The OCC Effect: Dr. Kristin Bacchiocchi-Stewart

Dr. Kristin Bacchiocchi-Stewart attended Monroe-Woodbury High School in Orange County, New York and her passion for the flute originated at a young age. Her Mom had played it extensively and handed down her instrument when her daughter entered the 4th grade. She has never looked back. “I loved playing because it was something my mom and I shared and my talent allowed me to gain confidence to branch out into other interests.” Stewart would go on to participate in dance and cross country/track while always keeping up with her flute related activities and performances. When she began looking at colleges her first love was dance. A serious leg injury sustained in a car accident the summer of her junior year ended the dream of dancing.

Music became her Plan B. Despite being accepted to several four-year schools based on her talent her grades were not good enough. Her guidance counselor told her she would never attend college, let alone graduate. By this time she was well into her senior year and thought she was out of options. Her choral teacher, Ron Johnson, told her about his alma mater, Onondaga Community College and its signature Music program. Stewart quickly researched OCC and her mother set up an interview and audition with Flute Instructor, Selma Moore. “I fell in love with the campus right away and Selma accepted me on the spot. I realized then that my dreams of furthering my interest in music were no longer just out of my grasp, but very much a reality.” Stewart would immerse herself in the fraternity of fellow music students and in the College as she began to excel academically while becoming one of the premiere student performers. She would go on to serve as a tutor as well, which would unknowingly lay the groundwork for her love of instruction.

Dr. Stewart (second from left) with The Lyra Ensemble at the OCC Recital Hall.

After graduating from OCC Stewart had her pick of four-year institutions. She chose to attend Ithaca College, then moved onto the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music for her Master’s Degree before completing her Doctorate in Musical Arts Degree from The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. “My time at OCC was tremendous and had such an impact on me that when I found out my first teaching job would be at Schenectady Community College it reminded me of the influential, nurturing experience I had as a student. To walk on that campus as an instructor and be able to give back and contribute to the SUNY System was very special to me.”

Today, Stewart is the principal flute for the New Jersey Wind Symphony and is a member of the Lyra Ensemble. She is also the Founder and Director of The Flute Academy where she continues her love of teaching, performing and mentoring aspiring flute players ranging in the age and talents from 7 years old to 70! “Teaching means the world to me. I come alive and often think back to my time at OCC and implement the same compassion and love for music that I was shown while attending classes there.” Stewart lives in New Jersey with her family where her young children have shown interest in music; her son with percussion and guitar and her daughter with the flute!