Music Institute Of Chicago Presents 2012 Chicago Duo Piano Festival July 13–22; Annual Event Features Three Concerts Open to the Public

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The Music Institute of Chicago, the oldest community music school in Illinois and one of the three oldest in the nation, offers the 24th annual Chicago Duo Piano Festival July 13–22 at Music Institute’s Evanston East Campus and Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue. In addition to offering students private and group coaching and the opportunity to perform in final recitals, the Festival includes three public performances at Nichols Concert Hall featuring acclaimed performers and celebrated duo piano repertoire. 

Public performances

Gala Opening Concert—Friday, July 13 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 Mozart’s Sonata in F Major, K. 497 for piano, four hands; Liszt’s Two Episodes from Lenau’s Faust; Eric Ewazen’s Suite from the Cloud Forest; Barber’s “Hesitation-Tango” from Souvenirs; and Milhaud’s Le boeuf sur le toit.

Duo Piano Faculty Extravaganza Concert—Tuesday, July 17 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 faculty and staff members Soo Young Lee and Katherine Lee; Sung Hoon Mo and Inah Chiu; Elaine Felder and Milana Pavchinskaya; Mio Isoda and Matthew Hagle; Irene Faliks and Maya Brodotskaya; Xiaomin Liang and Jue He, Fiona Queen and others, performing works by J.C. Bach, Lutoslawski, Schubert, Shostakovich, and more. 

Guest Recital: Duo Stephanie and Saar—Friday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Stephanie Kai-Win Ho and Saar Ahuvia, a brilliant young husband and wife duo, make their festival debut with works by Bach, from their new CD Bach Crossings, and Hallelujah Junction by John Adams.

About the 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 students age 12 through adult coaching, master classes, concerts with special guest artists, and student recitals. 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 June 10, 2012

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. Recent concerts include a 25th anniversary celebration concert at Merkin Hall in New York, an appearance at the Gina Bachauer Festival in Salt Lake City, and two recitals 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.

DUO Stephanie and Saar

Stephanie Kai-Win Ho, of Taiwanese descent, and Saar Ahuvia, a native of Israel, perform as DUO Stephanie and Saar, possessing a keen interest in programming innovative and thought-provoking repertoire. Performance highlights in the current season include a special collaboration with the New World Symphony Percussion Consort in Miami of a brand new arrangement of Stravinsky’s Petrouchka by Michael Linville and Washington DC’s Dumbarton Oaks concert series. Recent notable engagements include the Portland Piano International Festival, Dranoff Two Piano Foundation’s outreach event Piano Slam at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, and Baltimore’s Yale Gordon Center for the Performing Arts.

Music Institute of Chicago

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. As one of the three largest and most respected community music schools in the nation, the Music Institute offers musical excellence built on the strength of its distinguished faculty, commitment to quality, and breadth of programs and services. Founded in 1931 and one of the oldest community music schools in Illinois, 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 world-class music teachers and arts therapists provide the highest quality arts education, reaching more than 10,000 students of all ability levels, from birth to 102 years of age, at campuses in Evanston, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Winnetka, and Downers Grove and through its longstanding partnership with the Chicago Public Schools. The Music Institute also offers lessons and programs at the Steinway of Chicago store in Northbrook and early childhood and community engagement programs throughout the Chicago area and the North Shore. The Music Institute offers lessons, classes, and programs through four distinct areas: Community School, The Academy, Creative Arts Therapy (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 13, 17, and 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets for each concert are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students, available at musicinst.org or 847.905.1500 ext. 108.



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