Tori Lupinek’s warm, enveloping sound and personality have made their way south to Houston by way of Alaska and Chicagoland. While spending time in Fairbanks, Alaska, Tori served as principal flute of Opera Fairbanks in their 2017 production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” under the direction of the Metropolitan Opera’s Gregory Buchalter. That summer she also appeared with the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Orchestra and the Houston Symphony’s Robert Franz, where she was also employed as the festival music librarian. Most recently, Tori was named an alternate for the National Flute Association’s prestigious Orchestral Excerpts Masterclass Competition in 2020.
Tori was the first flutist ever to be admitted to the Artist Diploma program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I), where she previously completed her masters degree with Dr. Jonathan Keeble. Tori was awarded a teaching assistantship in the composition department to fund her Diploma. Her responsibilities included running discussion sections for first year music theory and aural skills courses. In addition to maintaining a private flute studio in Champaign, Tori also taught applied flute lessons at Purdue University at the flagship campus in West Lafayette, Indiana. During her master’s program at U of I, Tori held an assistantship as a Production Assistant at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. There, she worked backstage with world-renowned acts ranging from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to the Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China. While attending school and keeping up with her assistantship duties, Tori performed with some of the major orchestras in central Illinois, including Sinfonia da Camera and the Champaign Urbana Symphony Orchestra.
Prior to her time at Illinois, Tori completed her undergraduate degree at DePaul University in Chicago where she studied primarily with Mary Stolper. Her other flute teachers there included Mark Sparks, Alyce Johnson, and Jennifer Clippert. While at DePaul, Tori had many opportunities to travel to Europe to study, made possible in part by the university and through a grant from the Friends of Flutes Foundation— spending time in Vienna, Tuscany, and the French Alps. She considers her travels to be a major influence on her approach to learning, performing, and presenting classical music in the United States. Over the years, Tori has performed in masterclasses for such artists as Jim Walker, Leone Buyse, Jennifer Gunn, Demarre McGill, Michel Debost, Sergio Pallottelli, and Carol Wincenc to name a few. She has participated in many different types of music festivals, including Round Top Festival Institute, Madeline Island Music Camp, Jim Walker’s Beyond the Masterclass, Zodiac Music Academy and Festival, and Flauti al Castello.
As a musician, Tori believes that “classical” music is for everyone and has the capacity to work wonders on open hearts. In flute lessons, she uses music as a conduit to instill deeper intellectual awareness in her students. Tori takes a fundamentally human approach to every aspect of her varied career as a musician by appealing to the individual, and allowing beauty to grow from there. When she isn’t playing flute, Tori can often be found exercising, meditating, or reading a good book while sipping a cappuccino.
Tori plays on a Powell 14k rose gold body topped with a Mancke platinum headjoint. Her piccolo is a Burkart Elite grenadilla body with a Keefe headjoint.
Photos by Allison DeFrancesco.