2021 - 2022 Winners
Leon Burke III (2011-2013)
Leon Burke III is a native St. Louisan, where he attended Mc Bride High School and John Burroughs School. He holds music degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Kansas. Burke studied as a Fulbright Fellow in Paraguay. Burke has served as Conductor/Music Director of the Lawrence Chamber Players, the Hutchinson Symphony, and the McPherson Symphony. He has been on the faculties of Baker University, Sterling College, Hutchinson Community College, and Webster University. Burke is an active member of Unitarian Universalists Musicians Network (UUMN). He served as a member of the UUA New Hymn Resource Task Force, which was appointed in the Fall of 2003 to create a new congregational hymn resource.
First Place Winner
Sophia Heaton, 16 years old, lives in Fulton, Missouri, and is a home-educated, high school sophomore. She has been playing violin for 12 years, and currently studies with Angie Smart. Sophia is in her third season with the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, this year as Co-Concertmaster. She also participates in the Preparatory Program of the Community Music School of Webster University, and frequently plays violin for worship services at her church. Before joining the Preparatory Program, she played in three successive orchestras of the Webster CMS: String Ensemble, String Orchestra, and the Young People’s Concert Orchestra. She enjoys reading, bird watching, writing stories, baking, listening to classical music, caring for her plants, and drawing garden plans. Sophia is thankful for the excellent musicians and conductors she has been privileged to study under. She would especially like to thank David Liu, Patrick Jackson, Davin Rubicz, Vera Parkin, and Angie Smart. She has highly valued their instruction, advice and encouragement. She is also grateful for the support of her parents and grandparents who love to cheer her on. Above all, Sophia is thankful to God, and seeks to honor Him in her life and music. Sophia is our First Place Winner of the Young Artist Competition and will perform alongside the ASO on February 20, 2022. She will also receive a certificate and cash prize.
Deborah Fox Guild Winner
Charis Shing, 10 years old, a 5th grader at Pierremont elementary school, Ballwin, Missouri. She began her violin studies when she was four and a half years old and is currently a student of Ms. Joo Kim. She was the first prize winner for Masters of violin concerto at the Great Composers Competition in 2021 and received “Honorable Mention” in the MMTA state violin competition in 2020. Her favorite violin player is Julia Fischer. She fell in love with violin when she heard Fischer’s Tchaikovsky violin concerto from YouTube. She wishes one day she can play both violin and piano well just like her. Her ultimate goal in music is to have a concert for people with disability and she hopes her music can touch and comfort their souls. Charis would like to thank her brother for being the reason she started violin in the first place and he is the motivation that drives her to improve on a daily basis. She is also grateful to her past teachers for their guidance, her piano accompanist Ms. Vera Parkin for her constant support and her teacher Ms. Joo Kim for her continuous encouragement and inspiration. Besides violin, she also plays piano and enjoys reading, drawing, dancing and playing basketball and kickball. Charis is our Deborah Fox Guild Winner and will perform alongside the ASO Concert on December 4, 2021. Se will also receive a certificate and cash prize.
First Place Runner-Up
Bradley Smith, 18 years old, a senior at Clayton High School. He has studied with Angie Smart of the St. Louis Symphony orchestra for 5 years. Bradley is a 3rd year member of first violin section of the St. Louis Youth orchestra. Last year Bradley was a member of the Amati quartet through the Webster University PREP program and was in the finals of the St. Paul Quartet competition. The Amati also performed this summer in the Missouri Chamber Music Festival. Bradley was a member of the 2020 Missouri All-State orchestra. In past summers Bradley has studied at University of Michigan Center Stage Strings, Meadowmount School of Music and the University of Indiana Jacobs School of music. Bradley is our First Place Runner-Up of the Young Artist Competition and will receive a certificate and cash prize.