IT ALL STARTED WHEN…
I met Emily at the 12th Slovenian Flute Festival in May 2018. Emily agreed to be our first Flutewise Ambassador straight after her wonderful performance at the Festival.
You can find out about Emily by visiting her website
We hope all keen Flutewise players can meet Emily and hear her play sometime in the near future.
I asked Emily some questions and here are her answers:
How old were you when you started playing?
I was 10 years old.
What inspired you to start?
Actually I really wanted to be a gypsy violinist! I think I’d seen one with long, flowing skirts and big gold earrings playing around a campfire in a story book when I was very little! But when we did a musical aptitude test at school to see who’d be eligible for free violin lessons, I wanted it SOOOO badly that I completely flunked it! I went home crying and shortly afterwards, stumbled on my dad’s old flute. Amazingly, I found I could get a sound out of it pretty quickly and the fingers seemed to work at little like the recorder which I’d been playing for a year or so by then… so I was off!!
What make was your first flute?
It was a nickel-plated Boosey & Hawkes ‘Regent' - my dad’s old flute. For my grade 3 and grade 5 I borrowed my teacher’s silver-plated Gemeinhardt which was much better.
What do you play on now?
I am VERY lucky and I actually have TWO fabulous flutes! My main flute is a beautiful gold Haynes but for some older repertoire like Bach and Mozart, I play a wooden Powell with gold keys. I also have a beautiful old (1903) silver Louis Lot but that doesn’t get to play concerts 😔
Who influenced you as a young flute player?
James Galway… and my fellow students!
Do you have any other musicians in your family?
Yes, my sister, Catherine is a professional harpist. My mum is an amateur pianist and my dad does play the flute every once in a while too!
Which three artists and/or pieces would you advise a young person to listen to?
One childhood hero of mine was Ian Clarke (ianclarke.net) - and he’s still a hugely inspiring, creative spirit whom I admire greatly. We were actually in the same youth orchestra as kids - together with Gareth Davies and Katy Bircher! Ian’s music is a great mix of the funky and fun but also beautifully touching… and quite challenging!
I love listening to violinists and singers. One of my favourite violinists is Lisa Batiashvili (lisabatiashvili.com). She comes from Georgia but has lived in Germany since she was 11. She has an amazing sound, perfect intonation, dazzling technique but most importantly an impeccable musical integrity and sincerity across a wide range of styles; Mozart, Brahms, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich… My favourite singer at the moment is actually vocal group; Voces8 (voces8.com) I love their vast range of repertoire from ancient madrigals to pop music. The discipline of spot-on intonation and extraordinary beauty of sound are amazing but what I admire most is how they work together to create such a homogeneous sound - it’s like one instrument! It’s like playing in the orchestra - I love being a small cog in huge magical musical machine!
What piece of advice would you give to a young flute player?
Keep your ears open at all times! Musical inspiration is all around us… from bird song to pop songs, via Beethoven and Bach to bandoneons, balalaikas and beatboxing… and lots of things which don’t even start with the letter B either! Be curious about the musical world around you and get to see music played LIVE as much as you can. CDs, youtube and Spotify are great resources for listening to music easily and regularly and at the click of a mouse, but hearing music live is another experience entirely - do LIVE it! When you play a piece, tell your story. The composer has left you lots of clues but you have to make it make sense and ’speak’ to the audience. The motto of the Netherlands Flute Academy is work hard, have fun and share your passion!