Julia Son is a 15-year-old freshman at Marquette high school. She learned to play her first violin when she was three years old. She has performed in several St. Louis-based musical ensembles as a middle school student: The Young People Concert Orchestra, Young People Symphony Orchestra and Young Symphony Orchestra. She said a former teacher encouraged her to audition for the Community Music School (CMS) PREP Program at Webster University. The PREP program accepts musically-advanced high school students who want to pursue a music career. CMS Artistic Coordinator Vera Parkin hand picks each student. Parkin said Son has a strong and unique sound. The program accepts students even younger than Son; this year one of the members was just 12 years old.
Video by Bridjes O’Neil
PREP students benefit from competitive performances
Julia Son competed with the Camerton String Quartet on Feb. 19 at the Midwest Young Artists National competition in Chicago. The Quartet placed first in the string division. They won first overall in the open division — an open division is comprised of all instruments — and $1,000 cash prize. It was the second year PREP students participated in the fifth annual competition. PREP students eagerly prepare for Fischoff.
It is a national chamber music competition held in May at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind. It is one of the few, and largest, competitions open to high school students. Students play against their peers from other national programs like New York’s Julliard.
Parents — like George Johnson — are equally pleased with the program. Johnson said he appreciates how his son Thomas and other students can work with professional musicians like the Euclid Quartet. The nationally acclaimed Euclid Quartet traveled to St. Louis from South Bend, Ind. for the fourth annual St. Looey Chamber Blitz. The St. Looey Chamber Blitz was a four-day chamber music workshop.
The workshop featured a master class in which the Euclid Quartet acted as mentors to PREP students. Several groups of students performed for the Euclid Quartet in mock competitions on Feb. 12. The Euclid Quartet gave each group constructive criticism based on their performances. Parkin said she would like to see more Webster University non-music majors support CMS performances. “It’s all apart of your education,” Parkin said.
All events are free and open to the public.