PULLMAN — Ann Marie Yasinitsky’s prize instrument sounds like something out of a fairy tale, a solid 14-karat gold flute with silver keys.“It’s a wonderful instrument. I had to wait until I was in my 50s to afford that flute,” said Yasinitsky, the principal flutist with the Washington Idaho Symphony and a professor of music at Washington State University.
This weekend the symphony will feature Yasinitsky as a soloist performing Danish musician Carl Nielsen’s “Flute Concerto.” It’s one of her favorite pieces to play, she said, calling Nielsen’s 20th century compositions for wind instruments “quirky, interesting and full of lyrical harmonies.” The piece has a special place in her memories because she won a competition to perform it when she was 19.
Originally from San Francisco, Yasinitsky was 10 when she found her life’s passion. It wasn’t the instrument she began playing at age 5, the piano. She’d grown frustrated with that because she hadn’t managed to surpass the skills of her older sister. “I was a competitive little kid,” Yasinitsky said.
A neighbor introduced her to the flute and she was entranced.
“You’re using your breath, which is sort of like singing. You feel it resonate through your body,” Yasinitsky said about the feeling she has playing.
She decided to become a professional musician when she was 13 and practiced so much her father would intone, “Isn’t that enough?” In high school she was in three orchestras outside of her high school group.
Yasinitsky came to Pullman 33 years ago when her husband, Gregory, accepted a position in the music department at WSU where she would later accept a position. The day after moving with their 5-week-old daughter, she auditioned for the symphony.
“I’ve always thought a wonderful thing about the orchestra is you have people of all ages coming together in this common cause to make music.”
Yasinitsky can be heard on this clip from the album “Music of Wood, Silver and Ivory: I. Mist and Undertow.”