Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

CSO's Robert Chen Helps Launch Music Institute's 90th

Article Pixel

The Music Institute of Chicago is celebrating 90 years of excellence, innovation, and accessibility in music education.

CSO's Robert Chen Helps Launch Music Institute's 90th

Two Chicago institutions, both committed to cultivating and spotlighting talented musicians, come together to recognize milestone anniversaries for the first in a series of collaborations.

The Music Institute of Chicago, celebrating 90 years of excellence, innovation, and accessibility in music education, presents "Families in Concert," a weekend of virtual performances to raise money for scholarships and financial aid October 9-11 at its historic Nichols Concert Hall. WFMT, to celebrate 70 years in 2021 as one of the world's most respected classical music radio stations, airs and streams the concluding event, a performance by Chicago Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Robert Chen and his family.

On Friday, October 9 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, October 10 at 5 p.m., the Music Institute presents two programs of virtual performances to raise support for scholarships and financial aid for its students. Both programs feature students from the Music Institute's Community Music School and its Academy for gifted pre-college musicians. The recital programs, which will be prerecorded at Nichols Concert Hall, will be available at

Music Institute President and CEO Mark George noted, "Quality music education should be accessible to everyone. An enormous number of families need scholarships and financial aid, and this fundraiser is a wonderful way to help. I am grateful to WFMT for their partnership and support and very pleased to be celebrating our anniversaries together."

Co-chairs for "Families in Concert" are Music Institute board members Dan Hahn, Renée Parquette, and Zalman Usiskin and Music Institute parent Yana Nedvetsky.

Robert Chen with Music Institute board member Renée Parquette and her granddaughter, Music Institute Suzuki violin student Evie Hsu. Photo by Erin Fusco. On Sunday, October 11 at 3 p.m., the Chen String Quartet, featuring CSO Concertmaster Robert Chen and his wife Laura Park Chen on violin and their children Beatrice Chen on viola and Noah Chen on cello, performs live from Nichols Concert Hall. The repertoire includes Dohnányi's Serenade for String Trio, Op. 10; Beethoven's String Quartet in G Major, Op. 18, No. 2; and Smetana's String Quartet No. 1 in E minor ("From My Life").

The performance airs live on 98.7WFMT and streams at and In addition, WFMT presents a video livestream on Facebook.

The Chen String Quartet has been playing together for six years. Committed to community outreach, they regularly play at Chicago-area retirement homes and hospitals. Robert Chen has been concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1999. Laura Park Chen is a former member of the first violin section of both Lyric Opera and Grant Park Symphony. Beatrice Chen is a viola student at the Curtis Institute of Music. Noah Chen is a student of Clara Kim at Juilliard Pre-College.

"WFMT has long been committed to providing a showcase for emerging local talent through our Introductions series and other programs," said WFMT General Manager George Preston. "We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Music Institute throughout our respective special anniversary seasons."

"Families in Concert," a scholarship fundraiser concert series,
features prerecorded student recitals

Friday, October 9 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, October 10 at 5 p.m.
Virtual viewing is available for a $30 contribution;
contributions of $100, $500, $1,000, or $2,500 include additional interactive events.
Visit to contribute and for more information.

The Chen String Quartet performs a free live concert
Sunday, October 11 at 3 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall,
airing live on 98.7WFMT and streaming at and,
with a video livestream on Facebook. Nichols Concert Hall

Noted architect Solon S. Beman designed the architecturally and acoustically magnificent First Church of Christ, Scientist, located at 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, in 1912. In 2003, the building was sensitively restored to become Nichols Concert Hall, a state-of-the-art, 550-seat performance space and music education destination, easily accessible to numerous restaurants, on-street and metered parking, and the Davis Street CTA and Metra stations. The converted building, featuring a fully restored, 1914 E. M. Skinner pipe organ, received the Richard H. Driehaus Award for best adaptive use by the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois. Each year Nichols Concert Hall reaches approximately 15,000 people and hosts a world-class chamber music series, workshops and master classes, student recitals, and special events.

Related Articles View More Chicago Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You