Flutist hosts master class

The Carmel Valley Library will play host to its first ever music master class on Jan. 18 when Carmel Valley professional flutist Elena Yárritu pays a visit. Yárritu will hold court with five young local flutists in what is basically an open lesson with a live audience.

The students will play their pieces and receive feedback from the knowledgeable Yárritu on elements like phrasing and interpretation, starting at 2 p.m.

Local students performing in the class include Stacy Lee and Domanique Kim, both eighth graders at Carmel Valley Middle School; Daniel Liu, a Torrey Pines freshman and Tamzin Elliot, a Canyon Crest sophomore.

The youngest performer Jonathon Sussman, a sixth grader at San Diego Jewish Academy, is expected to play a “knock-out” concerto.

Dana Burnett, a sought-after collaborative pianist, will accompany the students.

“I think it’s a great venue for students to test out their abilities, get their nerves out and work on details in front of an audience,” Yárritu said.

This will be Yárritu’s second time performing at the library. In November, she performed to a packed house as part of the Friends of the Library concert series.

“She’s a wonderful performer,” said Ted Parker, concert series organizer. “We’re glad to have music teachers perform and teach in the library as part of the community music program.”

The ‘magic’ flute

Yárritu is a new Carmel Valley resident, having moved from the Bay Area with her husband last June. The flutist, who holds a master’s in music from Yale University and a doctorate from Stony Brook University, developed a successful career playing in quartets and in solo concerts.

A highlight of her professional career was an “exhilarating” performance at Carnegie Hall in 2003.

Yárritu started playing the flute in fifth grade after being inspired by a fellow student.

The flute came easy to her, and she found herself competing for the first chair in her school’s orchestra by sixth grade.

Determined, Yárritu called a flute teacher herself to set up private lessons. She said learning to read sheet music was like “opening up a magic book.”

By the time she was in eighth grade, she knew that music was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.

Yárritu recently released a CD, available at, which features British composer Mike Mower’s Sonata No.3. Yárritu traveled all the way to London to record the sonata and work with the composer in the studio.