An Interview with Selina Ott (First Prize Winner — ARD Competition in Munich, 2018)

2018-10-17

We wanted to interview this young Austrian for Trumpetland, who just won the first prize in the 2018 edition of the International Music Competition of the ARD in Munich (Germany), in the specialty of trumpet. After talking with her, we can conclude that Selina has three important qualities: humility, talent and hard work.

There are artists who manage to win prestigious contests and they already think that they have won everything. Fortunately, there are also young people with very clear ideas that, despite achieving great feats, still keep their feet firmly on the ground. And this is the case with Selina Ott, a young, trumpet player of only 20 years of age, who has managed to win the first prize of what is possibly the most prestigious music contest in the world: the ARD in Munich. There has only been one trumpeter who won it when he was younger: the Frenchman, David Guerrier (18).

The importance of the ARD International Music Contest, at least for trumpeters, is the fact that the legendary Maurice André was the first to win the prestigious prize on trumpet. Today, after 67 years of history of this contest, we can say the first female trumpeter to win the competition is Selina Ott.

Selina's victory is full of meaning, no matter how you look at it. But still, she remains humble in her answers. "As I grew up in a family full of professional musicians (my father is a trumpeter too), I soaked up everything related to the trumpet very early on," she tells us.

Being Austrian, logically one of her idols as a child was Hans Gansch (principal trumpet of the Vienna Philharmonic between 1982 and 1996). "I had the opportunity to listen to him perform live, several times… and even play with him when I was 10 years old! His sound and his musicality always fascinated me!” she says.

It is wonderful to know that there are parents like those of Selina’s, who must have put a lot of interest in her daughter's musical training, sending her to study with great teachers and instilling in her the discipline and value of a job well done since she was a child. “From an early age I attended a lot of masterclasses and met many trumpeters. For example, Reinhold Friedrich, whom I met at 14 years old, and who immediately became one of my role models,” she says. "Reinhold is an incredible trumpet player with an infinite amount of energy and positivity. He always knew how to get the best out of me. In 2015, I had the honor of taking my pre-college studies with him, for three semesters. That time was very important for the development of my musicality and my personality,” she adds.

Other trumpet players who have influenced her and who she admires are Gábor Tarkövi and Håkan Hardenberger. “I am fortunate to have had the chance to listen to Håkan live a few times in Vienna, and I have always been impressed by how clear and brilliant his sound is at the same time… and, of course, also by the repertoire he plays!", Selina declares.

Delving into the subject, we wanted to know how she decided to participate in the ARD Competition — a competition that people find very motivating, but others find very intimidating. Because of her response, we know that she belongs to the first group of people. “I always thought about participating someday. But in the ARD Competition, the trumpet specialty is called every 6 or 7 years, so I was aware that I would probably only have one chance in my life,” she telling us. And she continues with a response that can only be given by a humble person, but at the same time applied and ambitious: "A year or two ago I knew that the trumpet would be called again in 2018. At that time, I was not sure if I was ready for something so great, but at the end of last year, after seeing the list of the repertoire that they demanded, I immediately decided to participate."

During her interactions in the different phases of the competition, Selina not only had to perform the traditional Haydn Concerto, but also she surprised everyone with a masterful interpretation of the contemporary repertoire required. Her current trumpet teacher, Roman Rindberger (of Mnozil Brass), who is an exceptional artist without distinction of musical genres, may have something to do with her mature vision of this type of music, and for whom Selina only has words of admiration: "Roman is the most creative person I know. He has an extensive knowledge of new music and how to tell stories behind each piece,” she explains. "He has experience in many different types of music, and is passionate about contemporary music. For me, that has been fundamental when it comes to assimilating this type of repertoire and getting excited about it. I learned a lot from Roman, and not only in terms of orchestral and solo performance, but also in terms of mental training, for example.

With modesty, Selina admits that she never thought that she would win this important competition: "It's a dream that I never dared to wish to make reality," she confesses. However, she is aware that her solo career has just begun: "Now, I have the opportunity to perform many concerts, and perhaps begin a solo career,” but still prefers to stay cool and serene, showing great maturity despite her age: “My priority is to finish my studies, so I will try to develop my career as a soloist little by little, without haste.”

Although she admits that she has always wanted to travel around the world giving concerts as a soloist, she also tells us that, in recent years, she also began to like playing in an orchestra. "I'm not sure where I'll end up, I'm open to everything," she says.

We in Trumpetland have no doubt that whatever option Selina chooses, she will know how to take the best possible path. We give our sincerest congratulations to Selina, and we wish her all the best.

Contact info

Selina Ott
Official website: selinaott.com
Facebook page: facebook.com/selina.ott
E-mail: s_ott@gmx.at