Presidential Scholar nominee, PALCS graduating junior, scholarship winner, flutist, sister, and proud daughter are just a few terms to describe Audrey Emata. At only sixteen years old, Audrey has already accomplished so much, including being named as a nominee for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts Award, an honor that only 60 students in the entire country receive. We recently had the opportunity to speak to Audrey’s mother, Christina, about her talented daughter’s future goals and her journey to becoming a Presidential Scholar.

Last Fall, Audrey submitted four recordings to the YoungArts program. There were 21 classical musicians chosen as finalists and Audrey was the only flutist among them. In January, Audrey, along with the other finalists, traveled to Miami for YoungArts week. During the week, the finalists participated in master classes and were put in chamber music groups. After some intense rehearsals, each of the groups performed: Audrey and her group may be heard on YouTube. While in Miami, each finalist was re-evaluated by a panel of judges. The panel awarded Audrey a Level One Award and nominated her for the Presidential Scholars award.

In the next couple of weeks, Audrey will be completing the application for Presidential Scholar in the Arts. “Audrey feels that the nomination is already a terrific honor, and would be thrilled to actually receive the award. The 60 or so nominees will be whittled down to a handful,” Christina explained.

Audrey first enrolled at PALCS when she was in 8th grade. Her family realized that her schedule required much more flexibility than her public school could offer. Audrey needed a schedule and school model that would allow her to commute as often as she needs to New York City for the Juilliard Pre-College Division. “We wanted her to receive a rigorous academic education in addition to Juilliard, and the PALCS University Scholars Program was an ideal fit,” said Christina, “Audrey would not have been able to participate in nearly as many musical endeavors as she has if she had attended a conventional high school,” she continued.

As a student in the University Scholars blended program Audrey, goes on-site to the Advanced Ideas Center in West Chester, PA 2-3 days a week. Christina explained that Audrey loves being able to attend the program on-site and see her friends. “The combination of part-time on-site school, part-time cyber school, and Juilliard Pre-College, while demanding, is ideal for her,” she said.

Audrey, along with her mother Christina, her father Paul, her three older brothers and her adorable pug named Lorelei reside in Delaware county. At four years old, Audrey began taking piano lessons from her mom. It was when she was six that she spent the day with her mom at Rebecca Simon’s flute studio and found her passion for the flute. At the age of 12, Audrey debuted as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and has also soloed with numerous orchestras: Allentown, Juilliard Pre-College, Delaware County, Kennett, Ambler, Landsdowne, Warminster, and Old York Road. After taking lessons from Ms. Simon for six years, she entered into the Juilliard Pre-College program, where she studies with Brad Garner, Demarre McGill, and Carol Wincenc.

Audrey is a three-time winner of the New York Flute Club and Flute Society of Greater Philadelphia young artist competitions, and has also won accolades though The Flute View magazine, the Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair, the Poconos Flute Festival, and Asian-American International competitions. She was also featured in show 299 of NPR’s From the Top. She has received a full scholarship to many different summer programs, including the International Flute Summer School in Scotland, and the James Galway Festival in Switzerland. She was honored to be invited to play with Sir and Lady Galway at the Kennedy Center in 2016.

As a graduating junior at PALCS, Audrey is currently going through the audition process for conservatories. She wants to pursue a career in flute and eventually her dream is to play in a highly respected orchestra. She also wants to share her passion for classical music with her peers and promote the genre. In five years, Audrey hopes to either be pursuing a master’s degree in flute performance, or be performing in a symphony orchestra. She is also hoping to promote further appreciation for classical music in our communities by taking on teaching or mentoring roles.

Congratulations to Audrey on her wonderful accomplishments and her prestigious nomination. We are confident that whatever path Audrey chooses and wherever she chooses to share her beautiful music, she will be successful! We are so thankful to Audrey and her mother Christina for sharing their story with us and allowing PALCS to be a part of their journey!