Beyond the Stage: Musicians on Music

The Music Institute of Chicago’s new livestreamed free lecture series, Beyond the Stage: Musicians on Music, offers insights and perspectives on a range of musical topics spanning classical, jazz, and popular music. Following each talk, viewers have the opportunity to ask questions.  The series begins February 18 and runs through June.
Designed for music enthusiasts across the globe, the free series showcases esteemed members of the Music Institute’s nearly 200 faculty—experienced and dedicated educators and performers with degrees from the world’s finest music schools.

Registration deadline is noon the day of each event. 

Registrants will receive a Zoom link on the day of the presentation.


The schedule is as follows (all Central Time):

Thursday, June 3, 7–8 pm | “The Golden Age of Violinists”
Music Institute violist Davis King reflects on the special nature of violinists of the first half of the 20th century and what string playing has lost in the decades since.



This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.




Past Lectures


Thursday, February 18, 7–8:30 pm | “Women in Jazz”
Music Institute Jazz Studies Director and trombonist Audrey Morrison explores the contributions, and often untold stories, of outstanding female jazz instrumentalists from the 1920s to the present in this lecture and listening session.

Thursday, February 25, 7–8 pm | “The Hamilton Phenomenon”
Music Institute Musical Theater Artistic Director and librettist Matt Boresi examines the most popular and culturally impactful musical in decades, from lyrics to orchestration to staging, and traces Hamilton’s meteoric ascent to a permanent place in musical theatre history.

Thursday, March 4, 7–8 pm | “Digging for Treasure: The Piano, its Music, and How Pianists Make it Come to Life”
Music Institute Musicianship Program Director and piano and composition faculty Matthew Hagle, also an active performer and in-demand collaborator, presents short excerpts and highlights of the piano literature and talks about the challenges of the pianist’s journey—a partnership that includes the musician, the instrument, and the repertoire.

Monday, March 15, 7–8:30 pm | “Dark Angels of the Violin: Jazz Legends Eddie South and Stuff Smith”
Violinist and Music Institute jazz faculty James Sanders discusses how these jazz legends overcame obstacles (including racism) and forever changed the role of the violin in jazz. South recorded with Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, Milt Hinton, and others. Smith, credited as the first violinist to use electrical amplification, recorded and performed with jazz greats from Louis Armstrong to Sun Ra.


Thursday, March 25, 7–8 pm | “Listening to Orchestral Music: How to Get the Most Enjoyment from Music You Know and Music You Would Like to Know”
Maestro Jim Setapen, director of the Music Institute’s nationally recognized Academy and conductor-in-residence, considers the four ways we listen to music and offers insights into making the most of your listening experience.


Monday, April 5, 7–8 pm | "Maintaining Your Chops: How to Stay Motivated as a Busy Adult”
Active performer and violin faculty Addison Teng offers tips and tricks to maintain posture and stay loose, insider hints on keeping one’s technique sharp, and opportunities for accountability. These key principles apply to all instruments.


Thursday, April 15, 7–8 pm | “Introduction to Understanding the Musical Canon and its Implications”
Award-winning pianist and Music Institute faculty Daniel Baer talks about the influence of Europe’s political, social, and economic philosophies on the development and codification of the modern canon. Baer covers composers omitted from the canon and discusses ways in which musicians and institutions challenge the canon’s immutability.


Thursday, April 29, 7–8 pm | "The Mega Musical”
Music Institute Musical Theater Artistic Director and librettist Matt Boresi reflects on the invasion of European musicals, including The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Evita, and Miss Saigon, which brought Broadway out of a funk and into financial success.


Thursday, May 6, 7–8 pm | “Queens of Composition: Excellence in Music by Black-American Women Composers”
Lyric soprano and Music Institute faculty Rae-Myra Hilliard shares her research on Black-American women composers with a Chicago connection, including Florence B. Price (1887–1953), Margaret Bonds (1913–72), and Regina Harris Baiocchi (b. 1956).


Thursday, May 20, 7–8 pm | “The Classical Style – Five Musical Elements Every Listener Needs to Know”
Music Institute President and CEO and pianist Mark George investigates a seminal period in music history, when a group of composers in a region around Vienna developed a kind of instrumental music that elevated music to the highest levels of art.