GFO Young Artists
Every summer young musicians are given the opportunity to perform with our professional orchestra. William Schatzkamer, one of the founders of the orchestra, and the first conductor and music director, started the tradition years ago and it continues today. While there is no formal competition, our music director receives recommendations from area music teachers, visits other competitions and reviews video recordings before selected the young artists who will perform.
Mary So, Violin
Mary So, age 15, has been practicing and playing her violin for 5,032 (and counting) consecutive days! She began her violin studies at the age of two with the Ottawa Suzuki Strings in Ottawa, Kansas and studied with Shirley Star. She currently studies with Joseph Kaminsky in Kirkwood, Missouri and has been studying with him since 2017. In 2014, 2016, and 2018 she was selected to be in the Suzuki Association of the Americas Biennial Conference Youth Orchestra in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2020 she was selected to be in Suzuki Association of the Americas Biennial Conference Advanced Violin Ensemble. On March 1, 2020, she was a runner up in the Midwest Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition in Prairie Village, Kansas. Also in March, 2020, Mary was a summer camp scholarship recipient in the Steinway Early Festival for Federation of Music Clubs. She was a winner of the St. Charles Community College (SCC) 3rd Annual Recital Competition which premiered on March 12, 2021. On April 23, 2021, Miss So placed 3rd in The Kansas City Symphony’s Youth Concerto Competition sponsored by the Women’s City Club Charitable Foundation Young Artist Competition. In the fall of 2021, Mary was a recipient of the G.A., JR. and Kathryn M. Buder music scholarship. She placed first in the Rising Talents Competition and had her debut performance with the Town and Country Symphony Orchestra in St. Louis on March 28, 2022. On April 3, Miss So was the winner of Northland Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Competition in North Kansas City, Missouri. Recently, Mary was the first place winner of the MFMC State Concerto Competition in the Strings Division.
As a home educated eleventh grader at So South Academy, in Kansas City, Missouri, Miss So enjoys playing classical guitar and competes in GTMA Martial Arts tournaments as a Third Degree Black Belt. She also works at IXL Martial Arts in Leawood, Kansas as a Taekwondo Instructor. Mary has been a member of the Metropolitan Orchestra of Saint Louis “Share a Stand Program” since 2019. She is on the music ministry team at her church, Blue River Bible Church in Kansas City, Missouri. Her goal and dream some day is to be accepted into the Curtis Institute of Music and maybe some day compete in the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists.
Ms. So will perform the Introduction and Tarantella by Sarasate with the Gateway Festival Orchestra 7:30 PM, Sunday July 17, Washington University Brookings Quadrangle.
Fritz Volini, Piano
By age ten, Fritz’s natural abilities at the piano exceeded his age by three or four-fold. At that early age, Fritz would draw large crowds playing at Kansas City’s train depot at Union Station. His gift allows him to comprehend complex notation and quickly sight-read advanced music accurately at a professional level. His passion to hear the complete works by the great masters is realized firsthand by playing through extensive piano repertoire. He began formal keyboard studies at the age of eight at a local music academy with his current teacher, Jennifer Lacy. Fritz is only six generations in a direct line to the teaching linage of Ludwig Beethoven (Lacy, Lehnert, Bulig/ Levine, Leschetitsky, Czerny, Beethoven) and it is an incredible honor to make his orchestral debut with the Gateway Festival Orchestra of St Louis performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.1 Rondo: Allegro as well as writing his own concerto cadenza. Fritz is very honored to be playing under the baton of Maestro Aquino. In 2022, Fritz was a regional finalist in Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) West Central Division Senior Piano Competition after winning 1st Place for MTNA State Senior Solo Piano in 2021. Fritz is a three-time 1st Place recipient at the Mid America Music Association (MAMA) in AAA Division Piano Competitive in 2018, 1st Place Junior Virtuoso Division Piano Competitive in 2019 and recipient of the top-level Virtuoso Division Piano Competitive 1st Place in 2021. In 2020, Fritz performed in the Portland Piano International (PPI) ‘Virtual Piano Extravaganza’ pre-show, a 2-day livestream worldwide event with piano duo Anderson & Roe curated by Marc-André Hamelin. In the following year, Fritz received a finalist prize in the Conero International Competition in the Professional Youth Division with competitors from seven countries. He has been awarded Notable Performer with Highest Honors and Special Merit from Kansas City Music Teachers Association (KCMTA) Fall Festivals (2015-2018) as well as Achievement Honors Auditions of Meritorious Performance (2018-2022). Fritz is sixteen, attending Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri where he was elected by his peers to serve as Junior class president 2022-23. He takes tremendous joy collecting and building rare model train sets, loves fishing and spending time on the family farm, and is an avid golfer who advanced as one of the youngest competitors in Boys Golf State Championship spring of 2022 in Cape Girardeau.
Mr. Volini will perform the Rondo:Allegro from the Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major by L. van Beethoven with the Gateway Festival Orchestra, 7:30 PM, Sunday July 31, 2022, at the 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Avenue, University City, MO 63130.
Christina Goetz, Soprano
Christina Goetz has sung in her church choir, been a voice teacher and a choir director. She performed with the DePauw University Chorus and Chamber Singers and was in opera and musical theater performances there.
After receiving her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts degrees from DePauw, she earned her Master of Music degree from Roosevelt University, where she also performed opera and musical theater. She looks forward to performing the role of Suor Angelica in the opera Suor Angelica in Venice, Italy this summer. She has sung in many recitals at the Willows at Brooking Park (the late Phyllis Tirmenstein’s residence) and feels honored to be singing in this concert as a tribute to Phyllis Tirmenstein’s memory.
Ms. Goetz will perform Ava Maria by F. Schubert and The Call from Five Mystical Songs by R. Vaughan Williams with the Gateway Festival Orchestra, 7:30 PM, Sunday July 31, 2022, at the 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Avenue, University City, MO 63130.
Terrence Abernathy, Assistant Conductor
Terrence Abernathy, arranger, composer, conductor, educator, and horn player was granted a French horn performance degree from McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois, not far from his hometown of St Louis, Missouri. Shortly thereafter, he was granted back-stage access and worked closely with the St Louis Symphony, who nurtured and expanded his knowledge of classical repertoire. Abernathy has been privileged to sit with great conductors like David Robertson, Leonard Slatkin, Gemma New, Sameer Patel and Amy Kaiser backed completely by the generosity of the IN UNISON graduate fellowship scholarship he was awarded in early 2017. In the years since, Terrence has taught masterclasses, guest conducted, taught horn masterclasses, and judged around the St. Louis metropolitan area. Abernathy has been an instrumental music adjudicator for the St Louis Public schools. As a horn player, he is an alumnus of the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. Abernathy has appeared as an extra with the Southern Illinois University wind symphony under the wise baton of Dr John Bell, and the Washington University Symphony Orchestra under the skillful baton of music director Darwin Aquino. Abernathy played first tenor horn in an internationally ranked brass band from 2016-2019. Saint Louis Brass Band is comprised of professional brass players, educators, and gifted college students from around the area. Abernathy has studied with Associate Principal of the Saint Louis Symphony, Thomas Jöstlein, Stephen Hanrahan, Helena Giammarco, Kristen Tenwolde, and Julia Erdman. Abernathy has also worked with Roger Kaza, Principal horn of the Saint Louis Symphony, during masterclass work. Abernathy has many mentors: Dr. Jennifer Moder-Bell (McKendree University), Dr. Melissa Gustafson-Hinds (O’ Fallon Township HS), David Boggs (EIU), Joseph Padawan (Rockwood Summit HS), Pat Sheridan (Arizona State), Matt Haroff (Avon HS), Dr Joseph Welch (Blackburn), Dr Phillip Whilhem, and Evan Hinds (O’Fallon Township HS) have all shaped his personal teaching philosophies. Abernathy was also the assistant director of the marching band at Hazelwood Central HS with Mark Thomas, where they had great success during his time there. Abernathy also assisted closely with Central’s competitive indoor winter drumline. Abernathy will never forget all who have helped him and that includes those he has instructed as they have taught him many lessons in musicianship.
Mr. Abernathy will conduct Slavonic Dances by Antonin Dvořák, 7:30 PM, Sunday July 31, 2022, at the 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Avenue, University City, MO 63130.