Music Institute takes Fischoff Gold for fifth time in six years

Consistent leadership in Prestigious Competition Showcases Strong Chamber Music Program

The Music Institute of Chicago has reaffirmed its status as one of the best schools in the nation for chamber music study: Quartet Lumiére, a Music Institute Academy string quartet, has won the coveted First Place Gold Medal and a $2,300 scholarship in the Junior Division of the 2013 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, which took place May 10–12 in South Bend, Indiana.
Quartet Lumiére musicians include 2012–13 Sage Foundation Academy Fellow Rebecca Benjamin (18, Warsaw/Indiana, violin student of Roland and Almita Vamos); 2012–13 Susan and Richard Kiphart Academy Fellow Gallia Kastner (16, Arlington Heights/Illinois, violin student of Roland and Almita Vamos); William Warfield Scholarship recipient and Academy student Mira Williams (15, Chicago/Illinois, viola student of Marko Dreher); and Venzon Memorial Scholarship recipient and Academy student Josiah Yoo (15, Northbrook/Illinois, cello student of Gilda Barston and Hans Jorgen Jensen).
Coached by Academy faculty member Marko Dreher, Quartet Lumiére was Overall Winner in the open division of the 2013 Discover National Chamber Music Competition, 1st Prize Winner of the Society of American Musicians 2013 Jules M. Laser Chamber Music Competition, and Grand Award Winner and first place in the Strings and Piano Division of the first annual A.N. and Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Music Competition held in April 14 at Merit School of Music. Most recently, the Quartet performed a pre-concert for the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra and for internationally acclaimed musician Lang Lang at the Music Institute’s 83rd Anniversary Gala.

2013 Fischoff Competition
Founded in 1973 in South Bend, Indiana, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition began with Joseph E. Fischoff and fellow members of the South Bend Chamber Music Society seeking to find an innovative way of encouraging young people to pursue chamber music study and performance. Since then, the competition, presented by the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association, has grown to become the largest chamber music competition in the world and one of the most illustrious classical music prizes attainable today. During the past 40 years, more than 5,700 musicians have participated in the competition, many of whom have gone on to distinguished careers in music performance and education. In addition, Fischoff is the only national chamber music competition with both Senior (ages 18–35) and Junior Divisions (age 18 and younger).
Students in the Music Institute’s Academy have taken first place in Fischoff’s Junior Division in five of the past six years, as well as earning five additional top medals:
  • 2013 – 1st, Quartet Lumiére
  • 2012 – 1st, Quartet Stracciatella; 3rd, Quartet Ardella
  • 2010 – 1st, Quartet Danae; 2nd, Emerald String Quartet
  • 2009 – 1st, Aurelia String Quartet; 3rd, Quartet Danae
  • 2008 – 1st, Quartet Polaris; 2nd, Ridere Quartet; 3rd, Aurelia String Quartet

“The quality of contestants at this year’s competition was very high,” commented Academy Director Jim Setapen. “From an initial field of 63 junior applicant groups nationwide, six of the 24 quarterfinalists were from the Music Institute’s Academy and four of the 12 semi-finalist groups were from the Academy. This is a tribute to the Music Institute’s extremely high level of chamber music instruction, as well as to the students’ dedication to excelling in this area of their music studies. We are very gratified that in this, the most prestigious national chamber music competition, Academy groups have won not only 10 of the last 18 medals awarded, but five of the last six gold medals!”

Leading Chamber Music Instruction and Performances
The Music Institute of Chicago offers one of the largest chamber music programs in the U.S. with nearly 200 Community Music School chamber musicians of all ages and levels of ability participating annually. Ensembles in residence—WarnerNuvoza, Quintet Attacca (2002 Fischoff Grand Prize Winner) and Axiom Brass (2010 Fischoff winner and 2011 Fischoff Educator Award)—enhance faculty instruction as well as expose Chicago-area students to chamber music through the Music Institute’s ArtsLink outreach program. The fall application deadline is July 1. For more information visit
In addition to its robust program of chamber music instruction, the Music Institute presents some of the best professional chamber groups working today in its historic Nichols Concert Hall. During the 2012–13 season, Nichols hosted the Lincoln Trio, 2012 Fischoff Competition winners Barkada Quartet, WarnerNuzova, Pacifica Quartet, Lincoln String Quartet, and more. For more about world-class chamber music at Nichols Concert Hall, visit

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 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.

Twenty-eight young musicians participate in all aspects of the curriculum, including private lessons with Academy artist faculty, a rigorous chamber music component, a 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. A final Academy audition day for the 2013–14 school year takes places Thursday, August 22 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Music Institute’s Winnetka Campus (300 Green Bay Road). For more information visit

Music Institute of Chicago

The Music Institute of Chicago believes that music has the power to sustain and nourish the human spirit; therefore, our mission is to provide the foundation for lifelong engagement with music. Founded in 1931, the Music Institute has grown to become one of the three largest and most respected community music schools in the nation. Offering musical excellence built on the strength of its distinguished faculty, commitment to quality, and breadth of programs and services, the Music Institute is a member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Each year, the Music Institute’s teachers and arts therapists reach more than 10,000 students and clients of all ages and experience levels at campuses in Evanston, Winnetka, Lincolnshire, Lake Forest and Downers Grove—and starting this fall, in downtown Chicago—as well as through its longstanding partnership with the Chicago Public Schools. The Music Institute offers lessons, classes, and programs in four distinct areas: the Community School, Academy, Institute for Therapy through the Arts, and Nichols Concert Hall.