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News, Events, Awards & Achievements

Academy Spring News Roundup 2024

Elysian Quartet

The Academy's 18th season comes to a close after a series of impressive achievements and exceptional musical performances, concluding with their Orchestra Concert this Saturday at 7:30 PM at Nichols Concert Hall. From the prestigious Fischoff competition to successful fundraising initiatives and celebrating the successes of our esteemed alumni, the spring has been a resounding triumph.

Quartet Meraviglia with Rodolfo Vieira-2024 Bronze at Fischoff

Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition

The Academy’s Quartet Meraviglia—Lauren Kim (violin), Elle Cho (violin), Emily Chen (viola), and Lucy Wu (cello) coached by Rodolfo Vieira—won Bronze in the Junior String Division; two other Academy ensembles (Trioscuro and Seraphim Quartet) advanced to the semifinals (of 10 total) at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Academy ensembles have won Fischoff medals in 13 of the last 17 years.

Elysian Quartet and Quartet Meraviglia at St. Paul

St. Paul String Quartet Competition

At the St. Paul String Quartet Competition, Junior Division, the Academy’s Elysian String Quartet—Nolan Chang (violin), Kai-Isoke Ali-Landing (violin), Vivian Van de Sype-Cucu (viola), and Katarina Kenney (cello) coached by Claudia Lasareff-Mironoff —brought home Gold, Audience Favorite, and BIPOC Prize, and Quartet Meraviglia—Lauren Kim (violin), Elle Cho (violin), Emily Chen (viola), and Lucy Wu (cello)—won Silver. The Academy has won Gold in the junior division of the competition for three consecutive years.

Seraphim String Quartet

A.N. & Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Music Competition

The Academy’s Seraphim Quartet -Tristan Zhu (viola), Clark Snavely (violin), Sasha Varchenko (violin), and Serge Kalinovsky (cello), won 1st Place in the Strings and Piano Division and Grand Award Winner at the A.N. & Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Music Competition, In 2023, the Academy’s Goya Piano Trio was the Grand Award Winner.


As part of the Academy's enrichment series, this year has had a number of masterclasses taught by esteemed musicians. 

Clive Greensmith Master Class

Cellist Clive Greensmith, Professor of Cello at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music, recently presented an insightful Master Class to Academy students Katarina Kenney (student of Cornelia Watkins), Jan Vargas Nedvetsky (student of Hans Jorgen Jensen and Oleksa Mycyk) and Lucy Wu (student of Stefan Kartman). Katarina and Lucy travel to the Academy from WI each week!  This year, Academy cellists Amelia Zitoun and Serge Kalinovsky will join his studio at Colburn School in the fall. 

On January 26, the Academy received a special masterclass from renowned performers, artistic directors, recording artists, and educators, Wu Han and David Finckel. This collaboration between the MIC Academy, the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center offered MIC students the opportunity to work directly with David Finckel and Wu Han on repertoire by Brahms and Prokofiev.

In the Community

Beyond their exceptional musical talent, the Academy's students are driven by a deep passion for music and a desire to use their gifts to make a positive impact. Their commitment to community engagement is truly inspiring.

MLK Flossmoor Fundraiser

Early in January, Academy students Tristan Zhu and Sasha Varchenko shared their talents at an MLK fundraising concert in Flossmoor. This incredibly special concert, hosted by Mayor Michelle Nelson, parent of former Academy student Kate Nelson, was delighted to have Tristan back on the program—a three-peat for Tristan, and many more years of the collaboration with the Academy. A total of $3,090 was raised for Open Access, which eliminated their $3,000 budget deficit for food which was caused by inflation, and allows them to continue serving the same number of children and families in need.

Alumni News

Our Academy's success story doesn't end at graduation! See what our amazing alumni are achieving:

Julian Rhee

Julian Rhee (above, photo by Todd Rosenberg Photography) received a 2024 Avery Fisher Career Grant, which recognizes instrumentalists and chamber ensembles with a $25,000 cash prize. Rhee joins accomplished Academy alumni Benjamin Beilman, Matthew Lipman, and the Calidore String Quartet (with Ryan Meehan).

Joshua Brown and Julian Rhee, former Academy violin students of Almita Vamos, are in the semi-finals of the 2024 Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition!

Audition for the Academy!

Auditions for the Academy class of 2024–25 take place May 28–29 and August 12–14, 2024.
For information, contact Academy Executive Director Sue Polutnik,, or call 847.448.3811.

Learn more about the Academy