Emma Gerstein was appointed second flute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2017 by Music Director Riccardo Muti. Before joining the Orchestra, she appeared as a guest several times, including performances during the CSO’s 2016 tour to Asia with Muti. Most recently, Gerstein served as the section principal flute of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in New Zealand.
Previously, she was a flute fellow with the New World Symphony from 2013 to 2016, and principal flute of the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra in Kentucky for the 2012–13 season. She also has performed as part of the flute section of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and as guest principal flute of the Seattle Symphony. Gerstein has participated in the Aspen, Spoleto USA, Sarasota, Orford and Cabrillo music festivals.
Beyond her post in the Orchestra, Gerstein regularly appears on the CSO MusicNOW, CSO Chamber, and Once Upon a Symphony series. She is an active chamber musician and soloist, recently performing Paquito D’Rivera’s flute concerto, Gran Danzon, with the Lexington Philharmonic. Gerstein has performed with Eighth Blackbird, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Dempster Street Pro Musica, Civitas Ensemble, and Spektral Quartet.
A native of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, she began her flute studies at the age of eight with Susan Levitin and later was a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. She went on to study at the Manhattan School of Music with Robert Langevin and at Indiana University with Thomas Robertello.
Gerstein teaches at Roosevelt University and has given masterclasses at the University of Kentucky, Auckland University, Northwestern University, Indiana University, the Australian National Academy of Music and as a guest of the Chicago Flute Club and the Utah Flute Association. She also serves as a flute coach for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the New World Symphony.