Emily Passini: October Featured Flutist

The Flute Studio at Oklahoma State University is excited to announce our Featured Flutist for October 2017: Emily Passini! Every month, we will be highlighting a studio member with interviews, articles, and pictures. We hope you enjoy getting to know our talented and diverse studio!

  Studio LogoEmilyFluteSquare

Master of Music in Music Performance

Where are you from and what brought you to OSU? I was born in Iowa but grew up in a small town called Dalzell in Illinois. I decided to come to graduate school at OSU mainly because of our flute professor, Dr. Broffitt-Kunzer. I met her quite a few years ago when I was still in highschool when she was teaching in Illinois, and I had always thought about studying with her since then. I visited OSU and auditioned, and it seemed like the perfect fit.

When and why did you start playing the flute? I started playing the flute when I was seven years old. I had taken piano lessons for about a year prior to starting flute, and I remember trying flute at the music studio open house and liking it. 

What are some of your hobbies and interests? I really enjoy baking and cooking as well as crafting, watching movies, and traveling. Also, I know everyone says this, but I love spending time with my family and friends, especially because I do not get to see them as much as I would like to. :-)

Who are your favorite composers and recordings? This question is tough because there are so many great composers out there! I would have to narrow it down to a few. The first being Dmitri Shostakovich: the Berlin Philharmic has a great recording of my favorite symphony, Symphony No. 5 in D minor. I also enjoy listening to works by Brahms and Sibelius. In addition, I love film scores, especially scores composed by Michael Giacchino, Hans Zimmer, and Alan Menken.

Who are your music mentors and what have you learned from them? My music mentors are my flute professors. I took lessons with Sue Gillio starting in first grade up until my senior year of high school, and I still go back to see her during the summer at flute camp and during breaks. I've learned so much from her, but things that stick out the most are that music and hard work can make such an impact on a community, and that there always new ways of inspiring people through art and music. My next mentor is Dr. Sonja Giles, professor of flute at Iowa State University. When I started college I was still unsure about a career in music, and studying with her really solidified my career path for me. She is a positive, hard-working, and encouraging teacher who taught me to believe in myself and to keep going when life gets tough. Lastly, Dr. Virginia Broffitt-Kunzer. I have learned many things from her but what has inspired me the most is her teaching style; because of her I have learned to love teaching and try to be the best teacher I can be to my current and future students. 

Where are your favorite places to eat? I eat chick-fil-a so much that it is embarassing, but I love it. But other than that my favorite restaurants are Hickory Park and El Azteca, which are both in Ames, IA, Portillo's in Chicago, and Verucchi's Ristorante in Spring Valley, IL--their fried chicken is the best you'll ever have. 

What is the most valuable lesson that music has taught you? Music has taught me that we should spend life doing what we love the most. With that, it has taught me that doing what you love the most will not always be easy. Failure and rejection is bound to happen, but being a part of music makes all of the struggles seem worth it.

What stands out as your favorite musical memory? I have three distinct musical memories that I still think about often. I had the opportunity to travel and perform with the Iowa State Wind Ensemble to Europe for two weeks back in 2015. We visited Italy, Austria, and Germany. Getting the chance to make and share music with so many people internationally was such an awesome and rewarding experience that I will cherish forever. The second memory would be performing Shostakovich's fifth symphony with the ISU orchestra at the end of my final year at Iowa State. I learned so much about collaboration and orchestral playing while being part of that ensemble for two years, and my final performance with them was one to remember. Lastly, I auditioned and got to perform at Jim Walker's Beyond the Masterclass in both 2014 and 2015. I met many great and talented flutists and grew significantly as a musician while being there.

What are your favorite things about the Flute Studio and the School of Visual + Performing Arts? My favorite thing about the Flute Studio is being the Teaching Assistant for Dr. Broffitt-Kunzer. I enjoy getting to know everyone in the studio and I am also getting more teaching experience, where I learn a lot working with students on fundamentals and other aspects of flute playing. After going through a similar degree plan as most of the underclassmen, it is nice to be able to give them pointers and extra help while they are working on their degree--I was in their shoes just a few years ago. 

What is your guilty pleasure? Shopping at Target is my guilty pleasure. The fact that Stillwater does not have one was almost a deal breaker for me when deciding on grad schools. Luckily, Edmond is only 40 minutes away. 

Do you have any tips or advice for younger flutists? Start fundamentals early. When I was growing up, my flute lesson teacher had us learn scales and arpeggios, work on sight reading, and do technique classes from a young age. It has really helped me in the long run. 

What are five fun facts about you?
1. Unlike most people in Illinois these days, I am a proud Chicago White Sox fan.
2. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
3. My taste in music ranges from Billy Joel to La La Land to Ed Sheeran to ABBA to the Pocahontas soundtrack to Hall&Oates and everything inbetween. You should see my current playlist, it makes no sense. 
4. I have watched the entire series of The Office SO many times but it never gets old, so I keep going back to it.
5. My grandpa is my best friend.

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