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Jim Setapen

Academy Director and MIC Conductor-in-Residence
Academy Director

Dear Students,

The goal of the Academy is simple - to make aspiring young people the best musicians they can be. To achieve this, the Academy program provides a comprehensive musical education, including private study with artist faculty, chamber music, chamber orchestra, theory classes, and weekly enrichment offerings. Pianists also study piano literature and improvisation. Academy students are given many performance opportunities, both at the Music Institute and in the greater Chicago community.

As students move through the Academy experience, we ask them to keep these ideas at the front of their minds:

  • To be the most inquisitive musician

  • To be the most articulate musician

  • To be the most technically polished musician

  • To be able to move any audience for whom they play

I ask students, past and present, what was special about being in the Academy. Everyone shares the importance of opportunities to network with some of the greatest teachers and performers in the world of music. They mention their satisfaction in being so well prepared for acceptance to some of the best music schools in the country. And they all realized how important it was for them to continue their education along with other brilliantly gifted students.

The Academy is a supportive and special family. We will endeavor to continue to bring out the best in these precious young people.


James Setapen
Director of the Academy