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Ava Whitener

2024 Violin C

Ava Whitener is a 15-year-old violinist from Charleston, South Carolina, and a rising junior at the Charleston County School of the Arts (SOA), where she is a strings major and a member of the SOA Sinfonietta and the SOA Symphony Orchestra.  She began playing violin at the age of five through the Suzuki program at Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary, and studied violin privately for approximately eight years in the studio of Chris Gawlik.  Since 2022 she has been a student of Yuriy Bekker, Concertmaster and Artistic Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.  Ava just completed her fifth year as a member of the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra, where she has served as co-concertmaster.  In addition, she especially loves chamber music and is a member of Chamber Music Charleston’s CMC TWO program, performing in a string quartet with three other students from SOA.  She has been selected to South Carolina All-State and Region Orchestra as a first violin each year since sixth grade, serving as concertmaster for All-State and Region orchestras on a number of occasions.


When she was 11 years old, Ava was selected for the Piccolo Spoleto Rising Stars program, both as a soloist and as part of an ensemble.  She has attended various summer music festivals, including the Josef Gingold Chamber Music Festival of Miami, the Shkolnikova Academy in France, and Charleston Chamber Music Intensive (CCMI).  She has been fortunate to receive generous scholarships for these summer programs through the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League, and in 2022 she was the recipient of the Ruth and Barry Goldsmith Award, given for the highest scoring audition for summer study.


Ava has performed in solo master classes for renowned violinists such as Lee-Chin Siow and Tomas Jakubek, and most recently she was honored to perform the Vitali Chaconne in a master class with Gil Shaham when he gave a concert in Charleston.  She has also had summer lessons and chamber coachings with Andrés Cárdenes, Herbert Greenberg, Arturo Delmoni, Yuriy Bekker, Michael Klotz, Gary Levinson, Asako Kremer, Masha Lankovsky, David Chernyavsky, and the late Miles Hoffman.


When she is not playing the violin, Ava loves running, swimming, going to the beach, and hanging out with her family’s two labrador retrievers, Buster and Holly.