Senior soloist Muller to perform April 26

Sophia Muller [photo: Robert Muller]

This April, Cleveland Heights High School will present the Instrumental Music Department’s (IMD) finale concerts. On April 25, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Concert Orchestra, and Philharmonic Strings will perform. April 26’s concert will feature Symphonic Winds, Heights High Symphony, and senior soloist Sophia Muller. Both concerts will take place at 7 p.m. in the school’s auditorium.

Muller formally began studying violin when she was 4, but has always been surrounded by music. Laura Shuster, her mother, and a Heights alumna, is a professional violist and was her first teacher. Muller recalled telling her mom, when asked to choose an instrument, “I want to play the violin,” adding, “I'm sure I thought that a violin was a viola, but I had a limited vocabulary, so she got me started on the violin.”

At 5, Muller began taking lessons with Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) faculty member Stephen Sims, with whom she still studies. She also studied in CIM’s Suzuki program and played with CIM’s Beginning and Youth Preparatory orchestras. Additionally, she served as concertmaster for the Cavani Quartet’s Beyond Beethoven Project and was a 2022–23 Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra member. She was recently named a finalist in the 2024 Kenyon Music Scholarship competition. 

Muller has played in CH-UH school orchestras since second grade at Fairfax Elementary School. At Heights High, Muller served as principal second violin of the Heights High Symphony during her freshman year, when school was held remotely, and recalls the challenge of leading sectionals online. Since her sophomore year, Muller has been concertmaster.

According to Director of Orchestras Daniel Heim, as concertmaster “Sophie really understands her responsibility. It’s harder than it looks. It brings a lot of challenges and pressure with it. She’s a great concertmaster and a great leader. I'm sure that's going to serve her well in other places, too.”

Muller also has been the first violinist of the Heights High String Quartet, a co-concertmaster for the 2022 Heights production of “Sister Act,” and concertmaster for both the 2023 Heights High Centennial and the Chicago tour. 

Muller continues her family’s tradition of music at Heights. Along with her mother, her aunt is a graduate of the program and an IMD Hall of Fame member, and her grandmother was president of the Band and Orchestra Parent Organization. About her years in Heights’ music programs, Muller stated, “I just want to emphasize how amazing this program is.”

Muller’s experience playing at Heights will culminate with her performance of Ralph Vaughn Williams’ The Lark Ascending, which the composer described as a pastoral romance for violin and orchestra. Written in 1914 and revised in 1920, the piece was inspired by a George Meredith poem and musically depicts the bird’s skyward ascension.

Outside of music, Muller is co-captain of the Heights Swim Team, where she is as a four-year varsity and A-relay member. She swims for the Blazing Barracudas club team in the off-season and the Heights Tigersharks in the summer, where she also teaches swimming. She is secretary of the 2024 Class Council, a member of the National Honor Society, and was named an AP Scholar with Distinction in 2023. Muller plans to attend college next year, majoring in psychology and minoring in music on a pre-law track. 

Muller thanks her friends, family, and countless mentors for their love and support. She extends special thanks to Heim, Stewart Pharis, and Katie Holaway, for always making school orchestra one of her favorite periods of the day; to Sims, who nurtured her love for the violin; and to her mother, for introducing her to one of her life's greatest passions.

Eve McPherson

Eve McPherson is co-president of the Heights Band and Orchestra Parent Organization and professor of music at Kent State Trumbull.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:24 AM, 03.28.2024