Born Auckland, New Zealand
Studied Auckland & Melbourne universities, Australian National Academy of Music, Griffith University
Likes Hiking, Tabby cats, Japanese language
Dislikes Writing a thesis on a MacBook on its last legs!
What first attracted you to the flute?
At seven years old I loved the way the flute sounded like birds singing!
Who are your flute heroes?
The flute players I admire most are musicians before they are flute players. The flute is simply a vessel for their musicality, and one gets the sense they could create music on any instrument. I’ve just been at a fabulous five-day course in Adelaide with world-renowned orchestral player Michael Cox and have returned so inspired. His passion and vision for his music-making leads him to make courageous musical decisions that are not limited by what we are taught the flute can do. By refusing to be constrained by the instrument he achieves sounds that have never been heard before – sounds so extraordinary that my instinctive reaction was to gasp or laugh out loud, which I did many times during the course.
Flautist Jennifer Timmins
You have a Bachelor of Science in addition to your music degrees – was there a moment when you knew music would be your career?
Although I would like to, and indeed intend to return to computer science someday, I am absolutely in love with my career as a freelance musician. On a daily basis I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to pursue a career that I am passionate about, and to share thought-provoking and meaningful music with my lovely audiences. The first time I experienced the incredible and overwhelming sense of community that comes with being a musician was during my high school orchestra’s performance of New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn’s Aotearoa Overture at the Auckland Town Hall in 2008. I realise it was at that moment that I knew music was inextricably intertwined with my future career.
Who have been your most important musical mentors and why?
Penelope Brawn-Douglas, for encouraging me to trust my musical voice. Luca Manghi, for sharing with me his love of New Zealand music. Margaret Crawford, for teaching me to be, first and foremost, a musician. Virginia Taylor, for helping me to develop versatility and a successful professional career.
Who are the composers you feel the closest affinity with?
The composers I feel the closest affinity with are those who are writing now, in countries where I live and work. As a citizen of New Zealand and a resident of Australia the music of both of these countries is very special to me. I feel it is important for performers to engage with the music of our contemporaries, as our shared experience gives us greater insight into the cultural and musical context within which it is written than can be obtained by any future generation. Performing the work of living composers provides a unique and invaluable opportunity to collaborate with and develop direct relationships with these composers.
Do you have a preference for performing as a soloist, chamber or orchestral musician?
What I love most about being a musician is the opportunity this career provides to collaborate with and be inspired by like-minded musicians of all instruments in orchestral and chamber music contexts. Music engenders a depth of connection with other human beings that I have seldom experienced in any other area of life. In addition, I have a great love of learning and working with others ensures I am consistently offered opportunities to learn new music, new rehearsal techniques, new styles of playing and communicating.
What have been the biggest highlights of your career so far?
An absolute highlight was winning the ANAM Chamber Music Competition in 2016, with a performance of the Stravinsky Octet. Other highlights include performing the 15-piece arrangement of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony alongside Ensemble Liaison and preparing Enno Poppe’s 75-minute Speicher on bass, alto and C flute with the Elision Ensemble as part of the 2016 Bendigo International Music Festival.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give to aspiring flute players?
Find music that you love and share it with the world. And one from Michael Cox: Always strive to make your audience smile.