Upcoming Events
Academy Orchestra Concert November 23, 2019 7:30 pm Saturday, November 23 | 7:30 pm Nichols Concert Hall
Academy Chamber Music Concert December 13, 2019 7:30 pm Friday, December 13 | 7:30 pm Nichols Concert Hall

Academy Faces

Class of 2017-2018

The students in the Music Institute of Chicago’s prestigious Academy continue to make their mark with significant awards and accolades, and prospects for their futures as musicians look bright. Each student in the Academy, a top training center for highly gifted pre-college musicians, has an interesting story to tell about the role of music in his/her life; here are a few facts and noteworthy accomplishments:

Claire Arias-Kim 

Violin student of Almita Vamos

Hometown: Hoffman Estates
- appearance on WFMT-FM’s Introductions broadcast, soloist with the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra, solo recital for the Young Steinway Concert Series



Seoyun Baek

Piano student of Edward Auer & Alan Chow

Hometown: Vernon Hills
- participant in the Gijon Piano Festival in Spain, performance in the Young Steinway Concert Series at the Skokie Public Library, participant in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition

James Baik

Cello students of Hans Jorgen Jensen

Hometown: Houston, Texas
- winner of the Houston Civic Concerto and Clear Lake Concerto Competitions, finalist at the Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition

Isabella Brown

Violin student of Almita & Roland Vamos

Hometown: Gurnee
- first place in numerous competitions including Alexander and Buono International String Competition and Walgreens National Concerto Competition, solo debut at age 10 with Capital Symphonic Youth Orchestra at the Kennedy Center

Joshua Brown

Violin student of Almita & Roland Vamos

Hometown: Gurnee
- Cleveland Orchestra debut at age 15, top prizes at Cooper International Violin Competition, International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Russia, recipient of Stradivari Society of Chicago since 2016

Irina Casasnovas

Violin student of Almita Vamos & Davis King

Hometown: Costa Rica
- Costa Rican National Symphony Orchestra debut at age 12, Merit Winner of Young Arts Competition, second prize for American Protégé Competition with concert at Carnegie Hall

Cameron Chiu

Cello student of Horacio Contreras

Hometown:  Palatine
- prize winner at Chinese Fine Arts Society Music Competition, assistant principal cello for IMEA District 7 Orchestra, winner of Concerto/Aria Competition at William Fremd High School

Alon Hayut

Cello student of Horacio Contreras

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
- winner of Dexter Community Orchestra Concerto Competition, principal cello for Pioneer Symphony and Michigan Youth Symphony Orchestra, performance at music education forum in Stockholm, Sweden

John Heo

Violin student of Almita Vamos

Hometown: Northbrook
- first place at Sejong Music Competition and Chinese competition, solo with Ottawa Chamber Orchestra; semifinalist at Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition

Ria Honda

Violin student of Almita Vamos

Hometown: Wilmette
- first prize winner at DePaul Concerto Festival, one of 20 worldwide competitors in Menuhim International Competition, finalist in International Cooper Violin Competition

Kaylin Liu

Violin student of Almita Vamos

Hometown: Naperville
- Camerata Chicago Academy Orchestra debut at age 13, concertmaster of DuPage Youth Symphony Orchestra, appearance on local television representing Opus Summer Festival

Zechary Mo

Violin student of Almita Vamos

Rolling Meadows

-    first prize at Society of American Musicians, winner of DePaul Concerto Competition leading to performance with Oistrahk Orchestra, second prize at Fox Valley Young Artists Concerto Competition

Natalie Morin  viola/Roland Vamos

Viola student of Roland Vamos


-    participated in Okemo Young Artists Program, DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers, IMEA All-State Concert


Abigail Park

Violin student of Injoo Choi

-    first place in Sejong Music Competition in 2014, first place in SAM (Society of American Musicians) in 2015 and 2017



Lydia Rhea

Cello student Hans Jorgen Jensen

Highland Park
-    winner of Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's Side-by-Side Concerto Competition, Fort Wayne Philharmonic Young Artist Competition, Carmel Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition

Julian Rhee

Violin student of Almita Vamos

Brookfield, Wisconsin
-    finalist winner of 2018 National Young Arts Foundation, Pittsburgh Symphony debut at age 15 at Heinz hall, one of three American violinists at Johansen International Competition

Thompson Wang

Violin student of  Almita Vamos

Glenview (from Fountain Valley, California)
-    first place in DuPage Concerto Competition, semifinalist in Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, finalist in Crain-Maling CSO Young Artists Competition

Hannah Whit