Sonya Stith Williams has been playing the violin since the age of five. Many practice years later she earned a BM in performance and an MM in performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music where her primary teachers were Zvi Zeitlin and Ilya Kaler. Her training also included The Music Academy of the West, concertmaster of the National Orchestral Institute and the Quartet Program, where, in these festivals combined, she worked with many esteemed teachers and performers. Sonya was a member of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra for ten years and has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and the Rochester Chamber Orchestra.
While at the Eastman School of Music, Sonya participated in two string quartet rural residencies in Kentucky. This experience of connecting with a small community was a memorable one and something that has proven to always be relevant, no matter the size of the town. In Syracuse, besides playing chamber music with many of her Symphoria colleagues, other chamber experiences have been with the Skaneateles Festival, the Society for New Music, Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music, and in the Civic Morning Musicals series. She has had the unique experience recently of performing in a recital at the international Percussion Festival in Rochester. Sonya is also a member of the Clinton String Quartet that performs in many places around the region.
Sonya currently serves on Symphoria's Board of Trustees.
When Sonya is not playing her violin, and possibly sometimes when she is, she is raising her three young children Makenna, Caden, and Rowen with her husband Matt. They have revived an old farmhouse together, which is a process that is always "nearly" completed, in a location where they have ample space to grow a large vegetable garden. Sonya also enjoys running, and last summer completed her first triathlon.
She has met many new audience members through the building of Symphoria and it has made her realize how interrelated we all are as a community and just how fulfilling it is to be a part of something that bonds and connects us even further--music.