Amandine’s victory at the Dutch Harp Competition in 2012 was the first of many more to follow.
When the young French harpist first arrived in Utrecht, she never expected she would walk away with the gold medal. With the boost of confidence that followed, she went on achieve her dream of becoming an orchestral harpist, while also snatching up another prize in the Lily Laskine competition along the way. After completing a two-year Academy position with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Amandine won an audition with the Bremer Philharmoniker and now holds a full-time position as principal harpist.
What did winning the Dutch Harp Competition mean to you at the time?
It definitely meant a lot to me. It was the first big competition that I won, and I never expected to win. When you achieve that kind of goal, it gives you a lot of confidence and the desire to go further.
What were for you the best and worse moments of the competition?
The best moment was playing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez in the final round. It was a very strong emotional experience. I remember at one point I even cried when I was playing. The story behind the piece really moved me.
I don’t have any bad memories, besides the travel to Utrecht. At the time, I was doing a praktikum with an orchestra in Münster, and I couldn’t miss any concerts there, so I ended up having to take the train back and forth in the middle of the week. On my return trip to Utrecht, there were problems with the train, and I had to take several different busses, finally arriving in the middle of the night. But once I was there, everything was great. Thanks to the excellent organization, the atmosphere was friendly and I didn’t have any stress.
What have you been up to since 2012?
At the time of the competition, I was 21 years old and on an Erasmus exchange in Frankfurt to study with Françoise Friedrich. Afterwards, instead of coming back to Lyon to finish my master’s degree, I stayed in Germany because I won the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra Academy position. I played as second harpist there for two years, which was excellent training for a professional orchestra job. I finally did get my diploma in Lyon, and then I came back to the Hochschule in Frankfurt to work on a performance diploma. I also did the Lily Laskine competition in 2014, and I won third prize.
In June 2015, I won the audition in Bremen for solo harp, and I started just a few months later in September. This is my try-out year, but it’s going really well. I love it here! We have a very good conductor, and I even like the town a lot. My family misses me, of course, but it’s easy to travel back to France when the orchestra is playing a program that doesn’t include harp.
What are your upcoming plans and goals?
I feel a lot calmer in my life now that I have a job. That was my priority, to find a stable job. But now I’m free to pursue my own projects. I’d like to do the ARD competition in Munich this year, but I don’t know if I will have time. I’d like to develop chamber music and solo programs more and to do more concerts on the side. I really like teaching too, but my priority was to have a place in an orchestra. As a long-term goal I would love to teach at a Hochschule in Germany. But for now I think I would like to teach younger children. With the orchestra, we do a lot of outreach programs for children, and also refugees, and that’s inspired me.