Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ray Furuta

Name: Ray Furuta
What do you do?
a.       Concertizing Flutist – Soloist and Chamber Musician
b.      Artistic Director for brand new The Silicon Valley Music Festival
c.       Flutist for Yellow Barn Music Festival, Argento New Music Ensemble and other
d.      Guest teacher at Universities, Music Schools, and Flute Societies

Where can we find your work?
a.       My personal website:
b.      Silicon Valley Music Festival website:
c.       Youtube Channel – Ray Furuta & Silicon Valley Music Festival

What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough?
It is very easy to get frustrated and confused as a classical musician, or any artist for that matter.  I am a positive and relaxed person by nature and handle stress very well, but I look my flute teacher and mentor, Carol Wincenc, professor at The Juilliard School, for constant inspiration. I have other mentors including Emerson String Quartet violinist, Philip Setzer, San Jose’s own Isabelle Chapuis, Jill Felber, and Elena Yarritu who are always there to give me moral support for my artistic endeavors.  I find that when things get hard, simple positive and moral support from the people you look up to is inspiration enough to get through.

What do you think is more important content/finished product or technique/process?
This is a tricky question, because in many ways both are equally important – especially in music.  Personally, I believe that the “content”, or perhaps one’s musical point of view, personality and how they portray it to the audience is more important then the technical aspect of music. This is something that I think is sometimes forgotten in music – but I’m a firm believer that this is most important.

Who are some people who influence and/or inspire you?
a.       My flute teachers, Carol Wincenc, Jill Felber, Isabelle Chapuis, and Elena Yarritu.
b.      My chamber music teachers, Philip Setzer, David Finckel, Christina Dahl
c.       Artistic Director of Music@Menlo and CMS of Lincoln Center, Wu Han. Her playing
          never ceases 
to inspire me.
d.      Soprano Angela Gheorghiu
e.       Joni Mitchell

If you could be any fictional character who would you be?
"Leslie Knope" I would say Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation because of her dedication for what she loves. I can related to her strong sense of passion for her work and her never ending determination to achieve her highest possible goal.

When do you get your best ideas?
Normally when I’m at a concert – especially when the performer is particularly inspiring to me. As I’m inspired, my mind races ideas pop up like crazy! Also, when I’m walking home from school, through NYC, often ideas will come to me.

What materials/tools do you use most to create your work?
It’s just my flute and me!

Are you self taught or formally educated? How do you think that has influenced or affected your work?
I think at a certain point, it is important to have formal training. Especially in music. Of course, there are special cases, and also people who are not formally trained who have become extremely successful – and sometimes there’s something to be said about developing your own artistic voice without the influence or pressure of another’s.

What would your creative work taste like?
That’s interesting. Thinking of how my playing has been described as “ dynamic”, “Artistic statement is powerful” and “Deft virtuosity” I would say that my playing would taste like some strong – yet extremely delicious cocktail! Ha Ha!

When you are not creating what do you like to do?
 I am now enjoying exploring the entrepreneurial side of music and the arts. I love to have friends over to cook and have dinner parties. I also enjoy playing with my dog, Newton.

How did you learn to access your creative talents and gain the confidence to put it out there for everyone to experience?
I think as a musician, true confidence – versus arrogance – it takes a lot of performance experience, and time for your musical point of view to mature. I think only recently after 15 years of playing, I have found the true “Ray Furuta”. It takes time.

What advice would you give others just beginning their creative adventures?
Work Hard, never give up, and find inspiration – constantly. ALWAYS be open to learning, and exploring new facets of your creative ventures. Be humble, modest, and friendly, having the right attitude is the best way to develop relationships with colleagues and fellow artists.

1 comment:

  1. Experienced Thursday's concert and Friday's finale concert. I applaud you for your wonderful success with The Silicon Valley Music Festival.