Originally from Molise (Southern Italy), Damiano D'Angelo went to France a few weeks ago to enjoy his Special Prize: a visit to our factory in Mantes-la-Ville, and two clarinet lessons at our Parisian showroom: one with Michel Lethiec, eminent soloist, chamber musician and teacher, the other with Adrien Besse, business developer at Henri SELMER Paris, teacher and clarinetist with a wide range of artistic projects.
We asked the young winner a few questions about his experience...
How did you prepare for the competition?
"For the competition I prepared with my Maestro Loris Fiore by studying a lot the breathing, which is the basis of everything, and perfecting the difficult passages, studying them very slowly with rhythmic variations."
What will you remember about it?
“I will remember from this competition the very high level of the competitors, but the greatest emotion was certainly winning the prestigious Henri SELMER Paris Special Prize, knowing that it could have gone to any participant in any category."
What struck you the most during the visit to the factory?
“What impressed me the most was how the bore of an instrument is created. I realized that this is one of the most important steps, if not the most important, because if there is an error of a few millimeters, the piece of wood is thrown away, it cannot be used in any other domain. The care taken in manufacturing the different parts is really significant, because each small part is essential, and if there is the slightest problem it blocks the entire assembly line."
How did your lessons go with Michel Lethiec and Adrien Besse?
“I really enjoyed these classes! With Michel Lethiec, I played the Concertino op. 26 by Weber, for which he gave me very useful advice, such as breathing deeply and thinking everything with greater phrasing, while with Adrien Besse we played duets to improve listening and clarity of sound, while keeping it warm and deep.”
Who would you like to play with in the future?
“I would like to play in an orchestra, because you learn lots of things there, such as listening to others, respecting dynamics, and above all playing solos from great symphonies written by the greatest musicians and composers of all time, like Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn."
What clarinet do you play and for how long?
“I play a beautiful Privilège clarinet, which I fell in love with as soon as I tried it. I really like its richness of sound and the ease with which it can be played. It's important to be able to quickly establish a certain familiarity with the instrument, given that it will likely be your lifetime companion…”