Academy Fellowship and Special Merit Scholars

2012-2013 Fellows and Scholars

Fellowships and scholarships are named for the generous benefactors who are underwriting the program.


Sage Foundation Fellow

Rebecca Benjamin, 18, Warsaw, Indiana

Violin student of Roland and Almita Vamos


Bev and Warren Hayford Fellow

Andrew Guo, 14, Chicago

Piano student of Alan Chow


Susan and Richard Kiphart Fellow   
Gallia Kastner, 15, Arlington Heights

Violin student of Roland and Almita Vamos


Susan and Richard Kiphart Fellow   

Nathan Walhout, 15, Wheaton

Cello student of Gilda Barston


Betsey and John Puth Fellow                       
Adé Williams, 15, Chicago

Violin student of Roland and Almita Vamos


Susan and Richard Kiphart Scholar
Serena Harnack, 14, Glen Ellyn

Violin student of Almita Vamos and Hye-Sun Lee


Geraldi-Norton Foundation Scholar
Giancarlo Latta, 17, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Violin student of Almita Vamos


The Music Institute of Chicago, established as one of the most respected pre-collegiate conservatory programs in the United States, announces its second year of distinguished Academy scholarships to recognize extraordinarily talented musicians. This year there are two categories of recognition: Fellows and Special Merit Scholars.



“Every student accepted into the Academy program is among a group of the very best young musicians in the country,” said Music Institute President and CEO Mark George. “A small number of students achieve an unusually elevated level of proficiency and musicianship: Academy Special Merit Scholars. Another group of students achieves an even more extraordinary level of technical proficiency and musical maturity: Academy Fellows. The Music Institute awards each group maximum tuition support in recognition of their hard work and profound dedication.”


Chosen from a field of 17 young students who auditioned before a distinguished panel of internationally recognized music educators and performers, each Academy Fellow and Special Merit Scholar is receiving a scholarship covering 95 percent of tuition for a year of study in the Academy and exclusive opportunities to perform and coach with an array of world-class guest artists. Fellows also receive a stipend for professional recording and piano accompanist services for competitions and conservatory auditions.


The Music Institute of Chicago established the Academy Fellowship program to serve pre-collegiate students of the absolute highest talent level, offering them the tools and opportunities to pursue and fulfill their professional aspirations. The Academy Fellows and Special Merit Scholars have a promising chance at professional solo, chamber music, or orchestral careers; they must exhibit an uncommon level of dedication and work on the most advanced repertoire.



About the Academy

Founded in 2006, The Academy’s internationally recognized faculty, rigorous curriculum, and instructional model, as well as the program’s highly gifted students, have solidified its preeminent reputation. Students in this prestigious program have come from throughout the United States, as well as from Central and South America, Europe, Japan, China, and Korea. The very selective program focuses on providing an intensive and comprehensive musical education and significant performance opportunities for developing musicians. The carefully assembled faculty represents teachers and performers with a passion for developing young talent and an established reputation for student achievement.


Approximately 28 young musicians participate in all aspects of the curriculum, including private lessons with Academy artist faculty, a rigorous chamber music component, a stimulating chamber orchestra, and accelerated music theory classes. Pianists additionally study keyboard literature and skills in an intimate group setting. A hallmark of the Academy is the weekly master classes with some of the world’s most celebrated artists and educators. The Academy introduces students to a vast music community of peer musicians, pedagogical styles, and the rigors of conservatory training. The nation’s most elite college and university music conservatories, including The Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Eastman School of Music, and the New England Conservatory, actively pursue graduates of the four-year program.

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