Barbara Kortmann


"...Barbara Kortmann's interpretation of Schumann's Fantasiestücke was beautiful.  Kortmann's pure and refined tone was perfect for the long lines in the piece.  Next was Vivaldi's Sonata No. 6 in G Minor.  She played in a very consistent baroque style;  we enjoyed listening to the nuances of each note in the Largo movement. Her fast movements were brilliant, and she gave a great delivery of this piece.  Lastly, she performed Schubert's "Trockne Blumen" Variations.  This was  an audience favorite, as she gave an honest and powerful performance of this standard and challenging piece. Her pianist, Thomas Haberlah, was also great and fun to watch, especially in his featured variations.  She kept the audience wanting to hear more, and everyone was excited to hear each variation after another. This was really an enjoyable concert, because both Kortmann and Clark gave us not only exquisite playing, but the contrast in their programs and playing styles provided for a great evening of flute playing."

(Andrea "Fluterscooter" Fisher, The Flute View, New York, August 2017)

'Inner Lights' - a stellar recording - NATIONAL FLUTE ASSOCIATION, USA
In the program notes of this lovely, well-conceived recording of Baroque music, Barbara Kortmann explains that each of these pieces have had special meaning in her journey as a student and later as a professional performer, and the care and feeling with which she presents them illustrates the truth of her assertion. Throughout the recording, she expertly balances a modern aesthetic of flute playing with an educated sense of performance practice.
Her tone is rich, clear and flexible, and her clear articulation and excellent technique bring excitement to her music.
The CD contains two of Vivaldi's concerti for flute and strings.
In the first selection, 'Il Cardellino', Kortmann executes the brilliant opening phrase with a lithe and playful spirit that expertly sets the tone for the rest of the work. In the slow movement, her phrasing and control expose the sweetness of the writing. Likewise, her performance  of 'La Notte' provides a fitting framework  for her expressive sense of phrase and her creative ornamentation.
Also included is Marin Marais 'Les Folies d'Espagna', here played with harpsichordist Sabine Erdmann. The selction of variations is excellent, creating a narrative arc of motion through the familiar work. Kortmann's performance is very exciting; again, the balance of speed possible on a modern flute plus the attention to long lines allows for wonderfully energetic tempi. (...)
While each selection is performed well, with grace and attention on style and detail, perhaps the best tracks are the three devoted to J.Seb. Bach's Trio Sonata from 'The Musical Offering', performed with violinist Hellen Weiss. This extremly intricate and complicated work is performed with elegance, thoughtfulness, and affection, and the overall effect is exquisite. The blend between the flute an violin sounds effortless, and all performers capture the necessary dichotomy of simple melodies and rhythmically and harmonically complex textures.
Inner Lights is a stellar recording of much beloved, well-played music. 
Barbara Kortmann's performance is elegant, beautiful, and expressive and a joy to hear.
(Rebecca Dunnavant, NFA, Fall 2017)

From Barbara Siesel, THE FLUTE VIEW, New York, March 2017 (Review 'Inner Lights')
“(…)Ms. Kortman is an extraordinary player, whose fluid technique serves her musical mastery and unique, beautiful interpretations. Her performance of the Marais, Les Folies d’Espagne is full of interesting surprises that are musically insightful and sent me running to my score to think about! Each work on the album opened up new ways of thinking about the piece. Take a listen to her ideas in Bach’s Musical Offering and the two Vivaldi Concerto’s ‘Il Cardellino’ and ‘La Notte.' Every work is thought through but spontaneous in interpretation as well. Kortmann is accompanied by an expert group of strings including the excellent Hellen Weiss and Kerstin Linder-Dewan on violins and Sabine Erdmann on harpsichord. The chamber music is seamless and the pitch is perfect! (…)The recording and editing are superb with the sound of a full orchestra achieved with a small string section and perfect balance maintained throughout. I highly recommend this CD!…”

From FONO FORUM, May, 2017 (Review 'Inner Lights')
“(…) Barbara Kortmann (…) presented her baroque programme accompanied by instrumentalists well-versed in this style, but it was in the solo passages on her modern Böhm flute that she revealed a wonderful and highly sensitive musical interpretation. In occupying chamber music’s field of tension between, on the one hand, the melodiousness of solo performance and, on the other, the enormous rhythmic flexibility of accompanying instruments, she makes it fun once again to listen even to evergreen Vivaldi favourites.”

From Remy Franck, PIZZICATO, March 12, 2017 (Review 'Inner Lights')

“Flowing Virtuosity. (… ) Barbara Kortmann seems not merely content to shine with pure virtuosity, she also reaches deep in search of her ‘inner light’. Although the programme does contain racier presto movements, especially impressive was the liveliness she brought to the cantobile as well as the beautifully nurtured, if lively and vibrant, tones (… ) both of the hits, ‘Il Gardellino’ and ‘La Notte,’ are a joy for everyone.”

From Edwin Baumgartner, Wiener Zeitung, February 15, 2017 (Review 'Inner Lights')

“Seductive Baroque tones on the flute… It is a sheer wonder what this Munich-born flutist extracts from the works of Vivaldi, Marais, Handel and Bach: virtuose, exciting; her trilling and runs slicing through the shimmering atmosphere like a silver arrow. The accompaniment by a small group, even for the Vivaldi, was agile. This was virtuose, brilliantly entertaining and, yes, delightful.”

From Martin Grunenberg, Hessischer Rundfunk, January 2017 (Review 'Inner Lights')

“When the flute sings like a bird… Whether Barbara Kortmann with her flute enters a bird song contest together with a violin , or whether she really begins to let her flute sing in two George Friedrich Handel arias, the quality that entrances is the special beauty of her tones. ‘Sweet Silence, Soft Source of Calm Tranquility,’ is how one of Handel’s German arias begins. Tranquility is naturally all the more impressive if juxtaposed against an uproar… it was from this contrast that Marin Marais developed the variations to his renowned Folia theme—and gives Barbara Kortmann the opportunity to impress with her virtuosity.”

“… One happily hears this piece again and again … especially when a musician masters such exquisite tones as Barbara Kortmann does, with all registers sounding complete and clear, and which—as appropriate for the music—she plays with a carefully measured dose of vibrato. It is no wonder that James Galway praised Barbara Kortmann’s ‘flawless technique and expressive tone.’ This is a successful and memorable debut!”

“Always a bit faster:
Highly concentrated, focused and showing a great stage presence, Barbara Kortmann (flute) and Thomas Haberlah (piano) presented a sophisticated programme. (…)
The first piece was variations on “Trockene Blumen” by Franz Schubert. The audience was entranced right from the introduction by the young soloist’s warmth and fluidity. A highly dramatic performance that riveted all who heard it.
It was clear from the outset that this pair are perfectly coordinated. Their beautifully interpreted three Romances by Schumann demonstrated a finely tuned interaction down to the finest detail. (…)
Barbara Kortmann continued with a modern piece, “Debla,” for solo flute by C. Halffter, which, with its eccentric leaps, extreme dynamics and the variety of tone, demands  great mastery of the instrument.
Here in particular, the flutist’s artistry clearly enhanced this excellent piece. (…) At one moment she played with eyes closed, at another she focused intensely on the audience.
The closing piece, the late romantic “Fantaisie brillante” by Borne, featuring themes from Bizet’s opera “Carmen”, picked up the pace: the tempo increased and her fingers flew as she hit every register with precision.
Barbara Kortmann played every tone with enormous lightness, regardless of whether the music was full and warm or radiating and lively.
The duo paid their respect to the thrilled audience with an encore of lovely Irish folk music.”
(Der Westen)

“(…) Soloist Barbara Kortmann used Mercadante’s flute concerto to demonstrate her brilliant skills. In three movements, she seamlessly worked her part into the colourful orchestra score with both elegance and supple grace. The expressive Largo delighted; as did the Rondo russo, carried along as it was by the dancing momentum at a bewildering speed, with its trills, loops and ornamentation (…).”

“An unforgettable experience:
There was an extra special round of applause for soloist (… ) Barbara Kortmann, whose brilliant and explosive display on the flute were almost dizzying. She turned this 18th century flute concerto in e-minor by Saverio Mercadante into an unforgettable experience for both eyes and ears. Almost taken by surprise by the catchy melodies, the audience felt transported into some fairyland as Barbara demonstrated her wide range of skills (…)”
(Westfaelische Rundschau)

“Pure enthusiasm:
(…) This extraordinary soloist Barbara Kortmann played her flute with such passion that the audience responded with a round of applause that was overwhelming in its intensity.”
(Suederlaender Volksfreund)

“On an extraordinary date, an extraordinary artist makes an appearance at the Villa Am Wall in Neuenrade: young flutist Barbara Kortmann, an exceptional talent (…) who is seen as a rising star in Germany (…) comes now in our Villa Am Wall where she will join forces with pianist Thomas Haberlah for, in the words of the organisers, “a concert of superlatives.”

“At the award ceremony flutist Barbara Kortmann impressed both jury and audience with her vibrant personality and musical creativity.
Conductor Gerhard Michalski said in the laudation that ‘She expressed her skills with both stylistic discipline and rich subtlety.’
She possessed an extraordinary repertoire for someone aged only 24, said Michalski, who himself won the award in 1989.
The broad spectrum of her abilities was demonstrated in the way she captivated the audience with her performances of Debussy, Bach and Piazzolla.
Michalski was certain Barbara Kortmann was someone we would hear much more of.”
(Der Westen)

“This year, three young women are the winners of one of the most acclaimed awards in Germany. One of them, the winner of the music category award, provided the musical background for the evening.
After listening to Barbara Kortmann’s stunning performance, a laudation is hardly necessary, said jury spokesman Gerd Michalski.
The jury awarded the scholarship to the 24-year-old on the basis of her almost inexhaustible repertoire and her majestic skills with the flute, and added the hope that this “true musical personality” would often be heard in the coming year.”
(Westfälischer Anzeiger)

“Barbara Kortmann wins:
In a competitive concert open to the public, the Munich-born flutist won the vote of the judges over a strong field on the strength of her performances of Schubert’s ‘Arpeggione’ Sonata in a-minor and the Suite by C.M. Widor. Thomas Haberlah accompanied Barbara on the piano as she demonstrated her technical mastery in an overall polished performance.”
(Der Westen)

“The evening’s charming soloist Barbara Kortmann, enthralled the audience with an intelligently melodious interpretation of the G major concerto for flute and orchestra by J.J. Quantz.
Her apparently effortless mastery of the flute not only enchanted but, in the Arioso, seemed to transport her to another world.”
(Bocholter-Borkener Volksblatt)

“Engaging Barbara Kortmann for the flute concerto in G major by J.J. Quantz was to acquire a master performer.
She employed a profound, innate conviction to deliver a virtuoso performance that gave each of the three movements their own distinctive tone predicated on flexibility of timbre.”
(Amadeus Kammerorchester)

“In Haydn’s concerto for flute and orchestra in D major, the young soloist Barbara Kortmann cleverly captured the movement’s various characterisations. In the solo passages, she delivered the light and silvery tones with utter precision. In the expressive Adagio, which is tantamount to an operatic aria for flute and strings, she distinguished herself with an expressive interpretation.”
(Schwäbische Zeitung)

“(…) orchestra director Jac van Steen demonstrated both sensitivity and humour in this concert of varied subtleties as he guided young soloist Barbara Kortmann through Mozart’s G major concerto for flute and orchestra in her brilliant debut (with the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra).”
(Rotary district 1900)

“The chamber orchestra is delighted that a rising star such as Barbara Kortmann could be engaged for the concert in the Wasserburg Anholt on June 14, 2009.
(…) Her debut with the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra in March, 2009 under Jac van Steen was an acclaimed success.”
(Amadeus Kammerorchester)

“Wind instrument competition in Düsseldorf
(…) Munich flutist Barbara Kortmann received the award for the best interpretation of a contemporary work. Barbara impressed not only with her highly individual presentation but also because of her distinctive stage personality.”
(Fono Forum)

“The Aeolus International Competition for Wind Instruments took place for the third time in Duesseldorf
(…) The special prize for the best interpretation of contemporary music has been won by Barbara Kortmann, born in Munich in 1985. Since 2002 she has been a student under Andrea Lieberknecht in Hanover. In 2007/08 she spent an Erasmus exchange year in Basel under Felix Renggli. Barbara is the recipient of many prizes and study grants. Here, she enchanted the audience with her strongly focused interpretation of Cristobal Halffter’s solo piece ‘Debla’.”
(Das Orchester)

“Barbara Kortmann played Albert Franz Doppler’s Fantaisie pastorale hongroise op.26 with a high level of attainment. With obvious excitement, the audience followed the way the young flutist elegantly interpreted the tone sequences with lightness and extraordinary precision.”
(Kölner Stadtanzeiger)

“Her eyes closed, her fingers fly rapidly, nimbly, over the flute. This is the style that has allowed 18 year-old Barbara Kortmann to make her mark internationally at such a young age. She has just returned from Romania, where she won a prize at the ‘International Music Competition’. Yesterday, she played at the Hamburg town hall.”
(Hamburger Abendblatt)