FCNY Flutist Highlight: Jasmine Choi
Jasmine Choi shared with us what is on her stand, what is in her heart and what we can expect to see from her soon!
What has been inspiring Jasmine lately?
The number one take away of what has been inspiring her lately is TIME! As someone who is always on the go, time is something Jasmine is always pressed for. With everything stopping, working more from home, and concerts being canceled, there is a lot more time to work with.
“What is inspiring me is how much more time that I have. Time was the one thing I was always chased by, and I never had enough of. Now I can take a lot more time and I am so grateful for this. I can practice with a more comfortable feeling in my head and in my mind. I love this process of growing and progressing in flute playing, as well as becoming a better and a happier person with or without the flute.”
What does she always tend to keep on your music stand?
The Bach Partita (Barenreiter) is always on her stand.
“I think the Bach Partita is the one piece that flutists always have on their minds. When I see it there on my stand, I always play through a movement. It inspires me to get myself together and play, and then I go through other pieces that I need to practice. I have two stands in my room, one is like a painting called Bach Partita, and the other has what I really have to practice for the upcoming concerts.”
What is Jasmine currently practicing these days then?
Jasmine is practicing:
17 Daily Exercises By Taffanel and Gaubert
Rue Traversiere - The Flute Way Vol. 3 By Sophie Dufeutrelle, based on the T&G Exercises,
Suite de Trois Morceaux By Benjamin Godard
Bachianas Brasileiras No.6 for Flute and Bassoon By Villa Lobos
Fragments by Robert Muczynski.
There is also a few new pieces inspired by the pandemic that she just received, that we can hopefully hear more about soon!
“The 17 Daily Exercises by Taffanel and Gaubert is THE bible for every flutist. This is the book that my very first flute teacher asked me to bring in every week, and it has never left my music stand ever since. Now I’m also looking into this other book called “Rue Traversiere by Dufeutrelle” as well, which supplements the Taffanel and Gaubert book with interesting twists.”
“I’m going to play the Godard Suite in a recital in August. The funny thing is that this was perhaps one of the earliest pieces I’ve ever learned after picking up the flute- I still have my very first flute teacher’s handwritings on every page!! Considering this delicate piece requires the highest musical and technical abilities with all the slight nuances and phrasings- I think my very first teacher really had high hopes in me! But anyhow, I am very much enjoying learning this piece again these days.”
“Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No.6 for Flute and Bassoon. I have just performed the composer's Jet Whistle not too long ago so his style is still living inside of me. Like the Jet Whistle for Flute and Cello (https://www.facebook.com/flutenews/posts/10158430429387071), he amazes me by creating such a full texture out of only two instruments, and especially how he uses the full range of the flute’s registers with different expressions. I'm having a great fun learning these notes albeit so many and not very easy!
“The last piece that is on my stand is the Fragments by Robert Muczynski for the same chamber music recital coming up in July. It's written for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon. I have not played this work before, but it definitely reminds me of his Flute Sonata where he depicts his own harmonic languages and explores flute and other winds through contrasting atmospheres between placid simplicity and quirky jolliness.”
Can we expect any new releases from the arrangements that we love so much from Jasmine?
Jasmine has been partnering with Theodore Presser to release her different flute arrangements for years, and has many more years of arrangements for us to look forward to! This year the Paganini Caprice no. 24 came out and we can expect the Mendelssohn violin concerto to come out soon! We carry a wonderful selection of Jasmine’s arrangements, check them out!
Does she think that music has helped us during these uncertain times we are in?
“Of course! Imagine going through this time without music. Not only musicians, but non musicians too. The arts are an essential part of our basic human life, as well as connecting with people. For that, I have to thank modern technology because I feel like I am more connected to people than ever. This time has made people realize how important music and arts is in our life. Virtual concerts have been so meaningful right now; this is the closest thing we can do for the given time and situation. We should not be playing less.”
Jasmine mentioned the Bernstein quote that we all know and love, that can definitely be applied to today’s times.
“This will be our reply to violence. To make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” Leonard Bernstein.
There was one piece of music that Jasmine thinks everyone MUST know/learn:
Mozart Andante in C! Like the Godard suite mentioned earlier, it is one of the first pieces that she learned, loved and treasured.
“You can sing to it so easily. It is not so technically challenging, but as you revisit it year after year, you realize new challenges and how you can always learn something more, no matter which playing level you’re currently in.”
Jasmine gave us some beautiful advice for aspiring flutists!
“Don’t be so anxious in thinking about where you should be or how you should be playing. When you focus on the joy of playing itself and making slight progress every day, then one day you’ll look back and notice, “oh, I am already where I wanted to be!” Take things step by step rather than looking ahead too far. Enjoy the present and the process, always with a thankful heart.”
"The goddess of flute"- Korea Times
“Jasmine Choi is a revisionist"- Philadelphia Inquirer
"One of best flutists in the history of music"- Sinfini Magazine, UK
Flutist Jasmine Choi is a full-time flute soloist who is based in Austria between concert tours. A pupil of Julius Baker and Jeffrey Khaner from Curtis Institute of Music and Juilliard School, she had served a position as principal flute of the Vienna Symphony and the associate principal flute of the Cincinnati Symphony. Jasmine enjoys a variety of genres from classical solo, chamber, and orchestral to experimental, jazz, and pop. Her infinite curiosity has also led her to make her own arrangements of major violin works, commission new pieces for flute, record ten solo albums and singles, and recently has launched “Learning Together” live stream series for the young flutists via YouTube.