Victoria Schmidlin Named Concertmaster at All-State Orchestra Competition

Highest score earns freshman impressive honor
Victoria Schmidlin, a GPS ninth-grader, has been playing the violin since she was four, and it became apparent rather quickly that she was an impressive talent. Over the years she has trained with various teachers, both in and out of town, and has honed her skills with consistent practice. Her current violin teacher is Sonja Foster-Allen.
Today, Victoria is a member of the Chattanooga Youth Symphony (since 2018-2019 season), as well as the GPS | McCallie Honors Orchestra, for which she sits first chair. For anyone unfamiliar with orchestra terms, first chair violin is the leader of the entire orchestra and works closely with the conductor on a variety of responsibilities. In a competitive setting, a first-chair violinist has earned the highest score and is therefore named concertmaster.
As a member of Honors Orchestra, Victoria plays with other GPS and McCallie students under the leadership of Nichole Pitts. In addition to various performances throughout the year, Honors Orchestra students participate in clinics and competitions around the state. 
Earlier this year, Victoria was named second chair at the All East clinic and was promoted to first chair and concertmaster. (Lucie DeGaetano '24 earned a clarinet seat during the weekend’s events, as well.) Victoria handled the surprise role with grace and confidence but didn’t necessarily expect to earn it at All State just two months later. 
Cut to: Victoria receiving a phone call from Ms. Pitts just a few weeks ago to announce seat placements for All State. Victoria had earned first chair violin and concertmaster. “I was in a bit of disbelief,” she said. “When Ms. Pitts called me, I didn’t believe her for a minute.” 
But it wasn’t a lie, and Victoria crushed it at All State in her leadership role. She was even able to FaceTime with a composer whose music they were playing, which she thought was really cool. “We got to hear about her own intentions while she was composing the piece, which gave us more perspective while we were playing it,” she said. “That added more depth to the piece.”
Victoria enjoys All State because it gives her the opportunity to meet other musicians from across the state. “I really like orchestra, but I also really like the competition,” she said. But while earning first chair concertmaster honors as a freshman is a feat in and of itself, Victoria isn’t a stranger to accolades. Last year she was named the junior string solo winner at the Tennessee Music Teachers Association competition. 
Victoria is not solely focused on violin, though. She’s also a member of the GPS Upper School Dance Ensemble and plans to audition for the school’s modern dance company, Terpsichord, later this year. With school and other interests filling her schedule, Victoria admits it can be hard to balance everything but says when she gets a good opportunity to play her violin, she is reminded of just how much it means to her.