Prof. Noel Flores was one of the most kind, thoughtful, musical souls that I have ever encountered in my life. His ideas, practicality, and gentle nobility has opened different doors for me, albeit it was only three hours of masterclasses and then two hours of lessons. But he made a big difference !! May his family be given strength and know that he has made a huge difference in today’s musical landscape. He asked us to be a searching individual, seeking for truth and demanding more from ourselves. I truly was happy, blessed, and feel fortunate to have benefited from his masterclasses at TCU Cliburn Institute back in 2005. Truly thankful. I hope the world of music education will be a better place, through his kindness, his disciples, and principles.
(Aryo Wicaksono, pianist)
I am so sorry to hear of Prof. Flores’ passing. The world has lost a wonderful musician and pedagogue. Prof. Flores was my first teacher at the University of Music in Vienna. With great patience, he completely re-worked my finger technique, giving me a solid foundation I will use my whole life. Teachers often repeat themselves in their effort to "get through" to their students. They often say the same thing, only louder or more emphatically. I loved Prof. Flores’ creative way of repeating important lessons by saying the same thing again only in German (our lessons were in English). This made the lesson twice as educational for me! Sometimes, a new, more insightful way of expressing his point came to him and he would call me during the week to tell me. It was very inspiring having a Professor who was so passionate about his teaching.
(Lisa Herger, collaborative pianist, and Faculty member at the University of Vienna, Austria)
I am sad to hear from you that Prof. Noel Flores passed away. I met Flores on 19th of October 2001 at Universität der Künste in Berlin when I was an active participant at his masterclass during "European Piano Forum". I performed the first movement from Mozart’s Sonata in B-Flat Major KV 570. I looked back at the notes I did in my score after the masterclass, and the headline I wrote was "Unity in material and form". I think he focused a lot on the importance of dephrasing, and I remember I felt it was quite difficult to manage it exactly the way he wanted. He gave the impression of a very intelligent and spiritual man, although he was a little strict as far as I can remember. But this was a long time ago, and I was still a student at the fourth year of the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo.
(Joachim Kwetzinsky, Norwegian pianist)
I’m quite sad with the death of Prof. Noel Flores. It’s really terrible news.
First time I met Professor Noel Flores on the summer academy in Baden, Austria, not far from Vienna. He evidently visited that place regularly, but for me that was my first masterclass in Europe, I was excited and felt myself inexperienced. His simplicity touched and won over me, his amicability and gentle sense of humour combined with task-oriented and clear directions made me geared up for work. There were 8 – 10 of students and most of them were much older than me but that did not matter for him.
I remember the first time when I came to him with a Mozart’s concerto to play – something was not getting on at all: I could not make the sound clear – either it lacked character or was rough; the dynamics of the phrase appeared to be strained and forced. Noel Flores stopped me, took my hand, pulled my middle finger, then bent it at an obtuse angle and put it on the key saying: "Play it again". Extending and radiant sound which is so specific for Mozart’s clavier concertos started flowing. I was beside myself with delight! Noel’s face lit up: "All of genius is simple. That’s true!" his last phrase was obviously dedicated to the music which beauty broke through the clumsiness of the hands and came to the ear. Later I learned that Noel devoted most of his life to studying the peculiarities of physiology of instrumental performance, conditions of origin of real mastering the piano – weights of the hand parts, angulation, palm position, the pianist posture. His works did not seem to be translated into Russian, the Russian piano teaching school does not pay too much attention to the physiology of playing, that was the reason why I was not accustomed to that.
Through the day I would often see him walking with his nice wife.
At his last lesson of the summer music academy he gave recommendations to each individual student on the methods and ways for their further work and improvement. He had a very keen insight into individual style of performance of each student: some student was recommended to extend his repertoire to impressionistic direction, another one – to be concentrated on proper using the pedal, the other one – to be focused on the classicist music.
Several years after I was in Vienna to play two concerts. One of the concerts was played in the theatre. When the first part was over, I stood up to take a bow and suddenly I saw a very familiar face. That was Noel Flores. I have been curious how he could have known about that concert which had not been widely-advertised at all. But the fact that even though several years had passed he kept on remembering me and, moreover, he attended my concert. He attended the second concert as well. This has been an ideal example of the teacher’s concern in the future professional lives of his former students even though he did not teach them permanently.
(Yuri Favorin, Russian pianist)
I am very very sorry to hear this as we had studied together at the Music Academy and he was a very kind person. He was an excellent musician and all his students liked him very much.
(Viloo Sattler, pianist and composer)
I had the pleasure to study with Prof. Flores at the Music University in Vienna and remember him having a very happy personality.
His kind and loving approach to his students was a source of encouragement. I was one of the last students who came into his class at young age and felt not only his great musical knowledge but his caring attitude, just like a grandfather to his grandchild.
I remember especially one occasion when he came to one of my concerts together with his dear wife and was very encouraging. This photograph of both of us was taken after the concert.
I will hold him in best memory and I’m grateful for the time I could study with him.
His efforts towards the musical world and his students will surely be remembered.
(Dorothy Khadem-Missagh, Austrian pianist)
Prof. Flores was a gentle, thoughtful and kind person. He cared about people around him dearly and would put himself in other people’s situation. In his profession, which is educating the next generation, that specific quality is especially valuable. I remember I was translating for a young pianist who planned on entering the Musik Uni Wien and went to him for lesson and opinion. Though the young pianist had talent and played very well, he pulled me to the side after the lesson and told me that I should carefully tell the young girl that the world is so much bigger and she doesn’t need to be going into a profession as a classical pianist. She should see more of the world.
He said it in a way with extreme care for this young person’s future. That gesture made a big impression on me – He observed people in detail and had great sensibility for a person’s character, and tried to suggest what he thought that would be best for that person.
Before graduating from Musik Uni Wien, I was preparing to come to the United States for entering the doctoral program. He generously invited me to his house, provided support and shared his life experience with me, though I was not a student in his studio. I would never forget the
long talk with him and all his sincere, good wishes before my
In lessons, he focused highly on musicality and clarity. He sang and hummed with the flow of the music. I still remember his slender fingers flying swiftly on the keyboard, and music flowed from his finger tips effortlessly.
In the long corridor on the third floor of the piano department building at Musik Uni Wien, you could easily find Prof. Flores taking a 5 minute break for smoking and contemplating……this corridor would now be a lonelier one without his presence. However his legacy remains in every single soul he touched around the world.
(Dr. Jessie Wenchieh Lo, Taiwanese-American pianist)
To start with I would like to say how sad I was to hear about the death of Professor Flores. He was a wonderful teacher and human being and he played a big part in my development as a pianist.
Something I remember him saying was: "Good technique is not only about the ability to play as a virtuoso.A good piano technique is about phrasing,balancing of the tone,interpretation-all these things help to achieve the musical intentions;in other words,a symbiosis between technique and artistry."
(Maria Kihlgren, Swedish pianist)