Skip to main content

Top Artists to Lead Master Classes for Stars of Tomorrow

Spring master classes on chamber music, flute, voice and more open to the public

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Members of the Arianna, Pacifica and Shanghai string quartets, Grammy Award-winning soprano Christine Brewer and Chicago Symphony Orchestra piccolo player Jennifer Gunn will share their expertise with Northwestern University students this spring.

Presented by the University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, this impressive roster of guest artists will lead informative sessions for the stars of tomorrow. Master classes provide an opportunity for audience members to watch and listen as an expert coaches one promising student at a time and advises them on how to play a single piece they have prepared in advance.

Open to the public, all master classes are free and un-ticketed, unless otherwise noted. The following events will take place on the Evanston campus at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive; Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place; and Regenstein Recital Hall, 60 Arts Circle Drive, as noted.


The Arianna String Quartet will offer a master class at noon, Saturday, April 5, in Regenstein Recital Hall. Sought after for their highly effective approach to coaching and teaching as a quartet, its members have led the design and implementation of chamber music programs worldwide. Formed in 1992 -- and including violinists John McGrosso and Julia Sakharova, violist Joanna Mendoza and cellist Kurt Baldwin -- the Arianna String Quartet won the grand prize in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and first prize in the Coleman and Carmel Chamber Music competitions. The group has performed around the world and collaborated with members of the Vermeer, Tokyo, Cleveland and Juilliard quartets. Admission is free.

Violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi will lead a chamber music master class at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, in Regenstein Recital Hall. A student of Ilona Feher and Efrem Zimbalist, Ashkenasi won the Merriweather Post Competition and was a finalist in Belgium’s Queen Elisabeth Competition. He also placed second in Moscow’s International Tchaikovsky Competition. He has toured the former Soviet Union twice and presented concerts in Europe, Israel, the Far East and the U.S., collaborating with pianists Rudolf Serkin, Murray Perahia, Peter Serkin and Menahem Pressler and baritone Thomas Hampson. A former pro­fessor of music and artist-in-residence at Northern Illinois University, Ashkenasi joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2007. Admission is free.

The Pacifica Quartet, the quartet-in-residence at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, will give a master class at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, in Regenstein Recital Hall. Recognized for its exuberant perfor­mance style and daring repertoire choices, the Pacifica Quartet performs regularly in the world’s major concert halls. The group received the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance and was named 2009 Ensemble of the Year by “Musical America.” The ensemble was previously quartet-in-res­idence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Admission is free.

Karen Moratz, principal flutist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, will lead a master class at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Associate professor of flute and artist-in-residence at Butler University’s Jordan College of Fine Arts, Moratz previously taught at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, the University of Illi­nois at Champaign-Urbana and the Grand Teton Festival Orchestral Seminar. She is a founding member of the Greater Indianapolis Flute Club and the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra and the former coordinator for the National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition. Admission is free.

Grammy Award-winning soprano Christine Brewer will teach a vocal master class at 7 p.m. Monday, April 28, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Brewer’s recent engagements have included the gala concert to reopen London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and performances at the BBC Proms. Beginning April 25, she will appear in the role of the Mother Abbess in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. This summer, she will appear in “Dialogues of the Carmelites” at Opera Theatre of St. Louis and with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in performances of Strauss’ “Four Last Songs.” Master class tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for full-time students with valid IDs. Northwestern faculty and staff with a valid WildCARD receive a 15 percent discount off the general public ticket price.

The Shanghai Quartet will present a master class at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3, in Regenstein Recital Hall. Formed at the Shanghai Conservatory in 1983, the Shanghai Quartet regularly tours the major music centers of Europe, North America and Asia. The quartet has appeared at Carnegie Hall in chamber performances and with orchestra and has performed with leading artists, including cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Lynn Harrell, pianist Menahem Pressler, pipa player Wu Man, the male classical vocal ensemble Chanticleer and the Tokyo, Juilliard and Guarneri quartets. Notable commissions and premieres include works by Lowell Liebermann, Sebastian Currier and Zhou Long. Admission is free.

Jennifer Gunn, a coach for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, will offer a flute and piccolo master class at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 21, in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. Since her appointment as piccolo for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2005, Gunn has been active in the orchestra’s contemporary music series MusicNow and in youth programs. She has also been a regular guest artist with Chicago Chamber Musicians, Dempster Pro Musica and Music of the Baroque. Prior to joining the CSO, she was a member of the Louisville Orchestra, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.

For more information, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall office at (847) 491-5441 or visit Pick-Staiger. To order tickets, call (847) 467-4000 or visit Pick-Staiger.

Editor's Picks

Back to top