Born and raised in Kankakee, Illinois, violist Andrew Francois began his musical studies at the age of 10 on violin in his school's string program. He joined the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra viola section in September 2019. As a chamber musician and soloist, Francois has given recitals throughout the United States and Europe. He also served as artist faculty with the Anchorage Chamber Music Festival. As an avid orchestral player, Francois has played and served as principal with the Verbier Festival Orchestra, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, New World Symphony Orchestra, and was in the inaugural class of fellows with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Resident Fellows program.
Francois has received Artistic Excellence Fellowships from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University as well as Illinois State University. He enjoys teaching and community outreach, and has traveled to Medellin, Colombia, to teach master classes and lessons at Eafit Universidad. While an undergraduate student, he was a Teaching Assistant and private instructor at Illinois State University in its String Project program. As a graduate of the Jacobs School of music, studying under string department chair Stephen Wyrczynski, Francois held the title of Graduate Assistant for the string department, as well as at on the Jacobs School of Music Council as a Graduate representative.
Cellist Yin Xiong was appointed by Music Director David Robertson to the cello section of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at the start of the 2016/2017 season. Yin was awarded notable prestigious prizes from an early age, including the 4th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians as well as top prizes at the 4th and 5thNational Cello Competition of China. She won the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts concerto competition for an unprecedented consecutive five years. As a soloist, Yin made her debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra at age 17 under conductor Edo de Waart. She has also collaborated with conductors János Fürst, François-Xavier Roth, and Alexander Shelley.
An avid chamber and orchestral musician, Yin was strongly influenced by her parents, themselves both professional cellists. As a member of the Academy String Quartet, she served as a representative of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and gave concerts regularly in Asia and Europe. As part of the Hong Kong based cello ensemble, Cellistra, Yin presented concerts and community engagement activities throughout Asia. She was the founding cellist of the Hsin Trio, with whom she gave the American debut of the Toshio Hosokawa’s Piano Trio, was featured in the Juilliard Open Studio, and gave concerts across the United States and China.
As an orchestral musician, Yin received her first job at the age of 20, joining the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, at the same time performing regularly with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Yin has also served as the principal cellist of the Hong Kong Academy Orchestra, the Oberlin Orchestra, and was co-principal of the Juilliard Orchestra. She was the principal cellist of the Pacific Music Festival from 2006-2009 where she had the privilege to work with conductors Valery Gergiev, Riccardo Muti, Christoph Eschenbach and Michael Tilson Thomas.
Yin was a fellowship student at the Aspen Music Festival and School where she was part of the Finckel–Wu Han Chamber Music Studio Program. Other festivals include the Kronberg Academy in Germany, Kneisel Hall, Banff Chamber Music Residency, and the Taos School of Music.
As a dedicated music educator and advocator, Yin served as a faculty member of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Macau Youth Orchestra. She was also a teaching assistant for Professor Darrett Adkins at the Oberlin Conservatory.
Born in Shanghai, China, Yin attended the Shanghai Conservatory, and attended the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts on a full scholarship to study with Professor Ray Wang. She holds a Professional Diploma With Distinction from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and an Artist Diploma from the Oberlin Conservatory. She recently graduated from the accelerated Bachelor and Master of Music degree program at the Juilliard School where she studied with Darrett Adkins and Joel Krosnick. Besides playing the cello, Yin also enjoys playing the baroque cello and viola da gamba. She took secondary lessons with Catharina Meints at the Oberlin Conservatory and Phoebe Carrai at the Juilliard School.
A member of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra since 1994, cellist Alvin McCall was previously Principal Cello with such ensembles as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Prism Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Virtuosi, Jupiter Symphony, and the Naumberg Orchestra. McCall also served as Assistant Principal Cello with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra (of which he is still a member), the New York Chamber Symphony, St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra, and Caramoor Festival Orchestra. Besides these appointments, he was also a member of the New Jersey Symphony and the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra.
An accomplished recitalist and chamber musician as well, McCall is the founding member of the McCall-Deats Duo. The Duo has recorded both the Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich sonatas. He has also performed chamber music with fellow SLSO members at the Sheldon, Piper Palm House, Summerfest, Innsbrook, and other local venues. As a soloist, he has appeared with the University City Symphony, Virginia Philharmonic, Moscow Academic Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and the SLSO.
Shannon Williams lived in several places throughout her childhood but calls Wisconsin, where she spent the most time, her home state. She began playing the violin at the age of five after seeing Itzhak Perlman on Sesame Street and by age seven, had dreams of becoming a member of the Green Bay Symphony. Sadly, that dream was never realized, though she was quite happy to join the viola section of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 2005, David Robertson’s inaugural season as Music Director.
While in high school, she studied violin with the great pedagogue, Mimi Zweig, and was concertmaster of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. Gently persuaded by Zweig, Williams gave the viola a try in a chamber music setting. She and some fellow Milwaukee musicians formed what became known as the Dubinsky Quartet, named after Rostislav Dubinsky, an early mentor of theirs and the founder of the Borodin Quartet. The group went on to win several competitions and accolades, including the junior division of the Fischoff Competition and Indiana University’s Kuttner Quartet competition. In 1999, they were one of ten chamber groups worldwide invited to participate in Australia’s prestigious Melbourne Chamber Music Competition and were also prizewinners in California’s Coleman Competition. Williams began her undergraduate studies as a violin student of Miriam Fried at Indiana University but ultimately decided the viola was her true voice, at which point she began studying with Atar Arad and received her Bachelor’s degree in viola performance. She then went to the New England Conservatory where she received her Master’s Degree under the tutelage of Martha Katz.
Williams remains an avid chamber musician as a member of the SLSO, performing regularly as a trio with violinist Kristin Ahlstrom and cellist Bjorn Ranheim, and is always eager to tackle the challenging modern repertoire performed at the SLSO’s Live at the Pulitzer series. She has also been a featured soloist with the SLSO, as a competition winner at Indiana University, and at the Colorado Music Festival, where she spent several summers as their principal viola.
Outdoor Concerts are Back!
FREE live concerts at
Missouri Botanical Garden
Announcement: Due to the extreme weather, the concert on May 11th is postponed.
Ariel Concert Series will perform live concerts on May 11th at the Missouri Botanical Garden during the extended evening hours. Performances will start at 5 p.m., next to the west pool near the Climatron.
Mozart, Beethoven & Herzogenberg
April 5th, 2022
7:30pm (Doors open at 7:00pm)
Sts Peter and Paul Church
1919 S 7th St,
St. Louis, MO 63104
Bruch and Vivaldi
March 7th, 2022
7:30pm (Doors open at 7:00pm)
Westminster Presbyterian Church
5300 Delmar Boulevard
St Louis, MO 63112
Poulenc & Brahms
June 13th, 2022
7:30pm (Doors open at 7pm)
Webster University Concert Hall
535 Garden Ave.
St Louis, MO 63119
Live Concerts are Back!
Bring your mask and join us for
FREE live concerts.
Live Music Safety
We are excited to welcome you back to live, in-person concerts, the health and safety of our community is an important consideration as we gather for performances. Due to the recent and significant rise in COVID-19 cases in our community, the Ariel Concert Series has implemented policies and procedures to support the safety and health of our patrons, musicians, and staff as we return to in-person concerts.
Hand Sanitzer Station
Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout Concert Space and can be found near entrances to seating area. Per CDC guidelines, people should wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Face Mask Required
Patrons are required to wear face coverings at all times and in all areas of the concert space including while seated during the performance. Face coverings should be worn properly, covering the nose and mouth, and meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) standards. Neck gaiters and bandanas are not permitted. Patrons arriving without appropriate face coverings will be provided a disposable face mask.
Concerts will be presented without intermission and will last less than 90 minutes.
Social distancing seating is encouraged as much as possible in shared spaces.
Please self-assess your health before leaving home. If you have a fever, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or have recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please stay at home.