Jasmine Choi Artist Interview
Jasmine Choi is a full-time soloist based in Austria. A former principal of the Vienna Symphony, she has recorded CDs under Sony Classical, published flute method books and arrangements, and invented SmartCase. A graduate of Curtis Institute and Juilliard School with Julius Baker and Jeffrey Khaner.
What does your schedule look like for the next six months?
In a few days, I’m flying out to Dubai to perform Mozart’s G Major flute concerto and then off to Rome to record the Shor flute concerto. And then, I’ll be performing the Khachaturian concerto in Macao, then to Korea for a lot of chamber music and recitals, and also get to perform the Khachaturian concerto again. I’m also excited to perform in Canada (Vancouver) for the first time and also to tour again in Japan after a long pause since the Covid outbreak. And to Spain again for chamber concerts with such wonderful musicians. But this year, I’m so thankful that I get to come back to the US very often. Besides the Flutes by the Sea in San Francisco (Half Moon Bay), I’ll be in New York again for the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, Sarasota Festival in Florida, Beethoven Festival in Minnesota, Cello Plus Festival in Michigan, as well as having recitals in Dallas and Cincinnati. And also, it looks like I’ll be teaching and coaching a lot at numerous masterclasses and festivals this year, and I’m so thrilled to meet so many talented young flutists out there!
What are your goals personally? Professionally?
As a performer, the priority is to be in your best shape for the next concert. We are extremely lucky to make a living out of what we love, however, we shouldn’t fall into this trap to treat what we do as a mere hobby. It takes not only a lot of passion but a lot of discipline as well, in order to be able to share this beautiful music in its best possible form with the audience who totally deserves to receive some unforgettable experience.
My personal goal is to be happy and content every day. The modern society we’re in often tries to define for us what success is- but the true and real success, however, is to be happy every day! This requires having a healthy mind and body, doing what you love doing, surrounded by people you absolutely love. And I can proudly say that I reach this “happiness” goal pretty much every day. I’m not saying it’s about being always happy even in some devastating circumstances, but it’s more about embracing everything that is happening around you, taking all in, and moving on to keep doing what you still can be doing, always with a grateful heart.
What inspires you the most in life?
There are certain people who inspire me constantly. Some are musicians and some are in different occupations. Not necessarily those fancy celebrities but normal people around us in our everyday lives. Mostly I’m inspired not by what they do for a living but by what they do for society with what they do. And also how they think, how they perceive this world around us, and the kind mindsets they have, etc. are what make our community go around for the better and more positive ways. Some people are like a light- they’re glowing from the inside out and their beautiful minds shine through to inspire us. And I go like, “wow that’s exactly how I’d like to live in this world!”
What is the most exciting thing in your life right now?
I’m actually very excited about the next chapter in my life. Let’s say, so far I’ve spent most of my professional life acquiring all the musical skills on the flute. And I think now it’s about time that I start giving more of my knowledge and guiding young musicians to reach their dreams as well. I will be still performing a lot, but I’m also planning to squeeze my schedule into more teachings whenever possible.
I’m aware of how important it is to have good teachers in everyone’s life and in that regard I’m also a product of many dedicated teachers who gave me so much value and shaped me into who I am now. So it’s a natural reciprocation for me to give and hand over these priceless musical traditions to the younger generations and I know that I’ll do this with all my heart.
What are you completely bored with right now?
Hmm, I guess I’m rarely bored. Even when I was going through quarantines (altogether 10 times!) during the peak of the pandemic it almost never occurred to me that I was bored! And also during the long hours in flights without any internet I actually enjoy the peaceful time that I cannot be reached by anyone:) Perhaps I only get bored when waiting for the green light at the crossing!
What is keeping you busy these days?
Apart from preparing for the next concerts, I’m busy finishing up the next publications. One is with Theodore Presser Company, and together we’re working on some fundamental flute methods- I am not allowed to reveal it completely just yet, but it’s going to be a very exciting book.
And the other publication coming up is a 4-book-set of popular tunes (including all different genres) for flute and piano, which will be published by Seoul Music Publishing.
And for the previous books with Seoul Music Publishing, the Flute Method Books 1 & 2 for beginners, I’ve made about 160+ teaching videos, going through every chapter from these method books so that the beginners can start learning the flute much easier even in their own living rooms.
Lastly, I’ve just filmed a whole bunch of masterclass videos for the Henle Masterclass Series, talking about some flute fundamentals like tone, vibratos, articulations, and circular breathing, and also worked on these substantial flute pieces by Telemann, Bach, and Debussy.
One habit you wish you could break?
I have several, haha! But the biggest habit I’d like to break is that I tend to say yes to so many things, and then I’m either too busy or I’m too overwhelmed that I end up procrastinating. Sometimes it takes weeks and months even to start. Any advice for me?
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I wish I had a superpower so that I could learn all the pieces automatically without practicing, haha!
What is one thing you wish you knew at 19?
As far as I can remember, I was always extremely scared about so many things during my teenage days and also well into my 20s as well. But looking back, this was perhaps what got me delving deeper into music and pondering more about what life meant, etc. If I could say one thing to my 19-year-old self, though, I’d probably tell her that “everything will be just fine, and you’re doing great.”