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2024 MIC Gala Honorees: Celebrating Musical Excellence

MIC 2024 Gala Honorees

The Music Institute of Chicago is gearing up for its Annual Gala Benefit, a night of exceptional music, inspiring stories, and celebrating those who champion music education. But before the festivities begin, let's meet the 2024 honorees, remarkable figures who have made significant contributions to the world of music:

John and Fran Edwardson - Cultural Visionary Award for Chicago

John and Fran EdwardsonFran and John Edwardson have been steadfast supporters of the Music Institute for years, making substantial contributions both locally in Chicago, in Florida, and internationally. Their philanthropic efforts extend to several non-profit organizations such as Advance Illinois, the American Red Cross, Boca Grande Health Clinic Foundation, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Habitat for Humanity, The Island School Foundation, Lincoln Park Zoo, Music Institute of Chicago, Rush University Medical Center, the University of Chicago, Writers Theatre, and WTTW.

One of their proudest initiatives is the John A. Edwardson Social New Venture Challenge, an annual competition held at UChicago’s Booth School of Business. This competition recognizes innovative businesses dedicated to solving social challenges around the globe.

John Edwardson, a seasoned businessman, served as the chairman and CEO of CDW Corporation before retirement. He currently chairs the Board of Advance Illinois, an organization focused on education advocacy, and sits on the boards of several privately-owned businesses.

Fran Edwardson, with a distinguished career in the legal field, retired as the CEO of the American Red Cross of Chicago and Northern Illinois. She now serves on the Boards of Directors of JB Hunt Transport Services, Inc. and Duluth Holdings Inc., and chairs the Board of Lincoln Park Zoo.

Marcus Roberts - David and Dorothy Dushkin Award 

Marcus RobertsA familiar face on the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall stage, this year's Dushkin Award honoree, Marcus Roberts, is more than just a celebrated modern jazz pianist and composer. A dedicated educator, he played a pivotal role in launching the MIC's Jazz Studies program, leaving a lasting impact on the institute and countless aspiring musicians. This recognition celebrates artistic excellence alongside a deep commitment to music education – values that Marcus Roberts exemplifies throughout his career.
Beyond his numerous accolades, including the National Association of Jazz Educators' Young Artist Award, his artistic journey shines through his extensive discography-from captivating solo pieces, trio collaborations, and even ventures into big band arrangements and symphonic collaborations.
A true innovator, Roberts has redefined the relationship between jazz and classical music. His groundbreaking 1996 recording, "Portraits in Blue," was the first to showcase the art of jazz improvisation within traditional classical music. His innovation further revolutionized jazz as he created an entirely new approach to jazz trio performance in which all musicians equally contribute to shaping the direction of the music by using a system of musical cues and flexible forms to change its tempo, mood, texture, or form.


Erica Anderson - Richard D. Colburn Award for Teaching Excellence

Erica AndersonThe Music Institute of Chicago is thrilled to present the prestigious Richard D. Colburn Award for Teaching Excellence to Erica Anderson, Head of the MIC Woodwinds, Brass, and Percussion Department and a dedicated oboe faculty member for nearly 25 years.
Erica Anderson exemplifies the spirit of this award. A performer herself, she brings a wealth of experience to the stage. She is a member of the Chicago Philharmonic and Quintet Attacca, a Music Institute ensemble-in-residence. Her performances extend across a wide spectrum, from the Joffrey Ballet and Chicago Lyric Opera to music festivals like Ravinia.
Beyond the stage, her passion lies in nurturing the next generation of musicians. She actively designs and leads impactful programs right here at MIC like the Quintet Attacca Chamber Camp and Oboe Reed Making Workshop. These initiatives cultivate a love of music and collaboration among aspiring oboists.

You're Invited!

The 2024 Music Institute of Chicago Gala promises an evening filled with exceptional music, inspiring stories, and a chance to directly support the Music institute of Chicago’s mission. 

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For those who can't attend but share our passion for music education, donations of all sizes are deeply appreciated. Your generous donation supports scholarships, community programs, and artistic excellence at the Music Institute of Chicago. 

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