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Meet the SLSO: Jennifer Nitchman, Flute

Updated: Nov 15, 2019

What’s the most exciting thing about having a new music director this season?

I love the challenge and the energy that comes with thinking about music in a different way. The flute has a very rich legacy based in France so I am particularly excited about Stéphane’s insights into phrasing and style in French music.

How do you prepare for the first rehearsal of a concert cycle?

I generally like to look at the music for any concert cycle a few weeks before and flag any passages that will take a lot of extra time to perfect. Then I listen to anything that is either new to me or that I haven’t played in a long time. Depending on how challenging that particular repertoire is, I will either put it at the back of the pile for a bit or it will get a little bit of attention every day until the concert gets closer and it becomes a main priority. It’s important to be very prepared but to remain flexible about what the tempo and phrasing will be so that you can execute what the conductor is asking for. It’s a delicate balance!

If you had to play another instrument, what would it be and why?

I definitely have string player envy. They have so much great chamber music repertoire to play! And playing Second Flute all these years has really made me aware of how amazing the middle lines of a piece can be. I think I might choose the viola!

What other creative endeavors or hobbies do you have in addition to performing with the SLSO?

I love to cook and I read lots of cookbooks. I would say I’m a gardener, but I really only enjoy growing vegetables even though I’m not great at it yet. I also serve on the board of Tenth Life Cat Rescue. They prioritize helping cats with special needs and I adopted a blind cat named Stevie from them. He is a real character so I narrate what I imagine he would say on an Instagram account (@steviepeeperscat). It always makes me smile if I’m in a bad mood!

What are three things you love about St. Louis?

I definitely love all of our beautiful parks, especially Tower Grove Park and Francis Park. I really enjoy all the museums in town, and I particularly appreciate that most are free so you can just pop in an enjoy a little beauty even if you don’t have a lot of time. And I really love that we have a lot of amazing institutions and “city” amenities but it’s generally really relaxed and easy to get around and exist here. I think we have a great quality of life!


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