally, the academy has focused on 20th and 21st century repertoire. I will serve as an assistant chef in an organization with chefs like Sylvain Cambreling.

Q: Not your favorite composer but I would like to know your recordings?

A: I like Giulini's Brahms Symphony recordings. Even though I interpret some details differently, the color depths are very nice. Glenn Gould's first recording of Goldberg Variations and Bernstein's very old West Side Story are among my favorite recordings.

Q: Which organizations do you currently have contracts with? Considering that being a chef is your only profession, can you make a living in this way?

A: I am the assistant conductor at the Lucerne Festival Academy, and I am the music director of the HIDALGO Festival Orchestra. In addition to all these, I conduct many concerts across Europe. This is how I earn my living. Opera marked the beginning of my conducting career. In the future, I want to conduct operas as much as the symphonic repertoire.

Q: Conservatory students, academics and classical music lovers will be very happy with your interview and your contribution, me at first. Finally, do you have anything to add?

A: Thank you for the good questions. Curious readers, on my website (www.johannamalangre.com) can access information about me. Hoping to meet you in real life!

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