Not that I always knew that.
For example, I was 26 before I could finally admit to myself that I would not be fulfilled if I were the principal flautist of the Berlin Philharmonic.
That preparing for big international flute competitions just weren’t my cuppa tea. That my own big musical answers did not come from the latest flute guru, but were always there, grandly waiting within myself. In other words, I am here as a result of finding 1,000 artistic ways that didn’t work first.
Doin’ it differently: Instead of a formal concert hall, well, I’d also love to play for you in a relaxed intimate setting, where you are close. I want you to feel free to clap between movements, sing along, and get up and dance if it strikes you– whether I am playing a Prokofiev sonata or Piazzolla’s tango.
I find more inspiration about new performance techniques from listening to Hindi film tracks then by simply playing an etude.
I have learned in my 25 years of playing I don’t really like playing the same song the same way twice, and rarely follow any musical score to the ‘T’– if at all.
Is it a bit radical for a ‘classically’ trained player? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. I just know it’s my artistic way.
Childhood: I grew up in the New Mexican deserts of the American Southwest, land of Georgia O’Keeffe, cowboys, Breaking Bad, Mexican borderlands, alien sightings, Native Americans and the world’s largest flat enchilada (allow me to explain).
How the flute found me: At the age of 8, while all 10.5 feet of that enchilada was simmering away at the annual festival, I saw a flautist for the first time. Her silver flute glistened in the October sunshine while the locals roared with excitement. This girl led the local high school marching band with her chin lifted and shoulder’s back like no one’s business. That’s when I knew I wanted to hold a flute too (even if it were only to celebrate the success of an enchilada).
Global Influences: My diverse flute career has meant I’ve lived around the world. Beyond the deserts of New Mexico, at the age of 16 I was regularly practicing my Beethoven with an all-Japanese wind quintet on the island of Okinawa.
At 17 I won Arizona Flute Society’s Young Artist Competition in Phoenix. By 19 I was learning extended flute techniques at the Guildhall School in London.
In my 20’s I ventured to bonny Scotland to refine my ‘classical’ style, and then journeyed to Buenos Aires (via Yorkshire) to study the modern tango– and to connect with my Latina roots.
In my early 30’s I lived in the southeast of Ireland to soak in the ‘trad’ style, then went to Portugal to experience the lament of the Fado. Recently I lived in India as a Bollywood performer playing for all-Indian audiences from Bangalore to Goa to Rajasthan to Delhi. I now live off the Cornish coast in the UK. All of these experiences influence my work in a profound way because I bring ’em all to my ‘musical table’.
Sharing: I desire to grow knowledge with my colleagues. That’s why I design training courses for flute teachers, deliver academic papers, give university workshops and perform lecture recitals around the globe. My pedagogical techniques have been used in the UK’s Music Education Research Journal for further understanding of flute practice, and I have articles published in the British Flute Society (BFS) Journal, Flute, America’s Flute Talk Magazine, The National Flute Association (NFA) Journal and the International Flute Journal.
I am an active member of the British Flute Society, the National Flute Association (NFA), the USA College Music Society (CMS), the British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE), the Royal Musical Association (RMA) and the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM).
Qualifications: I am a specialist in the tango flute music of the Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla. I earned a PhD for my research in combining flute performance + tango+ (ethno)musicology at the University of Huddersfield, England, UK. I also hold a BMus in Flute Performance from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, Colorado, USA and a MMus in Flute Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, UK. To support my ongoing work as an educator I have also undergone training in Transactional Analysis through Iron Mill College, UK.
Collaboration: Performing with another musician is like an unscripted couple’s dance that naturally unfolds when there is a shared vision. A glance into the eyes of your partner will help you to anticipate their next big move; their chosen step dictates where yours will go next. Hopefully they’ll display a new smooth groove you’ll want to sample, too.
The international duo partners that I have collaborated with over the years have allowed the space for a ‘dance’ to happen for audiences across the globe. These have included Stephanie Morrison (piano, USA), Gregory Nisnevitch (guitar, Russia), Catherine Shackell (piano, UK), Anna Östberg (violin, Sweden), April Travers (piano, USA), Peter Nicholson (cello, UK), Emi Jarvi (vocals, USA), Arsentiy Kharitonov (piano, Russia), Dr. Marc Heeg (piano, USA), Hans Hess (guitar, Brazil). Jonathan Preiss (guitar, UK) and Petros Bouras (piano, Greece)
Teachers: Incredible flautists always appeared in my path when I was ready to receive their wisdom. I have studied with Jenny Paulson-Krueger, Katie Tomacek, Pamela Endsley, Karen Yonovitz, Maralyn Prestia, Janet Richardson, Richard Blake, Ian Clarke, Katie Gainham and Paulina Fain.
I have participated in masterclasses/ workshops/ or have had further lessons from Tadeu Coelho, Wissam Boustany, Walfred Kujala, James Galway, Keith Underwood, Carol Winsenc, Stephen Preston, Michele Debost, Marco Granados, Jim Walker, Chris Vadala, James Pellerite, Alexa Still, Paul Edmund-Davies and Lorna McGhee.
Beyond the Flute: I can’t stop talking about how the universe always reminds me of our bigger picture. How ordinary, tiny occurrences speak of our larger, miraculous existence.
I am passionate about championing for a compassionate treatment of animals, searching for the best Cornish cream tea ever made, practicing daily meditation, collecting vintage furniture and nurturing friendships.
In the evening I am usually cooking Mexican food, or free-style dancing to the weekly top-40 chart in my living room. You might also find me in the middle of an online Spanish lesson, reading poetry by Kahlil Gibran, in a yoga class, or on the Cornish cliffs with my black dog, Bobby, taking in the gorgeous scenery.
Favourite Quote: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”– Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus.