About Sylvia Hinz

Instrumentalist, Conductor, Teacher. Founder of the Ensembles XelmYa, Umbratono and others. Praised for her equally fierce and bold dramatic performance style, Sylvia Hinz is one of the leading recorder players worldwide, specialised in contemporary music and improvisation.

Blockflöte / recorder / flauto dolce / 直笛 / bekfluto / חלילית / flauta dulce / nokkahuilu / flûte douce / zobcová flauta / 縦笛 / zobcová flétna / φλάουτο με ράμφος / blokfluit / блокфлейта / 竖笛



für die schöne aufführung des rundwegs in chicago wollte ich dir und alexa und ulrike nochmals ausdrücklich danke schön sagen. das war wirklich spitze!! vor allem die dramaturgie, also speziell die tempoverhältnisse und die dauern der einzelnen abschnitte im verhältnis zur gesamtdauer waren sehr klug und souverän gewählt (ja was denn sonst!!) und das hat wirklich sehr gut funktioniert. worüber übrigens auch alle, die mich darauf angesprochen haben, sich einig gewesen sind. das ist doch schön! und eine beglückende erfahrung. dafür dank an euch drei und herzliche grüße von euerem mathias

mathias spahlinger, composer, Potsdam

Think you know what a recorder can do? This concert will change all that. As an artist dedicated to many forms of new music practice, Sylvia Hinz turns all of the clichés about recorders on their head. Presenting a compelling and varied new program of works by composers from all over the world, this recital will be a virtuosic revelation, showing the spectacular breadth of expression the recorder has inspired in composers and inviting the audience into a unique and fascinating sound world. We are pleased to welcome Sylvia Hinz, one of the infest recorder virtuosi in the world, for her Canadian debut.

 Ian Crutchley, Composer, President New Music Edmonton, Now Hear This Festival, Edmonton, Canada

Just a quick note to say that, in a festival full of extraordinary performances, XelmYa’s opener was still was one of the most extraordinary. Even if I myself didn’t constantly come back to it in my mind, I would be reminded of it through the many people I talk to who bring it up with wide eyes and little exclamation points sticking out of their heads. Bravi to you all.

 Seth Brodsky, Assistant Professor of Music and the Humanities, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Music, Affiliated Faculty, Departments of Visual Arts and Germanic Studies, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

WOW – totally amazing playing and a great video and great sound […] I am so proud of this, I can’t tell you!! I shall share it everywhere. The playing is just phenomenal – best ever! It is an exceptional example of my work and really shows of XelmYa’s huge talents for playing. AMAZING!!!!!

Marc Yeats (Composer, Crewkerne, UK) 

Thanks again for playing Transistor last Friday. It was an honor to have you there!

Andy Miles, Owner-Curator, Transistor, Chicago, Illinois

Watching my DePaul University School of Music students play “doppelt bejaht” induced in me a series of thoughts and feelings that relate to political decision-making, group identity, and a hope for humanity on a grand scale that I don’t normally allow myself to think. But CONVERSELY, watching XelmYa play “rundweg” (a trio version of material from “doppelt bejaht”) was completely different — I felt like I momentarily BECAME the piece (or maybe the instruments) and was inside the unison created by the gut strings and the recorder, the sublimity of which was almost Romantic in its orientation. … As I indicated regarding “doppelt bejaht” — that piece feels like a large political statement, a hint at a utopia that I am almost afraid to think about or imagine. If you will forgive a fanciful stretch, perhaps one might posit it as a momentary belief in the enlightenment project. And, indeed, though the material is the same, my personal reaction to “rundweg” was so much different, and I cannot escape the notion of the “Romantic,” which admittedly is a very odd notion for a piece written by a 21st century composer for a small ensemble of baroque instrumentation. Something about precisely the reduction of the materials to a smaller version made the experience all that much more visceral and gripping. As the texture approached a unison tone, I had this very intense sensation that I could “feel” the sound in such a close proximity that I became identified with it, or that the it was overwhelming my sense of individuality. It reminded me very much of how Kant and Burke spoke of the “sublime,” or at least how the early Romantic writers interpreted it… where one is so taken by an experience that one cannot rationally comprehend that it subsumes one’s identity. Momentarily, it felt as if all that existed in the universe was the tone itself. I realize this may be a very idiosyncratic reaction, but the whole experience was quite remarkable!

Michael Lewanski, Assistant Professor of Instrumental Ensembles at DePaul University School of Music, Conductor at Ensemble Dal Niente, Chicago, Illinois

Sylvia, It was great to meet you too, and your ensemble was fantastic. What a strong performance you gave. Definitely a highlight for me.

Nomi Epstein, Composer, Chicago, Illinois

Brilliant. Perfectly played. Thank you, Sylvia. 

John E. Zamitpace (Composer, Malta)

Your concert the other night was so beautiful. I am very inspired as a result!

 Carolyn O’Brien, Composer, Chicago, Illinois

Spotlight Artist: @sylviahinz , recorder player. One of our favourite instruments, severely misunderstood! Beautiful, intense and unique playing.

Megan Steinberg / Soundling Festival London, UK

It went amazing and I learned a lot from you just from those 20 minutes.


You have really a marvellous career and have
made your instrument into a truly contemporary
expression of our day...as well as one of the
past! a substantial contribution...Congratulations!!

Gloria Coates (Composer, USA)