Emily Skala serves as Principal Flute. She commented, “Sometimes I play piccolo, alto flute, tin whistle and recorder. Once I played fife with my colleagues for a recording of music by Charles Ives when David Zinman was music director.”
What will the Baltimore Symphony leave behind in its next 100 years?
Hopefully a full-size ensemble of 105-120 musicians who are paid like the professionals they are, and a legacy of first class recordings with music directors who ought to be remembered for a long time to come!
Who or what inspires you?
I am often inspired by a captivating, soulful sonority coming from my colleagues or guest soloists. When someone has something both original and heartfelt to convey, and when orchestra and conductor are completely aligned in performance.
If you had to do something other than be a Baltimore Symphony Musician, what would you do for a living?
This is a very hard choice to make, if not impossible. I had trouble with this question in high school, too. For me there was only one answer. But secretly I wish I could know if I have what it takes to be a successful singer.
Where is your favorite get-away spot?
My favorite spot is anywhere in the mountains and woodlands. It takes me back to what I knew as a child; a simpler and more pure time, when I was at one with my world, happy, excited, full of enthusiasm.
Where would people be surprised to find you?
People might be amused to find me at the local miniature golf course or surprised to see me looking after my fish, frogs, and salamanders in my pond; or they may be shocked to see me rescuing a snake trapped in the garage.
What piece of music do you feel like was written for you?
I am connected to almost anything from the Baroque period or any of the works written by Gustav Mahler!
What or who influenced you to be a professional musician?
My family was very influential. Both parents were pianists and my mother was a cellist with the Vermont Philharmonic. I am told I was singing flawlessly at age 3. And we danced to polkas in the living room on a regular basis. The phonograph and the radio were constantly in use, as if music were our daily bread. We watched the great ballet companies of the world on television, I spent hours listening to my Mom teach her piano students at home, and we went to concerts regularly. My Grandfather was on the Board of Directors of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since before I was born and my Grandmother was on the Women’s Auxiliary Committee of the symphony as well. They gave parties in their home for members of the orchestra. I am told my Grandmother had a crush on the Principal Flutist of the time, the tall, dark, and very handsome Albert Tipton. Even more exciting, my Grandfather was the founder of the Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra.
As you can see, it was just all around me, all of the time. But I chose the flute, to my knowledge, when I saw the Boston Symphony Orchestra broadcasts over CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) telecasts. Amazingly, despite all of this exposure to classical music, it wasn’t until I was mid-way through high school that I learned it was possible to be a paid professional musician and that there were schools specializing in the training of professional musicians!
What do you like to do with your ”me time”?
I am an avid reader of non-fiction, I love going to movies. Oh, and I feed the birds, cuddle with my kitties, and teach myself ways to be a steward of the environment.
How do you give back to our community?
I have raised an intelligent, aware, sensitive, informed, compassionate and capable daughter – and I teach music! Is there any other way, really?