Music Institute students excel in fall competitions

Posted12/29/2020 1:42 PM

The Music Institute of Chicago's Academy for gifted pre-college pianists and string players and Community Music School students have started the school year with several noteworthy virtual competition achievements.

Academy students swept the Lisker Music Foundation 2020 Young Artists Scholarship Competition, with each winner earning a scholarship and an opportunity to perform on the LMF series:


• Violin: Abigail Park, 16, Flossmoor

• Piano: Zachary Guo, 14, Deerfield

• Cello: Jan Nedvetsky, 14, Wilmette

In the 2020-21 Music Teachers National Association state competitions, Illinois winners included the following students, who advance to the East Central Division competition (* indicates Academy):

Senior strings

• First place: Isabella Brown*, violin, 18, Gurnee

• Alternate: Esme Arias-Kim*, violin, 15, Hoffman Estates

• Honorable mention: Sidney Lee*, viola, 16, Arlington Heights

• Honorable mention: Mia Wimbiscus*, cello, 17, Wilmette

• Katya Moeller*, violin, 16, Coralville, Iowa, took first place in the Iowa state competition.

Senior piano

• First place: Ashley Kim*, 17, Wilmette

• Honorable mention: Kimiko Darcy*, 15, Chicago

• Honorable mention: Harry Zhang, 16, Highland Park

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Junior piano

• Alternate: Matthew Hahn, 13, Lake Forest

• Honorable mention: Zachary Guo*, 14, Deerfield

Junior composition

• Zarin Mehta, 13, Chicago

In the Illinois State Music Teachers Association Piano Competition (North), Music Institute students placed in each division (* indicates Academy):

Primary Piano Solo Division: Grades 1-3

• First: Helena Sprajcer, 9, Wheeling

Elementary Piano Solo Division: Grades 4-6

• Second (tie): Emily Hu, 11, Kenilworth

• Honorable Mention: Eric Wang, 10, Wilmette

Junior Piano Solo Division: Grades 7-9

• Second: Shixun Song, 13, Buffalo Grove

• Third: Zachary Guo*, 14, Deerfield

• Honorable Mention: Matthew Hahn, 13, Lake Forest

Senior Piano Solo Division: Grades 10-12


• First: Harry Zhang, 16, Highland Park

• Second: Kimiko Darcy, 15, Chicago

• Third: Daniel Mies Nass, 17, Glenview

• Honorable Mention: Madeline Hammett, 15, Winnetka

In the Steinway Virtual Piano Competition's Chicago regional segment, the following Music Institute students placed (* indicates Academy):

Division I

• First: Karnik Prasad, 9, Lake Bluff

• Second: Eric Wang, 10, Wilmette

Division II

• Third: Micah Chan, 12, Skokie

Division III

• First: Zachary Guo*, 14, Deerfield

Division IV

• First: Harry Zhang, 16, Highland Park

• Third: Alexis Boe, 17, Winnetka

The Great Composers Competition is a series of international music competitions for young instrumentalists, singers, and chamber groups. Organizers announce award winners annually on the composers' birthdays.

Oboist Zachary Allen (16, Skokie) won first prize in his age group in the International Great Composers Competition Best Saint-Saëns Performance category.

In the 2020 Sejong Virtual Music Competition, Academy and Community Music School students represented the Music Institute admirably (* indicates Academy):

Violin Senior Division

• First: Esme Arias-Kim*, 15, Hoffman Estates

• Second: Abigail Park*, 16, Northbrook

• Finalist: Sonya Jones*, 16, Chicago; and Kelly Kim*, 16, Northbrook

Violin Junior Division

• Honorable Mention: Lauren Kim, 12, Hoffman Estates

• Finalist: Aiden Yu, 11, Chicago

Violin Elementary Division

• Third: Xiruo Wang, 8, Chicago

• Honorable Mention: Claire Moon, 10, Palatine

• Finalist: Sylvia Pine, 9, Chicago

Piano Senior Division

• First place and Best Interpretation of Korean piece: Noah Kim, 14, Indian Creek

• Honorable Mention: Zachary Guo*, 14, Deerfield

• Finalist: Elliot Kim, 14, Westmont; and Tyler Wang, 15, Wilmette

Piano Junior Division

• First: Matthew Hahn, 13, Lake Forest

• Second Place and Best Interpretation of Korean piece: Shixun Song, 13, Buffalo Grove

• Finalist and Best Interpretation of Korean piece: Jayden Kim, 13, Chicago

Piano Elementary Division

• Finalist: Alina Liu, 10, Winnetka; Helena Sprajcer, 9, Wheeling; and Eric Wang, 10, Wilmette

The Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago, led by Director James Setapen, is a nationally recognized training center for gifted pre-college pianists and string players that provides a comprehensive music education for students who aspire to be professional musicians. Faculty, staff, and students come together for an intensive 30-week program that includes private lessons with Academy artist faculty, a rigorous chamber music component, a stimulating chamber orchestra experience, and accelerated music theory classes.

The 2020-21 Academy roster includes 33 students from Illinois and other Midwest states, a 32 percent increase from the previous year, selected from the highest number of auditioning students in the past five years.

This fall's program has combined remote and in-person instruction, as have lessons and classes in the Community Music School.

Founded in 1931, the Music Institute of Chicago leads people toward a lifelong engagement with music by providing widely accessible resources for high-quality music teaching, performing, and service activities, and harnessing the power of music to educate, inspire, and bring comfort to the communities it serves.

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