Music Institute Academy Graduates Move On To Prestigious Institutions, And National And International Competitions

Seven Chicago-area student musicians enrolled in the Music Institute of Chicago's Academy for gifted pre-college pianists and string players have graduated from high school and are moving on to prestigious institutions to continue their education.

Claire Arias-Kim (Hoffman Estates) will study violin performance with Li Lin at The Juilliard School in New York City. At the Academy she was a member of the Xena String Quartet, which won the Grand Award and placed first in the Strings and Piano Division at the A.N. & Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Music Competition; took the Audience Prize at the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition; and placed second in the Rembrandt Chamber Musicians Annual High School Chamber Music Competition. Arias-Kim also placed first in the DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers.

Irina Casasnovas (Evanston, relocated from Costa Rica to study at the Academy) will study violin performance with Rodney Friend at the Royal Academy of Music in London. At the Academy she was a member of the Nova String Quartet, which won the Bronze Medal at the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition.

Elena Galentas (La Grange/Chicago) will study viola performance Ralph Fielding at Lynn University Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton. At the Academy she was a member of the Fiero String Quartet, which qualified for the quarter-finals at the 2019 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.

Alon Hayut (Ann Arbor, Michigan) will study cello performance with Richard Aaron at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance in Ann Arbor. At the Academy he was a member of the Fiero String Quartet, which qualified for the quarter-finals at the 2019 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.

John Heo (Northbrook) will study violin performance with MauricioFuks at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington. He won the Highland Park Music Club Young Musicians' Scholarship Competition and placed second in the Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition, and, as a member of the Nova String Quartet, won the Bronze Medal at the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition.

Natalie Morin (Deerfield), who studied viola at the Academy, will study political science and economics as a double major at Northeastern University in Boston.

Yuelin Zhong (Naperville) will study piano performance at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Music Institute of Chicago Academy alumni have gone on to prestigious careers, among them Matthew Lipman, a violist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Hannah Selonick, director of product development at Artificial Intelligence startup NexLP, who was just named one of Crain's Chicago Business's "20 In Their 20s"; Gabriel Cabezas, a cellist with the yMusic Ensemble, who also recently played backup for Paul Simon; and Leah Ferguson, a violist with the New York Philharmonic.

The Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago is a nationally recognized training center for highly gifted pre-college pianists and string players that provides a comprehensive music education for students who aspire to be professional musicians. Conveniently located just 30 minutes north of Chicago on the beautiful Ravinia Festival grounds, the Academy is a musical community of faculty, staff, and students who come together for an intensive 30-week program, September through May each Saturday. The program focuses on providing a comprehensive musical education that includes private lessons with Academy artist faculty, a rigorous chamber music component, a stimulating chamber orchestra experience, and accelerated music theory classes. Pianists additionally study keyboard history and literature, improvisation, and keyboard skills in an intimate group setting. A hallmark of the Academy is the weekly master class when students perform for and observe acclaimed musicians and educators who share their knowledge. The Academy faculty, members of teaching faculties at some of the most prestigious conservatories and schools of music in the country, are a carefully assembled group with a passion for developing young talent and an established track record of student achievement. Academy students are national prize winners who matriculate to the nation's top conservatories and universities.



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