Charles E. Askew in Concert

Please join us for a benefit recital featuring Charles E. Askew, pianist and University of Missouri – Columbia student, at Schmitt Music Kansas City on Saturday, July 22 starting at 4:00PM.

This talented pianist has a truly remarkable story. Enjoy an hour-long benefit recital of beautiful classical music and original compositions! Read more about Charles’ story below.

Seating is limited, so please let us know if you plan to attend. Call 913-663-4756 or email us at kckb@schmittmusic.com to RSVP.


An amazing story of talent, musicianship and hard-work, Charles E. Askew is entering his Junior year at the University of Missouri – Columbia in Piano Performance under Dr. Peter Miyamoto and maintaining a 3.8 GPA. Besides his school work and piano study, he also conducts a contemporary ensemble called Exit 128.

Joyce Berg NCTM, encountered Charles at a district High School Solo and Ensemble music contest in March, 2014 in which he performed the Chopin Posthumous Polonaise in b-flat minor beautifully. To her shock and surprise, she was told that he did not have a teacher and this was his first major contest. He taught the Chopin to himself because he could not afford a teacher.

Charles was a North Kansas City High School senior who had accomplished a great deal despite challenging circumstances. He was raised by his grandfather. At age 2 he asked for piano lessons which he received to a limited extent. He studied piano in grade school with a jazz gospel teacher. In his early teens he turned to classical music and taught himself by listening to great classical performances on Youtube. His grandfather passed away when Charles was 9. He then experienced abuse and malnutrition with his uncle who did drugs and alcohol until he moved in at age 12 with his single mother, who was mentally and emotionally challenged due to crack cocaine use. At age 12 and 13 when he finally had a piano, he wrote his own etudes to improve his technique creating his own staff paper by hand. He attempted to tune his spinet piano with an Allen wrench. In spite of everything, it is significant that he had the initiative to train himself in classical performance and composition. He declared emancipation from his mother in July, 2014 and was welcomed in the home of local area piano teachers, Steve and Joyce Berg. He was featured in a front page article in the Kansas City Star on June 14, 2014.

Opportunities for tax-deductible envelope donations will be available strictly for educational purposes to help Charles achieve his goals. Donations may also be made directly to the North Kansas City Education Foundation, Attention: Jan Lewis, who can be contacted at jan.lewis@nkcschools.org or by telephone at 816-321-5550.