Alicia McQuerrey joined the SPCO as a flute and piccolo player in 2001. A native of Charleston, West Virginia, McQuerrey began studying the Suzuki flute method at the age of seven with Mrs. June Warhoftig, then principal flutist with the West Virginia Symphony. Alicia earned the distinction of becoming the first American student to complete the Suzuki flute method. Prior to joining the SPCO, she earned a bachelor’s degree in performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Dr. Bradley Garner, flute and Jack Wellbaum, piccolo. McQuerrey earned her master’s degree and professional studies certificate from the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Michael Parloff, then principal flutist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Linda Chesis, soloist and chamber musician. She enjoys coaching, performing and assisting with many of the SPCO’s Education and Community Engagement programs. McQuerrey teaches at Hamline University, University of Wisconsin-River Falls and has a small teaching studio in St. Paul where she resides with her daughter, Lola and their dogs, Bella and Cole.
Do you have any interesting stories about your instrument? “When I auditioned for the SPCO in spring 2001, Julie Bogorad-Kogan asked me if I could get a new piccolo before I started and I said, 'Yes!' So I went back to New York and called my piccolo guru, Jack Wellbaum to have him send me a few. He sent three and when I told him which one I'd chosen he said 'I thought you'd say that.' I figured he just knew my playing but there was an interesting story. The gentleman making my piccolo passed away before he could finish the headjoint which determines a lot of the color and sound of the instrument. Jacques Zoon, a Dutch flutist who is famous for making his own wood flutes and even cutting on his headjoint while in concert—yikes, saw it on the shop desk and decided he'd finish it. It has the most beautiful timbre and sings so beautifully even in the low octave. A good friend played it and said 'if you ever want to get rid of this piccolo let me know.' Sorry folks—I'm keeping it!”