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Shannon Finney, Associate Principal Flute

Shannon Finney is the Associate Principal Flutist for the Kansas City Symphony. Additionally, she performs with and is a former Artistic Advisor for the local chamber ensemble, Summerfest. Shannon's summer work extends to Door County, WI, as a faculty member at Birch Creek Music Center. A past winner of the National Flute Association's "Piccolo Artist Competition", Shannon was also awarded a fellowship at Tanglewood in the early part of her career. She has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra, and the Chicago Sinfonietta. Her teachers included Walfrid Kujala, Mary Stolper, and Karla Flygare, and her degrees are from Northwestern University. Shannon enjoys the culinary arts, reading, traveling, and many outdoor activities. An adventurer at heart, she spent a month in Nepal in 2014, including two weeks trekking in the Himalayas and reaching Annapurna Base Camp. In recent years she has enjoyed exploring Paris for the first time, biking in the Loire Valley, and whitewater rafting with her dad down the entire 280 miles of the Grand Canyon. The summer of 2018 will find her joining her parents “glamping" on safari in eastern Africa.

Ten questions about me:

What good book have you read recently?

I am a voracious reader so this might be the toughest question. Recently I learned so much and was touched by both “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas (the latter is best if listened to!) "Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders was so creative, fresh, and new that I was completely entranced.

What is your most memorable performance with the Kansas City Symphony?

The magic atmosphere at the opening KCS concert in Helzberg Hall was palpable. I will always remember that performance, those feelings, and the long road that culminated in that evening. (Of course, this is not to suggest that we are not still in the midst of a strikingly upward trajectory!)

What's your "top pick" for downtown dining, or for a post-concert drink or dessert?

For lunch: Just east of River Market, in Columbus Park, is Happy Gillis. The. Best. Sandwiches. (And soup). For a little post-lunch treat: Christopher Elbow Chocolates at 18th and McGee. Rosemary Caramel, need I say more? Well, yes, because there is also the Drinking Chocolate---go for the Peanut Butter. For an afternoon pick-me-up: Heirloom Bakery in Brookside. You want the Rosemary Honey Latte and pretty much any baked treat. For dinner: It's not quite downtown, but I adore Pot Pie in Westport. Post concert: I am in line for the drive-through at Andy’s Frozen Custard in Westport.

Are you the only musician in your family?

Yes! I’m fairly certain my mom cannot tap her toes in time to a beat! My parents have been unfailingly supportive of my choices despite their lack of familiarity with the path I pursued.

If you were to give advice to a young person who would want to follow your path, what would you say?

Your passion and commitment for your music must be great enough to sustain you through the challenges ahead.

What quality do you most admire in others?

Integrity combined with compassion.

Do you have a favorite composition you like to play, or listen to?

The Bach Suites for Cello are my comfort to listen to and to play, I have them transcribed for the flute! My recordings are by Yo-yo Ma, Pablo Casals and Mstislav Rostropovich. I also love the Wedding Cantata by Bach, it always gets me singing along. And, perhaps oddly, I will replay the first 1 minute and 45 seconds of Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto in G Minor over and over. To play in orchestra, I love the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, all Brahms’ Symphonies, much Mahler, the Rite of Spring...I could go on. And on. I rarely can believe I am fortunate enough to get to make music with the KCS for my living.

What is a "must-have" in your fridge?

Milk (1%). I am a cereal freak! My friends would say I always have butter…and I’m not afraid to use it! Baking is one of my hobbies.

What is your hometown?

I grew up in Federal Way, Washington, which is between Seattle and Tacoma. I would be hard-pressed to think of someplace with as much natural beauty as the Pacific Northwest. Within just a few hours one can experience the crashing waves of the Pacific, the sparkling blue waters of the Puget Sound, the grandeur of the Olympic or Cascade mountain ranges, and a seemingly infinite number of lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.

What is on your ideal pizza?

Finally, an easy question! I am a lifelong devotee of the pepperoni and pineapple pizza!