Summer Festival Continues Chicago Duo Piano Festival's 30th Season

Summer Festival Continues Chicago Duo Piano Festival's 30th Season

The Music Institute of Chicago continues the 30th anniversary season of its Chicago Duo Piano Festival (CDPF) with an expanded schedule of public performances featuring international guest artists July 8-20, 2018 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. In addition, pianists age eight and older may apply to participate in the education program of the two-week festival, which includes coachings, lectures, master classes, and recitals. The deadline is May 25.

Called a "duo piano mecca" by Pioneer Press, the world-renowned Chicago Duo Piano Festival was founded in 1988 by Music Institute of Chicago faculty members and piano duo in residence Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem. Aiming to establish a project dedicated to the study of piano duo repertoire, the Chicago Duo Piano Festival has grown from a small workshop to a multifaceted annual festival. "Thinking about our early days as Chicago Duo Piano Workshop, we are gratified to see how the festival has grown into an event of international importance for fans of the piano duo," commented Neiweem. "In addition to guest piano duos from Russia and Italy, this year's festival includes an anniversary gala opening concert featuring a world premiere by Miami-based composer Robert Chumbley, a Leonard Bernstein centennial tribute concert, and performances featuring some of the Music Institute's acclaimed piano faculty." Aebersold added. "Our mission continues unabated into the next decade, and we welcome everyone to share the enthusiasm by attending one of the many exciting events planned for our season of celebration."

Concert Schedule
Sunday, July 8 at 3 p.m.
30th Anniversary Gala Opening Concert - Beethoven: Sorrows and Joys showcases Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem performing Franz Liszt's two-piano arrangement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 and the world premiere of American composer Robert Chumbley'sCries and Whispers, a musical exploration of Beethoven's growing deafness, co-commissioned by the Chicago Duo Piano Festival and the Dranoff Foundation.

Tuesday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Basically Bernstein celebrates Leonard Bernstein's centennial with performances including the overture to Candide and "Symphonic Dances" from West Side Story by members of the Music Institute of Chicago piano faculty.

Friday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Natalia Lavrova and Vassily Primakov - Russian Masterpieces features Juilliard-trained concert pianists Lavrova and Primakov. These young stars, descended from the Great Russian Conservatory tradition, perform works including Rachmaninoff's Suite No. 1, Op. 5 and a two-piano transcription of Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony.
Saturday, July 14 at 10 a.m.: Primakov and Lavrova lead a FREE master class.

Sunday, July 15 at 3 p.m.
Two Great Piano Duo Sonatas: Brahms and Bartok presents pianists Fiona Queen and Louise Chan performing Bartok's innovative and unprecedented Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with guest percussionists Josh Graham and John Corkill. Husband and wife piano duo Matthew Hagle and Mio Isoda perform Brahms' Sonata in F minor for Two Pianos, Op. 34b. There is a pre-concert lecture with Ralph Neiweem at 2 p.m.

Tuesday, July 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Duo Piano Extravaganza shines a spotlight on a mixed program of music for piano duo, performed by members of the Music Institute of Chicago's acclaimed piano faculty.

Friday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Vincenzo Maxia and Giuseppe Bruno - Liszt's Symphonic Vision features the Italian duo performing Liszt's epic "Faust" Symphony and tone poem Les Preludes.
Saturday, July 21 at 10 a.m.: Maxia and Bruno offer a FREE master class.

All concerts and master classes take place
at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston.
Single concert tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $10 for students;
a 3-PASS is $60 for adults, $40 for seniors, and $20 for students.
Call 847-905-1500, ext. 108 or visit

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 Washington Post has described them as "consummate practitioners of pianism, in complete sympathy with and understanding of each other," and Gramophone Magazine called their Schubert recordings "utterly charming." 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. Concerts include a 25th anniversary celebration concert at Merkin Hall in New York, an appearance at the Gina Bachauer Festival in Salt Lake City, two recitals in Odessa, Ukraine, and more than 200 recitals in Austria and Italy. 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. They are frequent performers on WFMT 98.7FM and are founders of the Chicago International Duo Piano Competition.

Chicago Duo Piano Festival
Founded in 1988, the Chicago Duo Piano Festival has as its mission 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 Chicago Duo Piano Festival presents an annual summer festival and winter mini-fest, youth and adult competitions, master classes, and concerts featuring national and international guest piano duos. The festival has hosted many of the world's most formidable piano duos, including the Paratore brothers, Hans-Peter and Volker Stenzl, Tal and Groethuysen, the Contiguglia brothers, and Anderson and Roe.

Note: The 30th Anniversary Season continues with the 2018 Chicago National Youth Competition for Piano Duos Saturday, October 27, 2018 for young piano duos ages 9-18, currently in elementary to high school, studying and residing in the United States. Winning duos will receive cash awards, and all prize winners will participate in a winners concert at Nichols Concert Hall to be recorded for future radio broadcast on WFMT 98.7FM.

Music Institute of Chicago
The Music Institute of Chicago is dedicated to transforming lives through music education. Founded in 1931, the Music Institute has grown to become one of the 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 for Community Arts Education and accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Pre-collegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS). Each year, the Music Institute's teachers reach thousands of students of all ages and levels of experience. Music Institute locations include Chicago, 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, and concerts through its Community Music School, Academy, and Nichols Concert Hall.

For more information, visit

Photo: Nichols Concert Hall courtesy of Music Institute of Chicago.

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