College + Music = ? The 2013 Midwest Young Artists College Night at The Fort, presented by the MYA Young Professionals Board

Good evening friends and MYA members. During this weekend off we are sure that some of your families will be talking about college plans. These are exciting times, planning for college. They can also be quite stressful. Since music is at the very core of the existence of many of our students, it is frightful to imagine having to give up the level of performance and good times associated with music in order to pursue a specific area of study. 

Fear not! There are an amazing amount of options out there for college-bound musicians. The problem is finding the time to research everything and

consolidating it all. This is where the younger, more casually dressed MYA Young Professionals Board comes in. They have again planned a free informational College Night at the Fort event for Friday, April 5th at 7pm at the MYA Center. We have amassed a brain trust of panelists as you can see below, and they are ready to answer your questions about the music college conundrum.

The 2013 YPB College Night at the Fort Panelists:

Chris Madsen: Professor of Jazz at Northwestern and Jazz Band Director at MYA

Don Meyer: Associate Professor and Chair, Music Department of Lake Forest College

Nathan Sackschewsky: Willowbrook High School, MYA

Frank Feger: Mercer, Northwestern University Alum 
Andrew Mall: Depaul University Admissions

Brea Murakami: Music Therapist

Ember Miller: Private Teacher, Civic Orchestra of Chicago

Last year’s event was extremely well received and exceeded attendance expectations. George Ferguson, an MYA alum and president of the Young Professionals Board, is pleased with the event planning, adding: “We are very excited and grateful to have such a wonderful panel this year.  The Young Professionals Board looks forward to planning this event every year because we understand how valuable it is to families in the community.
The evening will formally begin at 7:00pm in the South Performance Hall of the MYA Center in Fort Sheridan. There is no need to RSVP, no sign in, and no tickets. Invite your friends and family, the more the merrier!  Address: 878 Lyster Road, Highwood Illinois, 60040. Contact: (847) 926-9898 

- Carl Jasieniecki
Director of Marketing & Communications, MYA

The 2013 Chicago Viola Festival: Great Success and lots of Alto Clef

 2013 Chicago Viola Festival Recap

(Highland Park, Illinois) Violists took Ravinia by storm this past weekend to take part in the annual Chicago Viola Festival, a gathering organized by local non-profit music conservatory Midwest Young Artists. Over 50 musicians, 10 esteemed clinicians from as far away as Florida, and seven sponsors offering the highest quality instruments and accessories filled Bennett Gordon Hall, on the campus of the famous North Shore festival on March 17th
The 2013 event brought in new sponsors, almost twice as many attendees, and several new clinicians. Participants immersed themselves in a full day of classes and clinics, which included an Irish Fiddle workshop in honor of St. Patrick’s day, a lecture on the viola compositions of Brahms, and a class just for beginners to name a few. Also on the menu, an unprecedented number of master classes at the rate of almost two per hour. There truly was something for everyone, from beginners to veteran violists.
 The festival concluded with a recital by three festival clinicians, which inspired many of the students in attendance to practice with renewed vigor. Michael Strauss, principal viola of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and assoc. Professor of viola and chamber music at Oberlin, performed Lachrymae by Benjamin Britten. Dr. Katherine Lewis, assoc. Professor of viola at Illinois State University, performed Wild Purple by Joan Tower. Anthony Devroye, asst. Professor of viola at Northern Illinois University and member of the Avalon Quartet, performed the third movement of Brahms's E Flat Sonata for Viola and Piano.
After a splendid lunch donated by Giordano’s Pizza of Evanston, festival goers perused the beautifully crafted instruments and bows brought by local vendors whose sponsorship was integral to the continued success of the festival. One violist in particular was grateful for the assistance of top level sponsor Seman Violins of Chicago. Katherine Brown of Evanston encountered a malfunctioning door lock system that held her viola captive in her vehicle. Even with the aid of several staff and violists, it looked as though her much anticipated master class with Matthew Michelic of Lawrence University would be canceled. Seman Violins stepped in and loaned Katherine a top of the line instrument and bow to use for the day. With the aid of a technician to adjust the instrument and a tuning app on someone’s smartphone, Katherine was right on time and in tune for her one on one with Mr. Michelic on the stage at Bennett Gordon Hall. Said Brown: “I am so thankful for everyone’s help, this is what the music community is all about!”
Violist Katherine Brown made it to her Master Class with the help of Seman Violins of Chicago
Indeed, from the alto clef cupcakes baked by MYA Alum volunteer Rebecca Rudy, to the forging of new friendships and professional endeavors among participants, the Chicago Viola Festival exemplifies the sort of good natured fun and community that the Chicago music scene is known for.
2013 Viola Fest Clinicians :
Kate Lewis: Illinois State University
Erika Eckert: University of Colorado Boulder
Michael Strauss: Oberlin; Principal Viola, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Anthony Devroye: Northern Illinois University
Charles Pikler: Northwestern University; Principal Viola, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Rami Solomonow: Depaul University; Chicago Chamber Musicians
Matthew Michelic: Lawrence University
Christine Due: ASTA String Teacher of the Year; Private Instructor
Sarah Montzka: Music Institute; Suzuki Faculty
Kenneth Martinson: University of Florida, President: International Viola Society
Midwest Young Artists thanks the 2013 Viola Fest sponsors for their support: Seman Violins, William Harris Lee and Company, Michael Becker Fine Violins, LTD, The Workshop of Eric Swanson, A440 String Specialists, Austin’s Violin Shop, and John Norwood Lee Bows.
Online Registration is available for the 2014 Chicago Viola Festival, which will take place again at Ravinia Festival on March 16th, 2014. Sign up at:, and learn more about Midwest Young Artists at: Find us on Facebook: