Preview: Chicago Music Academy to Celebrate 10 Years of Musical Excellence

Matthew Lipman by Jiyang Chen; Rachel Barton Pine by Lisa Marie Mazzucco Matthew Lipman by Jiyang Chen; Rachel Barton Pine by Lisa Marie Mazzucco The Music Institute of Chicago's Academy celebrates its 10th anniversary with a performance of its student orchestra featuring alumni Rachel Barton Pine and Matthew Lipman. The concert will take place at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, on Saturday, May 14, at 7:30pm. Founded in 1931, the Music Institute of Chicago offers private and group lessons for people of all ages in several facilities in Chicago and the north shore. In 2006 the institute opened an academy for those especially gifted, high-school age piano and string players intending to pursue a career in music. The academy’s intensive Saturday sessions feature private lessons, ensemble playing, improvisation, music theory and performance. The 30 pianists and string players talented enough to make it through tryouts find themselves in a special and fulfilling musical environment. As academy director James Setapen said, “What the students have told me over the years is most rewarding is the opportunity to grow as musicians by being exposed to the outstanding faculty and to other gifted young performers and develop friendships and professional connections that last a lifetime.” He added, “The students, parents, faculty and staff become a family. We all so look forward to our Saturdays together!” In its short history, the academy has already gained a reputation for training musicians of the highest caliber, with graduates moving on to the finest music conservatories and colleges in the country. More than 200 musicians have completed the academy’s program. Many have successful solo or chamber music careers, while others have joined top orchestras around the country. The highlight of Saturday’s concert is Mozart’s Symphonia Concertante for violin and viola in E-flat major, K.364. Mozart’s rarely performed six concertos for solo string instruments are perhaps the least appreciated of his extensive concerto output. While three of the five concertos for violin, all written around the same time in Salzburg by a teenage Mozart, are delightful, the Symphonia Concertante for violin and viola, the only one written in Vienna during Mozart’s maturity, is an absolute gem. The academy’s student orchestra, under the baton of Roland Vamos, will be joined by violinist Rachel Barton Pine, an alumna of the Institute, and violist Matthew Lipman, an alumnus of the Academy. Pine and Lipman recently released a highly acclaimed recording of the Symphonia Concertante, making this a much-anticipated performance. James Setapen will conduct the other works on the program: Beethoven’s forward-looking Symphony No. 1 in C-major, Op. 21, and modern composer Arvo Paert’s short work Fratres.
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Louis Harris

A lover of music his whole life, Louis Harris has written extensively from the early days of punk and alternative rock. More recently he has focused on classical music, especially chamber ensembles. He has reviewed concerts, festivals, and recordings and has interviewed composers and performers. He has paid special attention to Chicago’s rich and robust contemporary art music scene. He occasionally writes poetry and has a published novel to his credit, 32 Variations on a Theme by Basil II in the Key of Washington, DC. He now lives on the north side of Chicago, which he considers to be the greatest city in the country, if not the world. Member of the Music Critics Association of North America.