As we kickoff Ensemble Échappé's inaugural season, we want you to get to know our musicians! First up, meet our phenomenal flutist, Izzy.
What got you interested in new music?
When I was about 10 years old my fabulous flute teacher Tanya Witek performed a piece called ‘Icicle’ by Robert Aitken and it was the first time I really heard a flute use extended techniques. It honestly sounded like she was three players in one and I was mesmerized! I have been hooked ever since.
Why are you excited about playing with Ensemble Échappé?
Where do I start? I am honored to be a member of EÉ, and I can’t wait for our first season! I am excited because this group is overflowing with talent, and I find working with people as incredible as these to be inspiring and a fun reminder of why I love playing music. The huge variety and difficulty of music we will be performing will keep me constantly on my toes, fresh, and energized for every performance. To me EÉ is the extreme sport of classical music, and that is thrilling.
Do you engage in any music styles other than "classical"? If so, what?
In the privacy of my own home, I’m an amateur rock guitarist, salsa dancer and quite successful R&B backup singer. Unfortunately, other than enjoying other styles of music, my performance skills are more suited for classical.
As someone who collaborates with living composers, do you ever write music?
Although I have not composed an original work, I became inspired to start arranging music by a chamber group I coached at a summer festival two years ago. My first achievement was an arrangement of The Lion King’s ‘The Circle of Life’ for a middle/high school flute quintet that included beat boxing. It was awesome! And now I find myself working on arrangements of concerti for my woodwind quintet, each to feature a different member of the ensemble.
What exciting projects do you have coming up in the next year or so?
This year is going to be really wonderful. I am happy to announce that as a result of winning first prize at the 2015 Myrna Brown Young Artists Competition, I will return to the Texas Flute Festival as a guest artist to teach a master class and perform a solo recital. I will make an appearance at the Five College New Music Festival with the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Music New Music Ensemble, as well as an appearance with Ensemble X at Cornell University. My woodwind quintet Xylem is working on a collaboration with composer Rex Isenberg to create a re-invention of Franz Schubert’s ‘Die Winterreise’ song cycle for woodwind quintet. I have also joined the Bridge Arts Ensemble as flute teaching artist. I am elated!
What's your favorite drink/cocktail?
Hendrick’s gin and tonic with lime and a splash of St. Germain.
Create a 5-track mixtape.
1. Talib Kweli ft. Mary J. Blige – “I Try”
2. Laura Mvula – “That’s Alright”
3. Norman Vladimir – “Crazy”
4. David Oistrakh – “Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 77: Johannes Brahms”
5. “Tehillim: Steve Reich”
Tell us a fun fact/story about your non-music life.
I resurrected the Yale School of Music intramural basketball team…’The Blockers’ (in honor of our Dean, Robert Blocker). Although we were not destined for the playoffs, we had a courageous season of 6 games, the highlight of which was one win over the School of Medicine.
Click to hear Izzy:
Click here to read Izzy's bio.
Watch Izzy perform Kate Soper's Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say: