Community School Spotlight: Scott Quirk

Scott Quirk, 16, studies flute with Jim Walker. He has been playing flute for five years, and this is his second year at Colburn. Besides private lessons, he takes music theory with Kathy Sawada, plays chamber music, and plays in the Colburn Youth Orchestra. Scott lives in Simi Valley.

This interview has been lightly edited for style and clarity.

How did you get started on the flute?
I started the flute because my dad went to a pawnshop and bought one for me, just out of nowhere. I didn’t even ask for it. I actually started music on the saxophone originally, but once my dad got me the flute I just went from there and played the flute.

So you liked the flute more than the saxophone?
I like the flute more than anything.

Why do you love music?
I love music because I love the chills. I love when I hear a song and it just sounds so pleasing that you just get the chills and it makes you feel like everything’s perfect.

How did you find Colburn?
I found Colburn by looking up my current teacher, Jim Walker. I saw that he teaches here so it urged me to come audition and study with him.

What’s your favorite thing that you do here?
My favorite thing is the Colburn Youth Orchestra. I really like playing with good musicians, and I really like the conductor, Maxim.

You commute for an hour to get to Colburn. Why do you do it?
I love Colburn. That’s pretty much the main reason why, and I think it’s the best education that I can get in the area, or pretty much the world. I think this is a great place to study for everyone. That’s why I do it.

Why do you love Colburn?
I love Colburn because one, I love the campus. I think it’s really pretty. I love the teachers, I think I have the best teacher in the world and that’s why I want to continue studying with him in the Conservatory. I love the people; I love being surrounded by music. I like how it’s diverse. Those are a few reasons why.

What’s your favorite kind of repertoire?
My favorite things to play are concertos or solo pieces that really show off the flute’s technical side. I really like music from the Romantic period on—that’s my favorite—but I enjoy everything.

Are you working on anything like that now?
Yeah, I do concertos and solos. Actually in a few weeks I’m going to be playing a concerto with an orchestra. I’ll be playing the Ibert flute concerto, that’s my favorite one. It’s with the Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra, and I’m just playing the first two movements of the concerto. It was just their youth soloist competition.

Do you think classical music is dying?
I think that classical music is right in the middle because for example, the LA Phil is one of the most prominent US orchestras and obviously they play classical music all the time and everyone loves them and they’re doing really well. And there are other orchestras on a similar level like the NY Phil, etc. So I think that classical music is doing very well, but I also think that not enough people are listening to it and I don’t think that there’s enough music in schools to keep that going. I would say that I think that we should try to promote it more.

Do you have any ideas on how to do that?
Making more music programs in schools at a younger age. I didn’t have music programs in my school. A lot of outreach concerts that are free that anyone, including children, can listen to.

Have you done anything like that before?
I have. I played in an elementary school before with some of my friends and we let the kids try different instruments and I helped them with the woodwinds and we got to perform for them. I was asked to do that and so I said yes right away. I’ll definitely do more of this in the future. I feel like it’s kind of hard for me to find things to do like that in different venues, but I get asked by various people every once in a while, and I always do it.

What are your plans for the future?
The ultimate goal is to go to Colburn for conservatory. That would just be an absolute dream come true; there’s nothing I want more than to do that. I just want to go to college and get my bachelor’s and master’s degree. My goal is to just play the flute forever in any way I can, whether it’s in an orchestra or solo or studio recording. I just want to play the flute.

Do you have any hobbies outside music?
I have a fascination with languages. I like to learn a lot of different things about different languages. Right now, I’m trying to learn Korean. One of my cousins speaks French, so I took two years of that. So that’s sort of a hobby. When I’m not practicing, I’m looking up languages.

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