What inspired you to start playing the flute and being involved with music?
I started playing the flute at the age of six as it was somewhat of a cultural standard in Asian countries. I had the privilege to perform as principal flutist in a professional orchestra at the age of fourteen and had the opportunity to play in the Forbidden City Hall in Beijing. The chills I had after the final note of Gershwin’s American in Paris was simply indescribable and that’s when I realized I wanted to pursue music as a career.
Who was your role model and/or inspiration?
I have had many different ones throughout my life, but currently it would be my mentor and flute professor, Dr. Brian Luce. I have been able to achieve so much under his guidance, such as winning the White Mountain Symphony’s Concerto Competition, the Morceau de Concours, and of course, the prestigious Presser Scholar Award. My mom is also a great inspiration to me as she raised me all by herself, and I’m thankful to her for supporting me through my musical career despite its challenges.
What does your future look like? What do you plan to do?
I had a lot of concerts lined up, but they’ve all been cancelled with the pandemic, so hopefully it’ll all workout in the near future. I am also passionate about music venture development and nonprofits, and I can see that in my future.
What is the best piece of advice have you received that has helped you be successful?
One of the quotes I really resonate with is “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” by Tim Notke. In the music industry, talent is abundant, so it is important to stay focused and to work hard.
What motivates you?
I have a passion for music education and am the flute instructor for Tucson’s newly established senior ensemble, the Tucson New Horizons. I feel incredibly motivated when I inspire them to ignite their old passion for music. I also teach younger students and seeing them succeed is very rewarding.
What do you do in your free time?
I have a passion for fitness and love going to spin classes at (r)evolve cycling. It connects me to my love for music whilst being able to get some sweat on! I always try to get at least a class in daily as it is such a stress reliever.
What does a day in your life look like?
I try to maintain a really strict schedule since I’m a pretty busy person! I wake up at 8:00am and get in a quick flute warm-up which prepares me for a full day of playing. I usually have chamber rehearsals in the morning, whether that be with my quintet or other smaller ensembles, followed by flute studio at 11:00am. Afterwards, I grab lunch before heading to my large ensemble rehearsal that lasts for 2 hours. I have a quick break in which I grab my favorite drink, boba tea, and complete administrative work for the College of Fine Arts Ambassadors before I head to my Entrepreneurship class at the Eller College of Management. After my school day ends, I head to (r)evolve cycling to get my much-needed spin class release before heading home to eat dinner, and more importantly practice for my upcoming competitions and concerts.
How has your life and daily routines changed as a result of COVID-19?
I had two upcoming concertos with the White Mountain Symphony Orchestra and UA Wind Ensemble that were postponed as a result of the COVID-19. Although disappointing, this has allowed me to recognize that earning market share will arise through the capturing of online and electronic disseminated media. Chosen as one of the College of Fine Art’s Medici Scholars, I will be using this summer to create recordings showcasing not only my musical performance ability but also my musical production acumen and will specifically market my recordings to engage isolated clientele while refining and growing my brand image.
If you could go back in time, is there, if at all, anything you’d do differently?
I would tell my past self the importance of taking breaks and to not be so hard on myself. I actually suffered from a TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex) injury back in freshman year from a result of over-practicing and I am still very cautious of it today. Musicians are truly athletes and it is so important to take care of yourself.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Hall of Fame by the Script.
In your opinion, who do you think is the most impressive person in the world right now, and why?
I think the most impressive person would be the whoever creates the COVID-19 vaccine. So many people have suffered as a result of the current mitigation and I truly hope it can end soon. In terms of the music industry, I would say Jasmine Choi is very inspirational. Not only is she a fantastic flutist (she was previously the principal flutist of the Vienna Symphony), she has also utilized this current time to create informative online content, such as online masterclasses and interviews with other renowned flutists. This is definitely something I want to pursue in the future, as I don’t want to only be a performer but also be able to inspire other musicians.
What advice do you have for fellow or younger students?
My advice will be for them to seek and pursue what their true passion is. Our current society is judgmental and has pre-existing stereotypes on certain career roles which can make younger students doubt themselves. I believe that if you truly want something, you won’t stop for anything until you get it.