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MY STORY

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I started formally studying the flute when I was 7, with the wonderful teachers who taught at the studios in the House of Woodwinds. My first teacher, Dale Harris, was a band specialist who had published his own method books. I remember our family having dinner at his home once. At the end of the meal, he quizzed me on the various key signatures. Good thing I answered correctly, or I might have missed out on dessert! After working with Mr. Harris, I moved on to the gifted performer and teacher Gary Gray, who happened to be the principal flutist of the Oakland Symphony at the time. How nice that my first orchestra position was the one he once held before he moved on to the San Francisco Symphony.

 

When I was 15 I attended my first masterclass with the dynamic French flutist Alain Marion, given at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. By the end of the week, his expressive playing and energetic teaching style had captivated me. By the time I was 17 I’d graduated high school and I was off to Paris to study with the great Monsieur Marion. 

Paris was more beautiful and exciting than I could ever have imagined. The Marions took me in as one of their own and the memories of our shared adventures are as dear to me as are those of my flute lessons. And what lessons they were! Every note was important and had to be well thought out and expressive. What a wonderful philosophy, not just applied to music, but also to everyday life.

After my stay in Paris I returned to the U.S. to attend the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where I studied with the elegant flutist James Pappoutsakis of the the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestra.  When "Mr. P" was not teaching me the finer points of orchestral playing, we enjoyed discussing our shared Greek heritage, something we were both very proud of. My time at NEC was cut short when I went home for the summer and happened to hear about an audition for the Oakland Symphony, which I attended and won. My college education  continued at Mills College and the San Francisco Conservatory as I took my first steps as a professional musician in the Bay Area.

 

I was 20 when I was appointed principal flutist of the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, which made its home at the historic Paramount Theater on Broadway. During my 11 years there I worked alongside some excellent colleagues conductors, and guest artists such as Calvin Simmons, Kent Nagano, Itzhak Perlman, Andre Watts, and even a few sports figures such as Peggy Fleming, Scott Hamilton, and the Oakland A’s! I consider those years to be my formative ones in learning how to perform, not just as an orchestral player, but also as a soloist and chamber musician, and I'm very grateful to all of the conductors and musicians who taught me so much.

 

In 1982 my father presented me with a beautiful flute he made himself. I'd been helping him with some head joint design ideas as he developed his signature instrument, but he didn't need much help. He had a vision of how the flute should feel and sound, and my job was to play the prototypes and give him feedback. He made a total of 500 handcrafted flutes, and they’re now considered collector's items, sought after for their full range of color and easy response. While I have collected a few other instruments along the way, Dad's original flute is still my favorite and the one I use for recitals and recording.

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One of the high points of my years in the Oakland Symphony was teaming up with principal cellist Dan Reiter and principal harpist Natalie Cox to form the Pacific Arts Trio. At the time, a trio of flute, cello, and harp was not common because the repertoire for that instrumentation was limited, but luckily for us Dan is a brilliant composer and arranger, and his work provided us with enough repertoire to make a few recordings and to tour for many years throughout the California and Alaska under the auspices of the Columbia Artists Management touring program. 

Another notable chamber music affiliation was with The Flute Exchange, founded by my good colleague and friend Richard McHenry, who brought together some of the best and most fun loving flutists in the Bay Area. We played and recorded original works for flute ensemble as well as Richard's masterful arrangements. His transcriptions gained so much popularity in the flute world that we were invited to perform them at the National Flute Association conference in Kansas City, MO in 1994 and again in Atlanta, GA in 1999. 

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My collaborations with pianists have been many, from my 1978 debut recital with pianist Kathryn Stott in London’s Wigmore Hall, to more recent performing and recording with my dear friend British pianist Zoë Smith. We've had the great pleasure of working together in the U.S., Mexico, and the U.K., and in 1997, Zoë and I commissioned American composer Nancy Bloomer-Deussen to write a piece for us based on the Ancient Greek legend of Pegasus, the winged horse. We premiered the piece in 1998 and recorded it shortly thereafter on our album "Myths and Legends", an homage to my teacher Alain Marion. Sections of this recording were selected for Sony Music Entertainment’s “Spotlight on Music” program.

 

In 1990 I began playing with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. What a marvelous 10 years those were, working with a world class orchestra and internationally recognized conductors and singers. One of the most memorable moments for me was recording a live performance of Massenet's Herodiade featuring Renée Fleming, Placido Domingo, and Dolores Zajick in the title roles with Valery Gergiev conducting. Another wonderful experience was performing in recital with mezzo Frederika von Stade and pianist Martin Katz. Ms. von Stade was one of the most gracious and generous artists I'd ever worked with, not just in her collaborations with fellow artists, but by offering her talent to various women's shelters and senior facilities, concerts I was very happy to be part of. Opera is a magnificent art form and my love of it continues to this day. 

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I’ve always enjoyed recording and in addition to my chamber music albums, I’ve done my fair share of studio recording. As principal flutist of the Skywalker Symphony, I had the opportunity to record with Linda Ronstadt, Aaron Neville and John Williams in his Star Wars Trilogy. My work on film sound tracks includes The Man Who Captured Eichmann and The Young Indiana Jones (Laurence Rosenthal), Dances With Wolves (John Barry), and several programs for National Geographic (Mark Adler). The convergence of live music and the recording arts is fascinating, and hearing or seeing the end product always seems magical to me.

My music career would not be complete without teaching. Helping students both young and old to discover their own voice is a joy and it's humbling to think I've had a small hand in guiding a future generation of musicians and music lovers. I’ve worked with some very bright young people as Instructor of Flute and Chamber Music at Mills College (1978-2005) and Holy Names College (Oakland, CA) and as Visiting Instructor at the Universidad Autonoma de México (Mexico City) and the Stratford International Festival (Stratford, U.K.). Teaching is a reciprocal endeavor, and looking back, I'm not sure who learned more, my students or me.

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ACT I

I was born into an artistic family in Oakland, California.

Mom was an accomplished classical pianist and fashion illustrator, and Dad was a jazz musician equally skilled in sax, clarinet, and flute. He was also an award-winning black and white photographer and our home was filled with his work, but my parents were probably best known for founding the House of Woodwinds, a music store specializing in (what else) woodwinds. The shop was truly a family affair, and I had several after-school jobs there ranging  from organizing the reeds to cataloguing sheet music. The clientele came from all over the world, and I got to meet and hear some of the greatest classical and jazz artists of the day. What a fun environment in which to grow up!

ACT II

In 2000 my life took a wonderful turn when I became mother to a beautiful boy.

I didn’t want to miss a minute of this great adventure, so I left the challenging schedule of orchestral work and focused on those projects that I could fit more easily into family life, such as chamber music and teaching. From a very young age my son accompanied me to lessons, rehearsals, concerts, and even the Stratford International Festival where the students taught him how to play soccer, and in one of my masterclasses he reminded them “if you’re playing the flute it should be fun!” Parenthood has opened my eyes to  a whole new way of seeing the world and finding inspiration, a perspective that inspires me to this day.

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ACT III

Now I’m enjoying a new adventure.

In 2018, my son went off to college, I married the wonderful jazz trumpeter, composer, and arranger Peter Anastos, and we moved from the Bay Area to the lovely town of Ashland OR, where we continue to pursue our musical dreams. To find out what we’re up to these days, check out the BLOG page of this website. And if you’re ever in the Rogue Valley, we hope to see you at one of our concerts!