Jamie Pedrini, principal flute, has been with the California Philharmonic not only since it's inception, but since the inception of it's predecessor orchestra. Prior to the Cal Phil, Maestro Vener started the Pasadena Pops, of which Ms. Pedrini was also principal flute. As the original Pasadena Pops dissolved and the Cal Phil was born, Dr. Victor Vener brought Ms. Pedrini, along with many other musicians, to his new ensemble. "Vic is loyal to his musicians, which is a unique feature," she says fondly of the Maestro, with whom she has worked for so many years.
Having journeyed with the orchestra for it's 20 year life span, and having played in all the numerous venues the Cal Phil has performed in, from the Santa Anita race track, to the Ambassador Auditorium to the Arboretum, Jamie Pedrini has the experience to gauge how far the orchestra has come and appreciates what a real "step-up playing in Disney Hall is." She also appreciates how many members in the Cal Phil have also played in the orchestra for such a long time, building a real sense of camaraderie. "I like that Vic relates so well to the audience," she says of Maestro Vener. "He educates the masses on the background of the music, and we (the musicians) learn things when he is giving his pre-talk." She reflects on her experience during concerts. "It's an important service to classical music," she feels, "as he mixes pops and classical, making it accessible and fun." Which seems to be the trademark of the California Philharmonic, making it it's own unique ensemble, doing it's own unique service for the community.
As well as playing for the Cal Phil Ms. Pedrini also is a member of the Pasadena Pops Orchestra, Westwood Chamber Orchestra, the Laguna Pageant of the Masters Orchestra, the Santa Barbara Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay, Los Angeles Woodwind Quintet and was a longtime member of the Orange County Master Chorale Orchestra. She has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras as well, including Arroyo Strings, Pasadena Pops, Irvine Symphony, Orange County Master Chorale, Burbank Symphony, Westwood Chamber Orchestra, and the West Coast Symphony. This being Hollywood, like most other instrumentalists in the Cal Phil, she has also played on numerous recording sessions.
Jamie, one of six sisters, grew up in a family that really nurtured music. "Everybody played something." Her mother was a piano teacher with a beautiful singing voice and her father, who worked in public service for the government, had a strong tenor voice. "Music was always a real important ethic in our family," she recalls, and though it wasn't necessary to pursue as a career in the field, 3 of the 6 sisters (including Jamie of course) are professional musicians. She is also the cousin of internationally acclaimed opera singer Rodney Gilfrey who has performed as a soloist with the Cal Phil, not to mention the Metropolitan Opera House and The Royal Opera House Covent Garden. "It's a great family," she expresses, knowing the value of being able to share music with each other. And, as many Cal Phil members have, she has passed the musical gene onto her only child, her son, a composer, who is a Berklee College of Music graduate.
In general, passing the music down is a focus of Ms. Pedrini's, not just to her kid, but to the many students she has had the pleasure of interacting with over the years. "I love teaching," she declares. "Giving back is important." She acknowledges that she is fortunate enough to have the best of both worlds, being both a performer and an educator. She teaches flute at the exclusive Chandler School in Pasadena and chamber music at Pasadena City College. Recently, she added an academic class at PCC unrelated to music, that teaches students essential skills they may not receive in school. Life skills, team-work, networking how to study, are all taught by Jamie in this very valuable course. "It uses my brain in a different way. It is mind-expanding." Jamie Pedrini exemplifies how the musicians of the California Philharmonic, like the orchestra itself, are ever-expanding, sharing new gifts and experiences with the community.