My Memory of the KIFC
My Memory of the Kobe International Flute Competition
Honorary Jury Chairperson of the 9th KIFC
“Professor Kim, Mr. Rampal said that he would take part in the jury panel!” Mr. Machimoto, the manager of the cultural affairs division in the Kobe City Government at the time, told me excitedly over the phone. Thirty-some years later, I can still recall the excitement in his voice.
After hearing about a grand plan for an international flute competition from Mr. Machimoto, I thought that we should ask Professor Masao Yoshida, a master of flute in Japan, for his help. “Let’s bring the foremost flutists from each country, including the world’s leading figure master Rampal, as jury members.” Professor Yoshida said that when Mr. Machimoto and I visited him. He embraced this courageous direction and gave us the names of great flutists from around the world. I understood that he was determined to make it a world-class competition. Therefore, I decided to take part in this grand plan and had the pleasure of working under Professor Yoshida to assist Mr. Machimoto.
During the second quadrennial competition, I was surprised by the superb performances of Petri Alanko and Emmanuel Pahud, both of whom were unknown players at the time. Later accomplishments of Mr. Alanko and Mr. Pahud included 1st place at Munich in 1991 and Geneva in 1992, respectively, which proved the accuracy of the judgments delivered at the Kobe competition. While Mr. Alanko has advanced his career as an educator in recent years, Mr. Pahud continues as one of the most successful flutists in the world today.
During our preparation for the 4th quadrennial competition (1997), a devastating earthquake occurred on January 17, 1995. In March of that year, I visited Kobe City Hall by bus, traversing through the rubble in the Hanshin area. I was there to ask whether the competition should be either cancelled or postponed. Yet, I was told the following: “Kobe is a cultural city. The competition is one of the most important cultural events in Kobe. So, the competition will be neither cancelled nor postponed.” On my way home to Tokyo, I was moved to tears by the feelings of the Kobe people.