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Junyi Su

Junyi Su

Viola

Clayton High School

Junyi is a fourteen-year-old freshman at Clayton High School. He has been playing the viola for about three years, and this is his first year with the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. Born in China, he moved to the United States when he was six, and is consequently bilingual, although he admits only to a particular, and limited degree.

Junyi’s adventure with the viola started when he was 10 and playing in Wydown Middle School’s Vibravo Strings Ensemble, but not as a violist. Instead, he and several other violinists from his elementary school were designated as 3rd violins and seated in the furthest visible reaches of the orchestra behind the viola section.

Junyi had his first real taste of viola at the age of 11.5 when his beloved violin teacher, Jan Davis, recommended that he switch to viola. Promises of success and better scholarship chances eventually convinced him to change, and soon Junyi once again found himself in the back of the viola section. Vowing to persevere through the hardships, he soon found himself ascending the ranks and was principal of the viola section by the next year, although there were only two viola players including him. Playing a small part helped him improve his discipline and skill since, for the first time, he had to play a very exposed part where mistakes would be heard and not go unpunished, a stark difference from being one in a giant herd of second violinists.

From then, Junyi enjoyed much success, starting that 7th-grade year when he had a memorable experience leading the still-anemic viola section of three in the founding year of a conductorless chamber group, the Clayton Chamber Ensemble, that would go on to the Midwest clinic in Chicago the following year with Junyi as the principal. He also played with the Young People’s Symphonic Orchestra in 8th grade as a co-principal. He humbly remembered this year as the first year in which he encountered difficult viola music printed on yellowing paper, which was challenging to play at the time but provided an excellent opportunity to improve and set the way for his entry into the SLSYO and the Missouri All-State Orchestra.

Outside of viola playing, Junyi enjoys participating in various activities including being a programmer in CHS’ FRC Robotics team; reporting for his school newspaper, The Globe; swimming; and playing tennis.

Junyi would like to thank the many people in his life that made it possible for him to be where he currently is, including his parents, for always pushing him to improve (and paying for his lessons!). He would also like to thank his charismatic violin teacher, Dr. Jan Davis, for her patience with padawan violinist Junyi and her great advice. Finally, he would not be where he is today without his current viola teacher, Laura Reycraft, for her guidance on his path to further success.