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Karri Li Receives Scholarship from Wharton Arts

originally published: 05/24/2024

Karri Li Receives Scholarship from Wharton Arts

(BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ) -- Wharton Arts, New Jersey's largest non-profit community performing arts education center, is pleased to announce the George Marriner Maull Careers in Music Scholarship Award, a $1,000 scholarship designed to support and encourage the next generation of musical talents, has been awarded to Karri Li, a flutist in the New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) and a student of faculty member Laura George at the Wharton Performing Arts School.

This scholarship is dedicated to recognizing exceptional graduating seniors from the New Jersey Youth Symphony, a program of Wharton Arts, who are enrolling in a conservatory or school of music at the university level, as they embark on their music career journey.

Li will attend University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance.

“The New Jersey Youth Symphony has already been a huge influence in my artistic journey over the past few years, so I can't express how grateful I am to receive this scholarship and continue to be supported as I take this next step in my career,” said Li. “While making music is my passion, sharing it is my life’s true work. Without NJYS’ outreach opportunities, I may not have recognized this fundamental motivation behind my work. They are among my most cherished musical memories, as they allowed me to pay the joy of music forward and use art to improve the world. Never have I met an audience so deeply touched by a performance as that of local retirement communities; nor have I seen one so intellectually, physically, and emotionally engaged as that of Carnegie Hall on Juneteenth. Inspired by our educational concert this season, I began working with flutists at my elementary school with the goal of improving retention within our district’s music program. Influenced by Helen (Cha-Pyo) to explore how our industry can adapt to the modern landscape, I performed a study of orchestra audience development efforts on social media for my junior year AP Research project.”

Said Li’s flute instructor Laura George, “Karri Li’s profound love of the flute has inspired her to practice four hours daily to thoroughly prepare for her many concerts, recitals, and master classes. Her unwavering devotion, dedication, and drive to excel are inspiring to my other students. Her lustrous, nuanced tone and inspired interpretations invite the listeners to join her on her musical journey. It has been my great joy and privilege to teach and mentor such a deserving, stellar student as she pursues her studies in her chosen profession of music.”

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George Marriner Maull, an Emmy-nominated conductor and advocate for music education, served as the inaugural Music Director and Conductor of the New Jersey Youth Symphony from 1979 to 1997. Additionally, he held the position of Music Director and Conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey from 1987 to 2006 and has been the Artistic Director and Educator of The Discovery Orchestra for the past 18 years.

Said Artistic Director Helen H. Cha-Pyo, “Karri is an exceptional young musician and individual, displaying remarkable discipline, intelligence, and passion for the art of flute playing. She exemplifies the spirit of the George Marriner Maull Careers in Music Scholarship Award, and I look forward to seeing how Karri will use music to improve the lives of others along her musical journey."

Wharton Arts’ mission is to offer accessible, high quality performing arts education that sparks personal growth and builds inclusive communities. Wharton Arts’ vision is for a transformative performing arts education in an inclusive community to be accessible for everyone.

Wharton Arts is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving nearly 2,000 students through a range of classes and ensembles. The 5 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Chorus, an auditioned choral ensemble program for students in grades 3–12, encourage a love and appreciation of choral music while nurturing personal growth and creative development. The 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve nearly 600 students in grades 3–12 by audition, inspire young people to achieve musical excellence through high-level ensemble training and performance opportunities. Based in Paterson, the Paterson Music Project is an El Sistema-inspired program of Wharton Arts that uses music education as a vehicle for social action by empowering and inspiring young people to achieve their full potential through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. From Pathways classes for young children to Lifelong Learning programs for adults, the Wharton Performing Arts School has a robust musical theater and drama program and offers both private and group classes for instruments and voice for all ages and all abilities. With the belief in the positive and unifying influence of music and that performing arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay, Wharton Arts offers need-based scholarships.

Wharton Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence, and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 12 counties. All of Wharton Arts’ extraordinary teaching artists, faculty members, and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.

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