Music Institute of Chicago Kicks Off 2014 Duo Piano Festival Today

Music Institute of Chicago Kicks Off 2014 Duo Piano Festival Today

The Music Institute of Chicago presents its 26th annual Chicago Duo Piano Festival today, July 11-20.

In addition to offering students coaching, lectures, master classes, and recitals, the Festival includes four public events at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, in Evanston, featuring guest duo Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, guest pianist/lecturer Joseph Smith, 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 11 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 Petrushka.

Lecture and Recital: Joseph Smith-Sunday, July 13 at 1 p.m. (lecture), 3 p.m. (recital)
Noted pianist/lecturer Joseph Smith presents a program entitled "Invitation to the Dance: The Four-Hand Music of Carl Maria von Weber," followed by a recital of Weber's four-hand music featuring Festival faculty and students. Joseph Smith is especially known for presenting neglected works through performances, lectures, recordings, articles, broadcasts, and editions. He has edited 11 piano anthologies, recorded 10 CDs, and written for numerous publications. Stuart Isacoff's Natural History of the Piano calls Smith a "walking encyclopedia of the piano."

Faculty Extravaganza Concert-Tuesday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m.
In this popular event, members of the Music Institute and Chicago Duo Piano Festival performance faculty perform a mixed program of duo piano favorites. Performers include Sung Hoon Mo, Inah Chiu, Alexander Djordjevic, Katherine Lee, Soo Young Lee, Elaine Felder, Milana Pavchinskaya, Irene Faliks, Maya Brodotskaya, Amy Tan, Chee-Hang See, Fiona Queen, Mark George, Xiaomin Liang, Jue He, Matthew Hagle , Mio Isoda, and others.

Guest Recital: Anderson & Roe Piano Duo-Friday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Music Institute alumna Elizabeth Joy Roe and Greg Anderson, who formed their partnership while attending The Juilliard School, aim to make classical music a relevant and powerful force around the world. Their 2012 album When Words Fade (Steinway Label) received critical acclaim and spent more than a dozen weeks at the top of the Billboard Classical Charts, while millions have viewed their Emmy-nominated, self-produced music videos on YouTube. For the Chicago Duo Piano Festival, Anderson & Roe perform Rachmaninoff's Suite No. 1, their own Carmen Fantasy for Two Pianos, and more of their own classical and crossover transcriptions.

Chicago Duo Piano Festival: 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 Fees are $520 for full participants and $260 for auditors. Early registrants receive greater consideration for repertoire requests. The enrollment deadline is June 10.

Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem: 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 include Four Hand Reflections and music of Brahms and Schubert.

Music Institute of Chicago: The Music Institute of Chicago believes that music has the power to sustain and nourish the human spirit; therefore, its 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 Accrediting Commission for Community and Pre-collegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS). Each year, the Music Institute's teachers and arts therapists reach thousands of students and clients of all ages and levels of experience. The Music Institute opened a new location this fall at Fourth Presbyterian Church's Gratz Center in downtown Chicago. Other Music Institute locations include Evanston, Winnetka, Lincolnshire, Lake Forest, and Downers Grove. In addition, the Music Institute is proud of its longstanding partnership with the Chicago Public Schools through its Arts Link program. The Music Institute offers lessons and classes, creative arts therapy, and concerts through its Community School, Academy, Institute for Therapy through the Arts (ITA), 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 11, 15, and 18 at 7:30 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; the lecture/recital July 13 at 1 p.m. is free. Tickets for all events are available at or 847.905.1500 ext. 108.