Midwest Young Artists
Since its founding in 1993, Midwest Young Artists has garnered a reputation among professional musicians and educators as a place for students to come to:
- to become exceptional young musicians;
- perform the world’s finest music;
- compete in world-class competitions;
- study with master teachers; and
- have fun and tour the world!
MYA offers a full-curriculum pre-college music school with 8 youth orchestras, more than 60 chamber music ensembles, 4 choral groups, an all-inclusive jazz program, a wind symphony, an early childhood education program, and classes in music theory and composition. MYA musicians are given multiple performance opportunities, both on concert tours, and in major venues throughout Chicago including the Civic Opera House, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, and Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in Evanston, among others. Voices Rising, our choral ensemble for grades 5-8, has performed at the United Nations, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and has been the children’s vocal ensemble for the CSO’s Welcome Yule concerts for the past five years. Our Jazz Program has a special Jazz in January weekend where students work all weekend with jazz artists including Rufus Reid, Sean Jones, Dick Oates, Orbert Davis, and Victor Goines who then perform with the students in a sizzling concert on Sunday evening.
The high quality of music performance in all these genres creates a truly unique school where collaborative programming and learning strengthens students knowledge and skills, making them better musicians. A wind player may be in the Honors Wind Symphony, a brass chamber music ensemble, lead trumpet in the big band and learn orchestral excerpts in the Symphony Orchestra. A violinist may be in a piano trio, participate in our Early Music Academy, perform a solo in I’Solisti MYA, and learn orchestral excerpts now so that when they audition for symphony jobs later, they have great literature under their fingers.
MYA prides itself on the value students receive for their tuition which is kept as low as possible so that this is not a barrier to participation by talented young students who audition and are accepted into our ensembles. Dozens of master teachers and artists are brought in almost weekly to coach students in ensemble playing. Master classes during the 2008-2009 season included Gavriel Lipkind, cello; Avalon String Quartet; Stefan Milenkovich, violin; Rami Solomonow, viola; N-E-W Trio (2008 Grand Prize Winners of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition); Michael Kozakis, percussion; Orbert Davis, jazz trumpet; Ethan Bensdorf, trumpet/MYA Alum and 2nd Trumpet of the New York Philharmonic; Barbara Butler, Professor of Trumpet, Northwestern University; John Bruce Yeh, CSO, clarinet; Charlie Pikler, CSO, viola. Students in all programs are offered the opportunity to perform almost weekly on Sunday afternoon recitals of chamber music (which include jazz combos and vocal opera/MT scenes). Students can grow and develop as soloists and ensemble players through participation in Instrument Classes which focus on technique, solo performances and ensembles. Master teachers this year included: John Bruce Yeh, clarinet; Charles Geyer, trumpet; Hans Jensen, cello; Gerardo Ribeiro, violin; and Rami Solomonow and Charlie Pikler, viola.
MYA emphasizes camaraderie between students, respect and encouragement in the teaching relationship, and the continual pursuit of excellence in music performance. It is a program that stimulates and excites future "dedicated amateurs" as well offers opportunities and support for students preparing for a future in the highly competitive world of music. We pride ourselves on being a place where students are able to grow with their peers in a competitive, yet friendly atmosphere, while providing the highest quality music experiences for young musicians nationwide. MYA graduates are accepted at the most selective conservatories, universities and colleges in the country.