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Flutist Megan Emigh: Constantly Discovering the Treasures in Music

Megan Emigh is principal flute with Symphony in C.

At first, “I really wanted to play the clarinet,” admits flutist Megan Emigh (pronounced AY-mee), who is principal flute for Symphony in C. She explains that the idea was to start, at age 4, on flute, and then switch later to the differently pitched clarinet, where a player has to learn how to transpose. But she liked the flute (even though her older sister already played one). “I never switched!”

Now Megan plays several instruments, including the piccolo, which she played for the Haddonfield Symphony before it became Symphony in C. She loves to tell students, when she visits schools with educational programs, to plug their ears when she pulls out the piccolo, because if they thought the flute could play high, watch out!

Megan's family moved from the Chicago area to Haddon Township so that she could attend the Juilliard Pre-College Division. Her father drove her the two hours to New York City every Saturday, but her musical family was used to such commitments: it was a five-hour drive from Chicago to Cincinnati, where she had studied with Bradley Garner. He taught at Juilliard and suggested she apply there.

Megan studied at the Basel Music Academy in Switzerland after Juilliard. And it was there that she learned yet another instrument, the Baroque flute. She fell in love with the Baroque sound-world and style of playing. “It’s a lot like jazz, with lots of opportunities for improvisation,” she says.

After Switzerland, she came back to the States, back to South Jersey, and back to Symphony in C, where she is now principal flute.

Chamber music is "ideal" for her, she says. And she loves the "enriching and stretching" symphonic playing, the school outreach, and the opportunities to play jazz and free improvisation in collaboration with other art forms, like dance. “I’m trying to find even more ways to build bridges...so that the audience will be fully engaged.”

Megan Emigh never did switch to the clarinet. And with the flute, piccolo, and Baroque flute she is in a constant discovery of music. “Honestly, I can’t remember a moment in my life when music wasn’t a part of it.”

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