Classical music

Why American flautist Travis Jones is studying music in Shanghai

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 August, 2015, 12:51am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 August, 2015, 12:51am

Flautist Travis Jones from the United States will join the Shanghai Orchestra Academy's three-year master of fine arts course at the end of August, demonstrating the appeal of the programme to young orchestral musicians outside  China.

The 24-year-old University of Michigan graduate is among the few non-Chinese intakes for the coming year. He was in Shanghai last spring for a final live audition.

"The biggest thing that struck me was the facilities. They're beautiful. A lot of things make it really attractive - the presence of the New York Philharmonic is one of the biggest draws," he says.

For Jones, orchestral music has always been his favourite because "that's where I'm the most comfortable and the least nervous".

"There's something about the energy, about being in the middle of all these other people. Projecting out into a hall as a flute player, it's really fun for me. As an undergrad I got to play in a lot of orchestras with my teacher. I would play second beside him. It was really cool to watch him work in an orchestra, and that's something that stuck with me. I think I learned twice as much sitting next to him as I did in private lessons, because you just do what he does, on the spot."

Originally from Tennessee, Jones started playing the flute at the age of 10. "I knew that I wanted to play some kind of woodwind instrument, and I honestly picked it because it was the shiniest. I wasn't interested in playing a brass instrument. I wanted to play something more melodic, I guess."