September 2021

Flute Bros Artist Interview with Gabe & Jake Fridkis

Hailed by the Dallas Morning News for his “radiant tone and generous expressivity”, and the Fort Worth Star Telegram for his “musicianship, clear sound, precise intonation, and empathic dynamic levels”,  Jake Fridkis has quickly established himself as one of the leading flutists of his generation. Currently principal flutist in the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, he has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Louis Symphony and as guest principal flute with the Dallas Symphony and Norwegian Radio Orchestra. He is on the faculty at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro North Carolina and The Conducting Institute in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Gabe Fridkis is quickly establishing himself as a distinguished orchestral performer and sought after soloist. He currently holds the position of Assistant Principal Flute in the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Previously Gabriel was the Principal Flute in the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra in addition to being a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Gabriel has also performed with the San Antonio Symphony, the Nashville Symphony. Gabriel received a Bachelor of Music degree from SUNY Purchase Conservatory and a Masters from DePaul University, his primary teachers include Gary Schocker, Mark Sparks, and Dr. Tara Helen O’Connor.

How has the Pandemic affected your career?

Gabe: We have been incredibly lucky with the way the Fort Worth Symphony has treated it’s musicians during the pandemic. I can’t say enough good things about our management. Due to that, the pandemic has affected my career very little.

Jake: We actually stepped away from sharing music online in the early part of the pandemic. We just kind of started posting memes and funny stuff, trying to bring joy and fun to the flute community. It was such a tough time for so many people and that was our way of trying to bring some happiness and laughter.

What creative ways have you focused on to combat the challenges brought forward by the pandemic?

Jake- I definitely took some time away from practicing. I spent the last 6 years going from grad school, straight into my first job, all while still auditioning, which landed me in my current job in Fort Worth where we play 46 weeks out of the year. During our summer break I teach and play at the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina for five weeks. Between that and various outside opportunities, I realized I hadn’t taken a solid week off in years. I used the pandemic as an opportunity to recharge and get back to playing the music I was excited about learning.

What does your schedule look like for the next 6 months? 

Jake- I am currently finishing up our season at EMF and then on to our season in Fort Worth. We are playing Afternoon of a Faun, Brahms 1 and a lot of other exciting repertoire in the first half of the year so I’ll be focused on that. I’m also looking forward to performing the Lieberman Concerto in January for the first time. Besides that, making time to keep writing and arranging duos and recording for Instagram on the side. We love being able to share our music with a wide and diverse audience, not just in the concert hall. We always try to make sure we make time for that.

Gabe: I’ll be spending some time back east with my family (the part that’s not Jake) now that travelling is a thing again! Trying to stay in musical shape for our upcoming season, it’ll be a big adjustment getting back to a full time schedule and I want to make sure I take plenty of time to ensure I’m ready to go on day one. I don’t really have much of a schedule besides that. I’ll probably have to learn how to make a schedule again.

What are your goals personally? 

Gabe: I think as long as I’m always actively engaged in learning and moving forward in some way, I’m pretty happy. I don’t think as much about setting goals as I do about general trajectory. There are always checkpoints along trajectories but the more I focus on the process and the less on the result, the better I feel and the better I do. It took me a long time to realize that.

What are your goals professionally?

Jake: I’ve always said my goal was to make a living as a flute player and I am so lucky to have been able to do that. Anything else at this point feels like a bonus!

Gabe: I feel very lucky to have a job as a performing musician. After this past year that’s all I’m focused on. We have a great community and workplace here in Fort Worth.

What inspires you the most in life?

Jake: Honestly having a brother who plays flute as well as Gabe has been pretty inspiring musically. Gotta make sure I keep up!

Gabe: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

Jake: Now I feel like I should have said the Rock also, much better answer.

What has been your greatest challenge?

Jake: I have to say I don’t really feel like I’ve had a “greatest challenge”. Just setting goals and trying to meet them. You can look at falling short of those goals as the challenge itself or a challenge to improve yourself.

What is the most exciting thing in your life right now?

Jake: Being in the flute view…. Duh.

Gabe: I’m excited that live music is a thing again. Also live theatre. Just live stuff is pretty great. I know it’s what we all had to do for a while there, but the whole streaming thing never did it for me, artistically. There is so much value in physical presence, in space, and I’m excited for that to be back.

What are you completely bored with right now?

Gabe: TV. I think the pandemic broke TV for me, possibly forever. Send help. Or just good show suggestions?

Jake: Playing socially distanced. Never knew how much I don’t need my personal space.

What is keeping you busy these days?

Jake: Trying to train my puppy, Mango.

Gabe: Working out, reading, trying to remember how to play piccolo, forgetting why I was trying to remember how to play piccolo, going through an 80s rock phase, gonna see where that takes me.

One habit you wish you could break?

Jake: Saying the words “like” and “um”.

Gabe: I would definitely reduce my coffee intake if I weren’t afraid that it’s 60% of my blood at this point and cutting it out would send me into an involuntary state of hibernation.

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Gabe: Whatever Captain America has, I want that.

Jake: Playing Classical Symphony well? I would love that one.

What is one thing you wish you knew at 19?

Jake: The people you go to school and festivals with will be your colleagues for life. Make sure you always represent yourself in a way you would be proud of and don’t worry about the little things! Also, try to learn from the people around you. Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned  were from peers who were going on the same musical journey as me.

Gabe: Jake hit the nail on the head. Be kind and be humble. You’re not as good as you think you are and you’re certainly not as bad.

What is your Spirit Animal?

Jake: Maybe a kangaroo? Or a rhino, rhinos are pretty huge.

Gabe: Gotta be the dog from Coco.

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