EMI loves to make music. That's pretty much it, but if you want a little more proof look no further than the hours of cassette tapes she burned through as a five-year-old, performing her heart out for no one but her younger sister.
Since then, she's brought her love of music and performing to wider audiences around the globe, sharing the stage as a flute player, singer, and composer with performers including Yo-Yo Ma, Paul Simon, James Taylor, and four U.S. Presidents, (though her inner teenager will tell you her career highlight was being called on stage to sing Oops I Did It Again at a Britney Spears concert.) You can catch one of EMI's future performances by checking out the LIVE link.
EMI loves to collaborate with other artists and learn about and absorb new kinds of music from around the world - she was born in Japan and raised in London and Boston, but moved to New York to study at The Juilliard School where she was hired upon graduation to the Ear Training faculty, where she makes faces like this (Britney taught EMI a lot), while torturing willing students in their quest for the best ears ever.
For a complete bio with all of the serious bells and whistles included, click here.
To listen to 5 year old EMI do dramatic readings about animals click here.
August 18th, 2022
At one point, I seriously considered going into Epidemiology full time. While that didn’t happen, it’s still something that I’m very passionate about, so when WQXR gave me the opportunity to combine my interest in disease with music in podcast form, I jumped! And...voilà! New series with WQXR out now! Episode 1 of 4, all delving into the impact of Syphilis on composers Franz Schubert, Bedrich Smetana, and Scott Joplin!
August 7th, 2022
I fell in love with Etienne Moulinié's 17th century song "Enfin la beauté que j'adore" and recorded a version of it with lutenist Paul Holmes Morton for my 2017 album Amour Cruel. A few years later, this footage from 1903 perfectly captures the mood!
July 29th, 2022
Of course the most famous Aqualung is Jethro Tull's iconic flute rock legend. This Aqualung is my arrangement of Michael Hersch's solo violin arrangement of Orlando Gibbons' "O Lord I Life My Heart to Thee" Gibbons' original is for 5 voices which Hersch reduces for double stopped solo violin. Upon hearing this solo violin version performed I was captivated and immediately wanted to challenge myself to see if I could make a version of Hersch's arrangement for solo flute. Thus - Aqualung - singing while playing the flute - an attempt to recreate Hersch's and Gibbons' beautiful and other worldly harmony.
June 6-9, 2022
As part of AMOC, Emi helps to shape the artistic programming for the festival and performs in concerts featuring music by Roscoe Mitchell, J.S. Bach, Michael Hersch, Julius Eastman, George Lewis, Matthew Aucoin, Orlando Gibbons, and Frederic Rzewski.
February 1st, 2022
Emi joins WQXR's 2022 Artist Propulsion Lab - It’s an honor to be a featured artist in WQXR’s 2022 Artist Propulsion Lab! I love what they’re doing to support the future of classical music. I’m so excited to pursue my projects across their platforms, share new recordings, commission new work, perform in The Greene Space, and more!
November 18th, 2021
Virtuoso flutist Emi Ferguson joins Les Délices for a program of riveting chamber works from the eve of the French and Haitian Revolutions. Inspired by philosophical ideals of liberty and equality and early abolitionist writing, we pair works by Joseph Bologne Chevalier de St. Georges and Luigi Boccherini with a new work by Haitian composer Sydney Guillaume.
October 25th, 2021
NYNME releases a new album "Soundings in Fathoms" - 6 works commissioned from American composers to be performed and recorded remotely. New music from B.K. Zervigón, Flannery Cunningham, Nathan Shields, Ed RosenBerg III, Tyson Davis, and Oren Boneh.
September 16th, 2021
Emi plays Gabriela Ortiz's piece Huitzitl at the 75th Ojai Music Festival in Ojai California. The first time the piece has been played on baroque flute since it was written in 1989!
June 12th, 2021
Emi, Conrad Harris, and Coleman Itzkoff premiere Michael Hersch's new trio for flute, violin, and cello "Cairns Hanging Figures" in the studio of Christopher Cairns.
April 17th, 2021
The Allemande from Bach's Partita for solo flute - one of my favorite pieces to play - is no less virtuosic today than the day he wrote it, asking flute players to traverse the full length of the instrument from the lowest note to the highest with a constant stream of 16th notes reminiscent of some of his other famous Preludes written for the Cello and Keyboard. One day as I sat alone during the pandemic, I wondered...what would it be like if I took Bach's Allemande and used it as seed material, weaving newly composed A and B repeats into the piece after hearing Bach's original as well as a fun introduction that also incorporates the voice...
October 23rd, 2020
Emi joins composer Michael Hersch and sculptor Christopher Cairns in imagining a socially distanced LIVE concert series amongst sculpture: ...thus far and no further. The series includes 5 live performances between October 2020 and June 2021, and features 5 world premieres by Michael Hersch, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Missy Mazzoli, Christopher Fox, and Alican Çamci.
September 28th, 2020
Emi joins H+H colleagues Aisslinn Nosky, Guy Fishman, Susana Ogata, and Ian Watson for "The Magic of Bach" - stream it now at home!
Scroll to 9:22 for Emi's new take on Bach's Allemande from the flute Partita
September 15th, 2020
The Red Bank Chamber Music series in New Jersey presents Emi and her colleagues Brook Speltz, Brendan Speltz, and Luke Fleming of the Manhattan Chamber Players in works by Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven.
June 26th, 2020
A collaborative zoom performance between performers, composers, and architects from the Marshall Scholars, PDSoros Fellows, and CUNY Graduate Center featuring the music of Robert Beaser, Nicolas Namoradze, J.S. Bach, Elizabeth Ogonek, and Alexander Scriabin.
May 23rd, 2020
Emi joins Jan Vogler for his new weekly show on WQXR "Where the Music Never Sleeps" - a show that delves into artists' minds and process in this unusual time. Emi plays her arrangement of Biber's Passacaglia and shares more about how she created her version of Mozart's Flute quartet for flute and voice trio, alongside other guests Emanuel Ax, Fabio Luisi, Kevin Zhu, Inon Barnaton, and Mira Wang.
May 20th, 2020
Emi joins Gloria Chien's initiative bringing music to Boston healthcare workers as a way to "play it forward" each night at 7 pm.
In this video performance, Emi plays the second movement from Mozart's Flute Quartet in D Major - with her voice sampled as the violin, viola, and cello.
May 11th, 2020
Emi joins Jeremy Denk in for an in depth discovery on how to think like Bach! Emi plays a solo flute arrangement of the Adagio from his Sonata in C Major. Other guests include neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, cellist Steven Isserlis, and music therapist Concetta Tomaino.
April 26th, 2020
Each Sunday at 3pm Lincoln Center asks artists to share some humanity, in concert. Nominated by fellow AMOC'er Anthony Roth Costanzo, Emi shares the traditional Hungarian lullaby from Ray Lustig's opera: Semmelweis, about the visionary behind hand-washing.
April 26th, 2020
Emi shows you how to make a PVC Baroque Flute step-by-step at home!
March 27th, 2020
Emi joins Jan Vogler's initiative, streaming musicians performing from their homes for 24 hours straight!
Emi performs her arrangement of Biber's Passacgaliga and John Williams' Handkerchief Scene from Memoirs of a Geisha.
The debut album from Emi Ferguson. Released in September, 2017 the album spent four weeks on the Billboard Classical Albums, Classical Crossover, and World Albums charts and has been met with acclaim from critics and listeners.
"...it's an entirely unique listening experience that redefines the idea of Baroque Pop..."
- Peter Jurew, All About Jazz
Taking Bach out of the museum and infusing his music with equal parts tradition, funk, whimsy, and fun, Emi Ferguson and Ruckus take you on a wild romp through some of Bach’s most playful and transcendent works.
"Wit, panache, and the jubilant, virtuosic verve of a bebop-Baroque jam session electrified and illuminated..."
- Boston Musical Intelligencer