Did anyone think that it was possible to make it into the St. Louis Youth Symphony as a freshman? St. Louis U. High’s very own freshman Klaus Jostlein made it not only this year, but also as an eighth grader.
Jostlein has been playing the violin ever since he was four years old. The influence of his parents played a large role in his early flourishing violin career.
“I first became inspired to play the violin because both my parents played instruments and we also were very close with my violin teacher growing up,” said Jostlein. “It really helped me develop and learn quickly from a young age.”
Jostlein’s parents surrounded him with music throughout his entire childhood. His father, Thomas Jostlein, is the Assistant Principal Horn for the St. Louis Symphony and his parents would bring him to many concerts at Powell Hall. This connection allowed for plenty of practice and experiences for Jostlein to be immersed with music while growing up.
“My wife is also a very fine horn player as well. And growing up we always brought Klaus to concerts at Powell Hall, and even though he would fall asleep after an hour and a half, it was a great experience for him” said Thomas Jostlein, Klaus’s father.
The St. Louis Youth Symphony consists of 100 musicians between the ages of 12 and 22 from all over the state who had to audition for a spot. Once Jostlein earned a spot, he practiced alongside the rest of the orchestra every Saturday for three hours in preparation for the symphony, which was held this past Sunday at Powell Hall.
“Kids audition from all over the state and even some college kids, so to be picked is very special,” said Pottinger.
At the performance, Jostlein performed on the violin alongside many other high school students including senior Joey Hanks. During the performance, the orchestra performed several pieces including the renowned “Fireball” by Igor Stravinsky.
“I think that the highlight was for sure “Fireball.” But to hear him like we did on stage the other night and to see him so engaged and really happy and moving along with the music really shows his passion that he has for the music,” said Thomas Jostlein.
“My favorite movement was definitely ‘Fireball,’” said the younger Jostlein. “It lives up to its name, it’s just a very fiery performance and very lively to play.”
Jostlein has also been able to get a glimpse of music worldwide. Along with several previous trips to Germany, he will also be joining the SLUH band on a trip to the Vatican over spring break.
“We went to Germany this past July and got the violin and he actually got to play in a concert there. He’s really just quite the performer and it’s obvious he got that gene that allows him to perform regardless of the circumstances,” said Thomas Jostlein.
Another experience that has shaped Jostlein is his involvement in Jazz U, a local jazz program that practices for two hours each week and is able to travel around to perform in front of live audiences across St. Louis. This past September, Jostlein was able to perform at Jazz at the Bistro alongside Regina Carter.
“At Jazz U, he gets coached by an amazing local bass player and he was also able to perform with the preeminent jazz violin player in the world, Regina Carter,” said Thomas Jostlein. “It even made me cry, she invited him to play the blues with her and it was very abrupt but I could tell that he was just so at home.”
Although Jostlein has had some of the best instructors for jazz violins teach him, he still finds joy in the SLUH band program, which has provided him additional practice opportunities and been a great way to enjoy himself and his classmates while creating music.
“He really loves Mr. Pottinger, who has created a very nurturing musical and all inclusive environment for the musicians, which Klaus has been loving,” said Thomas Jostlein.
Pottinger appreciates having a player of Jostlein’s caliber in the program.
“It really helps to see that we have a musician of that high caliber that goes to school here. And when that happens, it raises the playing level, ability, and even motivation of the people who play around them,” said Pottinger.
Jostlein’s capabilities on the violin have been put on display both at the St. Louis Youth Symphony and in the SLUH band room. The dedication and passion that he has put into music has not only paid off, but it also has provided many others with opportunities and the joy of watching him perform.
“To hear Klaus and the Youth Orchestra performing at such a high level is exhilarating for me. It was definitely a proud moment to get to see and hear all his hard work pay off,” said Thomas Jostlein.
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