Scholarship Winners

Charleston Symphony Orchestra League Scholarship Recipients, 2017

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra League is proud to announce the recipients of their youth scholarship program for 2017. On March 7-9, eighty-one students auditioned for a total $21,550 in awards to support pursuing a degree in music at college, summer music study or private lessons during the school year.

The scholarship auditions would not be possible without the tireless efforts of members of the education committee who staffed the auditions for over 20 hours across three days, not to mention the hours invested in scheduling auditions, preparing food, contacting recipients, securing gifts for judges, and on and on. Equally committed were our judges: Barbara Borg, John Holley and Chris Clark. We are also very grateful to the College of Charleston for providing such wonderful space for the auditions.

On May 7, 3:00 at Bishop Gadsden, the 2017 Stahl Scholar, the Goldsmith Scholar and five additional matching grant and summer study scholarship recipients will perform.

2017 Goldsmith Recipient

2017 Stahl Recipient

Scholarship Recipients, 2017

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra League supports the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in its mission to provide educational opportunities for the children and youth of our community. The Education Committee of the CSOL provides three scholarship programs for talented young musicians. Qualified applicants audition and scholarships are awarded based on audition results. In addition, summer study scholarships are offered to musicians of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

College Scholarships are available for graduating seniors who plan to major in music performance, therapy or education. This year 2 students auditioned.  The sixth annual David and Karen Stahl Memorial College Scholarship of $2,500 is awarded to
Karen Mendes-Escobar, violin, Charleston County School of the Arts

Matching Grant Scholarships of $500 for private study are awarded to members of the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra. This year, 12 students auditioned and the following 3 students are awarded grants:
Karl Pless, violin, Academic Magnet High School
Andrew Messersmith, violin, Ft. Dorchester High School
Emma Joyce, violin, Charleston Catholic
In addition the CSOL will provide $1,000 for need-based scholarships for CSYO participation.

The Education Committee has also awarded $300 each from the JoHanna Bowen Fund to two students who auditioned for Matching Grants and are active participants in the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra but are not currently taking private lessons as follows:
Ogugua Nwaezeigwe, double bass, Cane Bay High School
Caylee McConnell, cello, Wando High School

Summer Study Scholarships of varying amounts are awarded to students who are attending summer music camps and for summer private lessons. This year 67 students auditioned and the following 44 were awarded scholarships totaling $17,550:
Yuna Zhao, piano, Academic Magnet High School
Ashley Yoon, violin, Porter Gaud, Ruth and Barry Goldsmith Award Recipient
Rachel Yoon, piano, Porter Gaud
Caleb Borick, piano, homeschooled
Jenna Flaherty, voice, Charleston County School of the Arts
Benjamin Kremer, violin, Charleston County School of the Arts
Erica Kremer, cello, Charleston County School of the Arts
Marcus Loucks, clarinet, Summerville High School
Eliza Turner, voice, Wando High School
Jason Guo, piano, Charleston County School of the Arts
Angela Mei, piano, Charleston County School of the Arts
Erick Won, violin, Wando High School
Walker Menkus, violin, Charleston County School of the Arts
Jenny Yao, piano, Academic Magnet High School
Reed Kurtz, piano, homeschooled
Manuel Mendes-Escobar, violin, Charleston County School of the Arts
Lindy Turner, voice, Charleston County School of the Arts
Elliott Weeks, violin, Charleston County School of the Arts
Zach Green, vocal, Wando High School
Lily Lassiter, piano, Charleston County School of the Arts
Steven Yeung, piano, Stratford High School
Jay Baek, piano, Academic Magnet High School
Fanny Cheung, piano, Academic Magnet High School
John DiMaria, piano, homeschooled
Joseph Ho-Mueller, piano, Charleston County School of the Arts
Lydia Pless, cello, Academic Magnet High School
Clara Johnson, violin, homeschooled
Wallace Mays, clarinet, Summerville High School
Grace Fulmer, piano, homeschooled
Phillip Johnson, violin, homeschooled
David Wang, piano, Charleston County School of the Arts
Justin Baek, piano, Charleston County School of the Arts
Lauren Stewart, violin, Charleston County School of the Arts
Evelyn Bi, piano, Academic Magnet High School
Jacob Hock, double bass, Charleston County School of the Arts
Beatrice Jin-Vaught, piano, Drayton Hall Elementary School
Sam Kavarana, piano, Academic Magnet High School
Hannah Bergman, piano, Porter Gaud
Abigail Bryant, violin, homeschooled
Luke Johnson, cello, homeschooled
Lauren Reynolds, voice, Goose Creek High School
Peyton Smith, flute, Wando High School
Bailey Ward, clarinet, Stratford High School
Adam Kremer, cello, Charleston Catholic

A second-year college scholarship of $750 will be awarded to Elliott Cihlar, Stahl Scholar, 2016, pending his submission of an application and references from his college.

CSO Musician Summer Study Scholarships totaling $4,460 to the following musicians:
Chris Bluemel
Sadie de Wall
Tom Joyce
Jan-Marie Joyce
Regina Yost
Debra Sherill-Ward
Ryan Leveille


Recital, May 7, 3:00, Bishop Gadsden Chapel
Invited performers:
Yuna Zhao, piano
Ashley Yoon, violin, Ruth and Barry Goldsmith Award Recipient
Rachel Yoon, piano
Caleb Borick, piano
Jenna Flaherty, voice
Karl Pless, violin
Karen Mendes-Escobar, violin, David and Karen Stahl Scholarship Recipient


Caleb Borick - Philadelphia International Music Festival's Musician of the Week
Caleb Borick
Charleston Symphony Orchestra League, Inc. scholarship winner Caleb Borick was recently featured as the Philadelphia International Music Festival’s musician of the week. Caleb has attended the program for two years. Last summer he performed the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra.

Read Caleb’s interview and view a video of his audition on the Philadelphia International Music Festival Blog at:

Abigail Kent thanks the CSOL® for our support

Abigail Kent was a 2013 CSOL® college scholarship recipient.

abigail kentDear Charleston Symphony Orchestra League,

I would like to thank all the members of the CSOL for taking such an interest in my harp studies. I am looking forward to starting conservatory at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and I am flying out this week. Thank you for your generosity to make this possible. My update needs to start now, since I've had a very eventful summer with my harp. I attended the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, where I placed 2nd in their Concerto Competition after a live final round.

Next, I attended a 2-week harp camp in Saratoga Springs, NY, directed by the Professor of Harp at the Curtis Institute of Music, Elizabeth Hainen. I won 1st place in their Concerto Competition, allowing me to perform Handel's Harp Concerto with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra (Gala Concert, my performance starts at about 45 minutes into program):

Because of this extraordinary experience, I am invited to perform at the prestigious Lyon and Healy 150th Anniversary International Harp Festival in Chicago June 4-7, 2014. I have received permission from the Head of Harp at the Royal Academy of Music in London to interrupt my term for the week in order to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! I am honored and thrilled!

Thank you all again. I will continue to update you all throughout the year!



BentzCSOL Scholarship Winner Nick Bentz has just won the PRISMA Concerto Competition in Powell River, BC, and will be going to Moscow this year to perform with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.


CSOL® Scholarship Winner Nick Bentz thanks the CSOL for years of support:

Dear Members of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League,

I want to thank you for your unwavering support since my first CSOL audition many years ago. Because of your generosity you have helped me to realize the goals that I set for myself from an early age. I wanted to share with you my personal statement that I submitted in my application to the conservatories. I know that your organization played a large role in my achievements both now and in the future.

Music has always held a mystical quality in my life, and it still heightens my curiosity to this day. One day, at the age of seven, I came home with a sudden realization. I told my mother that I had discovered something quite extraordinary. I told her that the violin could sound sad, or happy, or anywhere in between, depending on how you played it. At that moment, the endless possibilities of music entered my life, and have irreversibly altered my world for the better. Moving forward, I harnessed this new interface of music, reaching deep within myself to try and best interpret what I saw on the page: the composer’s soul.

I was surprised to see how many lives I touched; how many people I helped, by simply doing what I decided I wanted to do back in elementary school. Then I discovered that not only could I interpret what was on the page, I could create it. Opening my mind to the wonders of creating organized sound, I grabbed the reins of the air around me, and became the architect of my own universe. Discovering the intricacies in others’ masterpieces through performance helped me in crafting my own works.

Spending my past five summers in the Aspen Music Festival and School has only confirmed my desire to pursue a career in music. While in Aspen, I experienced the amazing artistry of world class performers showcasing the works of past and present. I’ve been given the unique opportunity to study under some of the world’s finest teachers in both violin and composition: Yuriy Bekker, Herbert Greenberg and Yiorgos Vassilandonakis. With each new method and opinion, I gained invaluable insight to apply my craft, honing my skills in order to continue chiseling towards the ideal artist. I was surrounded by the best musicians in the world, and each concert I attended cemented my aspirations, inspiring me more and more to go forward into the musical world. The Aspen Music Festival always served as an oasis of artistic integrity that showcased works from all over the art music spectrum; everything from Gabrieli to Glass was displayed, and I absorbed as much of it as I could. The Aspen Music Festival gave me the irreplaceable sense of artistic being that has permeated both hemispheres of my artistry and has helped to further develop them. Whenever I felt doubtful about my abilities as an artist, I only had to look back to the summers I spent in Aspen: the environment I was in, the people I met, the art I witnessed. As I said before, composition and performance has always fed off of each other, and spending my summers in Aspen has solidified the symbiosis between the two. I was given the amazing opportunity to play in the opera orchestra for three extremely different productions: Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s Falstaff, and Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Participating in this new medium helped me to discover new facets of my own love for music. My ears were opened to the wonders of the human voice, and I saw the astounding results that occur when the arts cross-pollinate. Being able to attend the Aspen Music Festival for the past five summers has proven to be the most significant artistic experience of my life.

Looking ahead, I can not see myself outside the realm of music. Going into conservatory provides me with the final layer of mortar to establish myself as a musician, composer, and artist. Armed with this newly-gained knowledge, I can move forward without fear into the uncertain world of music. Moving forward, I can access the endless potential of that which can’t be seen. With music I can better the world.

Nicholas Bentz

CSOL® Education Outreach

The CSOL® actively supports music education and funding for the arts, annually awarding $2,000 college scholarships and a $2,500 David and Karen Stahl Memorial Scholarship offered to high school seniors who plan to major in music; $250 Matching Grant Awards to members of the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra; Summer Study Awards to talented Lowcountry music students; and Professional Scholarships available to members of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.


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