Chicago Duo Piano Festival Set for Nichols Concert Hall, Now thru 7/21

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The Music Institute of Chicago's annual Chicago Duo Piano Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary today, July 12-21 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, in Evanston. In addition to offering students coaching, lectures, master classes, and recitals, the Festival includes four public performances at Nichols Concert Hall featuring special guest Ukrainian piano duo Olga and Yuri Sherbakov in their Chicago debut, festival Founders/Directors Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem, and Music Institute piano faculty, all performing duo piano repertoire.

Public performances:

Gala Opening Concert-Friday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Chicago Duo Piano Festival Founders/Directors and Music Institute faculty piano duo in residence Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem perform a program including Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, in celebration of its 100th anniversary, along with works by Schubert and Ravel.

Faculty Recital-Sunday, July 14 at 4 p.m.

The program includes Music Institute faculty and guest artists Mio Isoda and Matthew Hagle performing Debussy's En blanc et noir, Xiaomin Liang and Jue He playing a two-piano arrangement of Prokofiev's Classical Symphony, and Andrea Swann and Fiona Queen performing Bartok's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion.

Faculty Extravaganza Concert-Tuesday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m.

In this popular event, members of the Music Institute faculty offer a varied selection of four-hand and two-piano repertoire. Performers include Maya Brodotskaya and Irene Faliks, Inah Chiu and Sung Hoon Mo, Alexander Djordjevic and Mark George, Elaine Felder and Milana Pavchinskaya, Mio Isoda and Matthew Hagle, Katherine Lee and Soo Young Lee, andXiaomin Liang and Jue He.

Guest Recital: Olga and Yuri Sherbakov (Oleyura Duo)-Friday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Olga and Yuri Sherbakov (Oleyura Duo), a brilliant wife and husband duo from Odessa, Ukraine, making their Chicago debut, are 1st prize winners at the Rome International Competition for Piano Duos in both two piano and piano, four hands categories. They have been featured at the San Francisco International Festival, The First International Piano Duo Festival in Israel, Internazionales Festival Deutsche Musik, Festival of Greek Culture, Festival Musicale delle Nazioni, and Saint-Petersburg Piano Duo Festival. They have performed in prestigious halls in Kiev, Jerusalem, Rome, Moscow, Venice, St. Petersburg, Oslo, and Tel-Aviv and have appeared as guest soloists with The Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra, The Israel Chamber Orchestra, The Crimean Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Norwegian National Opera. They are professors at Odessa State Academy of Music. They teach master classes in Ukraine and abroad. They are founders and artistic directors of the International Piano Duo and Chamber Music Festivals "Crimea Dialogues" and "Odessa Dialogues". They have performed frequently as guests and soloists with the Odessa Philharmonic Society.

For the Chicago Duo Piano Festival, Olga and Yuri Sherbakov perform works by Ukrainian and Russian composers, including Rachmaninoff's Suite No. 1 for Two Pianos.

Called a "duo piano mecca" by Pioneer Press, the Chicago Duo Piano Festival was founded in 1988 by Music Institute of Chicago faculty members Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem. Its mission is to foster a deeper interest in the repertoire, performance, and teaching of music for piano, four hands and two pianos, in a fun and supportive atmosphere. The Festival offers coaching, master classes, concerts with special guest artists, and student recitals for students age 12 through adult. Registration details and a schedule are available at chicagoduopianofestival.org. Fees are $495 for full participants and $265 for auditors. Early registrants receive greater consideration for repertoire requests. The enrollment deadline is May 28, 2013.

Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem, artists in residence and faculty members at the Music Institute, enjoy an international career as proponents of music for both piano duet and two keyboards. The duo has appeared with orchestras internationally, including the Chicago Philharmonic and the Vienna Tonkünstler. They have performed in recitals throughout the U.S. and Europe and are frequent guests on WFMT. Recent concert highlights include a 25th anniversary celebration concert at Merkin Hall in New York, an appearance at the Gina Bachauer Festival in Salt Lake City, and recitals at the Detroit Institute for Arts, the Pitten International Festival in Austria, and in Odessa, Ukraine. Aebersold and Neiweem have commissioned significant new works for the piano duo, including pieces by Joseph Turrin and Patrick Byers. The duo's CDs on the Summit label includeFour Hand Reflections and music of Brahms and Schubert.

The Music Institute of Chicago believes that music has the power to sustain and nourish the human spirit; therefore, our mission is to provide the foundation for lifelong engagement with music. Founded in 1931, the Music Institute has grown to become one of the three largest and most respected community music schools in the nation. Offering musical excellence built on the strength of its distinguished faculty, commitment to quality, and breadth of programs and services, the Music Institute is a member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Each year, the Music Institute's teachers and arts therapists reach more than 10,000 students and clients of all ages and experience levels at campuses in Evanston, Winnetka, Highland Park, Lincolnshire, Lake Forest and Downers Grove, as well as through its longstanding partnership with the Chicago Public Schools. The Music Institute offers lessons, classes, and programs in four distinct areas: the Community School, Academy, Institute for Therapy? through the Arts, and Nichols Concert Hall.

With more than 45 piano faculty members, the Music Institute has one of the largest community school piano departments in the nation. Both nurturing and challenging, instructors teach beginning through advanced repertoire for students of all levels and abilities. In addition, many faculty members maintain active performing careers as soloists, collaborative pianists, and chamber musicians.

The Chicago Duo Piano Festival concerts take place July 12, 16, and 19 at 7:30 p.m. and July 14 at 4 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets for each concert are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for students and are available at musicinst.org or 847.905.1500 ext. 108.

Pictured: Directors Claire Aebersold & Ralph Neiweem