Portrait of Essence Williams

Youth Orchestra

Essence Williams

Saint Louis University

As a full-time member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, Essence Williams is looking forward to her second season! At the age of twelve, Williams started playing the violin. Since then, she has come to love the instrument even more. Williams is currently an incoming Freshman at Saint Louis University (SLU). At SLU, Essence plans to pursue Biology on the Pre-Health track with music as her minor. Outside of orchestra, she is heavily involved in music. Williams recently concluded her last year as a member of the Young People’s Symphonic Orchestra at Webster University’s Community Music School. Previously, Williams was a member of the Young People’s Concert Orchestra for two years at CMS. Shortly after she began playing her instrument, Williams joined the Gateway Music Outreach (GMO) program led by James McKay. Through GMO, Williams has had many opportunities to collaborate with established artists, such as multiple Grammy Award winner Michael McDonald and Grammy-nominated duo Black Violin. She has also had opportunities to work with soul singer, Brian Owens and upcoming artist, Malena Smith. For the past five years, Essence has been a member of the SLSO’s Peer to Peer Program alongside GMO. She has had the chance to participate in masterclasses with SLSO violinists Joo Kim and David Halen. Now, Essence is excited for her second year as a YO mentor in the Peer-to-Peer Program. Essence is incredibly grateful for all the opportunities that she has received.

In her free time, Essence enjoys photography, doing arts and crafts, reading, playing with her dog Rocky, and spending time with her friends and family. After college, Essence plans to continue working towards a career in Dentistry and Music Performance.

Essence would like to thank her GMO and Peer to Peer family: James McKay, Jessica Gates-Little, Maureen Byrne, Joseph Hendricks and Malena Smith. She would also like to thank her teachers and mentors: John McGrosso, Patrick Jackson, Andrew Pulliam, Adrian Walker, and Joo Kim. In addition, Essence would like to thank SLSYO alumni: Allie Peng, Becky Lang, and Ellie Yang. Lastly, Essence would like to thank her family, especially her mom for always being her number one fan!

Concerts + Events

There are many ways to share your love for music with us. From our family concert series to specialty concerts, the SLSO has Symphony events for every visitor.