Young Steinway

Our Young Steinway concerts showcase young people with extraordinary talent, giving local audiences the chance to enjoy first-class music, for free, close to home. Many performers have gone on to great achievements as professional musicians.

Apply to perform

If you are an advanced classical musician who has not completed high school, you are eligible to apply for this concert series. Applications for the 2017-18 season are now open. Applications are due April 28, 2017. Selected performers will be notified in May for concerts beginning in September 2017.

Attending a concert

Concerts begin at 3 pm in the Petty Auditorium. Free tickets are distributed at 2:30 pm. Doors open at 2:45 pm, beginning with people with disabilities.

Current series

September 4

Nathaniel Blowers, Cello

Nathaniel Blowers is a senior at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville. He began cello in fifth grade and now studies with Richard Hirschl. He was recently a student of Gilda Barston and studied with Hans Jensen at Meadowmount School of Music this summer. Other programs include the Interlochen Cello Institute, the Jacobs School of Music Summer String Academy, Gilda Barston’s Cello Boot Camp, and the Chicago Chamber Music Festival, where he was a concerto competition winner. He is a member of Neuqua Valley’s Chamber Strings and the Neuqua Valley Symphony Orchestra, with which he performed the Dvorak concerto in April, and has participated in ILMEA’s District 9 festivals, and was principal cellist last year. Nathaniel enjoys hanging out and running and in learning and applying ideas about how the brain works.

Roger Shen, Piano

Roger Shen was one of 23 participants in the first Van Cliburn Junior Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. He has performed concertos with the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra in two back-to-back seasons. A first-place winner of the Walgreens National Concerto Competition, Phillips Exeter Concerto Competition, and the Aloha International Concerto Competition, he has also performed with the Midwest Young Artists Symphony Orchestra, Exeter Symphony Orchestra, and Honolulu Youth Symphony Orchestra. Roger has performed at Carnegie Hall twice as a result of winning first place at both the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition and the American Fine Arts Piano Competition. He was featured twice on the popular WFMT radio show, Introductions. Roger is a senior at Phillips Exeter Academy.

October 2

Robert Sanders, Violin

Robert is a senior at Niles North High School in Skokie. He studies violin with Robert Hanford, concertmaster of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and faculty member at Northwestern University, and has performed in master classes for esteemed artists such as Gerardo Ribeiro, Janet Sung, Shmuel Ashkenasi, and Sarah Chang. Robert has performed with the Knox-Galesburg and the Birch Creek Symphony Orchestras, and looks forward to performing with the Lake Forest Civic Orchestra in May. As a chamber musician, he has advanced to the semi-final round of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and was the overall winner of the 2016 Discover National Chamber Music Competition. In addition to music, Robert enjoys playing basketball and watching The Walking Dead, and is a member of the ping-pong club at Niles North.

Annamarie Wellems, Cello

Annamarie Wellems is a scholarship fellow at the Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago and studies cello with Tanya Carey. She was a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and has won awards in competitions such as the Society of American Musicians, Musical Festival in Honor of Confucius, and DePaul Concerto Festival. She participated in the Chicago Youth in Music Festival under Riccardo Muti and was a semifinalist in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Annamarie has attended the Indiana University Summer String Academy, Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory, Heifetz Summer Music Institute, and worked with Gilda Barston at NCI’s Advanced Residency Program and Hans Jensen at the Meadowmount School of Music. She is a senior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.

November 6

Seoyun Baek, Piano

Seoyun Baek, a junior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School, is a merit scholarship fellow in the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy program, where she studies piano with Alan Chow and Myunghee Chung. She made her solo orchestral debut at the age of nine, with the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra as a winner of the DePaul Concerto Competition. She has also won numerous prizes in competitions such as Sejong Competition, Illinois State Music Teacher’s Association, Music Teacher’s National Association and Cleveland International Piano Competition. She has participated in multiple different festivals such as the Southeastern Piano Festival, International Institute for Young Musicians, and Gijon Piano Festival. Seoyun also enjoys playing chamber music, traveling, and spending time with her friends.

Seungmok Baek, Cello

A senior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Seungmok studies cello with Cecelia Ham. He also studies guitar and vocal performance. He has participated in Midwest Young Artists Conservatory for four years, the last three as a member of the Symphony Orchestra. He is a member of the Stevenson High School Patriot Orchestra and also participates in chamber music at school. He has won awards in the Grandquist Music Competition, including first place in the Olympic Division in 2015 and in the Musichorale Scholarship Competition. Seungmok enjoys playing soccer when not engaged in musical pursuits.

December 4

Nicholas Huang, Piano

Nicholas Huang is a sophomore at Barrington High School. He began playing piano at the age of eight, and has been studying with Brenda Huang for six months. He made his orchestral debut with the Barrington High School Symphony earlier this year, performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue as winner of the school’s concerto competition. He has been accepted to the Indiana University Piano Academy for the past three summers, studying with Jean-Louis Haguenauer in a masterclass at the 2015 session. Apart from piano, Nicholas also studies cello with Mrs. Eun Kim and musical composition with Bruce Berr. He enjoys swimming and reading.

Sofiya Kyrylyuk, Viola

A home-schooled senior, Sofiya studies viola with Desiree Ruhstrat. She performed the first movement of the Stamitz concerto with the Oistrakh Symphony last February as a winner of the DePaul Concerto Festival Competition and took part in a masterclass with Rachel Barton Pine in April at Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin. She has participated in Midwest Young Artists Conservatory since 2010 and has served as principal violist of the Symphony Orchestra since 2014. She was assistant principal violist of the 2015 Chicago Youth in Music Festival under Riccardo Muti, and is also an active participant in chamber music. Sofiya also plays violin, piano, flute, and guitar, and enjoys photography, writing, and Korean martial arts.

January 8, 2017

Anastasia Dalianis, Cello

Anastasia Dalianis is a senior at Maine South High School and studies cello with Hans Jørgen Jensen. She is principal cellist of the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory Symphony Orchestra and the Maine South Symphonic and Chamber Orchestras. She has won awards at numerous competitions, including the Walgreens Concerto Competition, DePaul Concerto Festival Competition, and Society of American Musicians Competition. Her string quartet, Meraki Quartet, won the 2016 Discover National Chamber Music Competition. In 2015, she attended the Bowdoin International Music Festival. Anastasia is editor-in-chief of her school newspaper. An avid reader and writer, she founded the book-review website Young Adult Fiction Universe (YAFU), with the goal of inspiring middle school and high school students to read.

Anna Stenzel, Violin

Anna Stenzel, 17, is a student of Mark Zinger. She is homeschooled and has participated in the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory program for the past five years, where she has served as co-concertmaster and has been awarded a merit scholarship. She has performed with the Knox-Galesburg Symphony, and also with the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra, as winner of their concerto competition. Other honors include a solo performance with the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra as part of the DePaul Concerto Festival Competition in 2015. Anna was a winner of the Early Music category in the Walgreens Concerto Competition in 2015. Anna is also actively involved in chamber music with her string quartet, which in 2016 won first place in the Discover Chamber Music Competition (MYA Division). Anna also enjoys working with young children, reading, playing violin at church, and spending time with her friends.

February 5

Ria Honda, Violin

Ria Honda studies violin in the Academy program of the Music Institute of Chicago, under the tutelage of Almita and Roland Vamos. Previously a student of Margaret Pressley and Jan Sloman, she was a recipient of the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Scholarship. She has won awards at numerous competitions, including Music Teachers of North America competitions, the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Young Artists Competition, Sammamish Symphony Concerto Competition, and Cooper International Competition. She has performed with the Seattle Festival Orchestra, Cascade Symphony, and the Seattle Symphony as winner of their 2014 Young Artists Auditions. Ria has attended the Meadowmount School of Music, the Musica Mundi Course in Belgium, and is a junior at New Trier High School in Winnetka.

Thomas Huang, Piano

A sophomore at Barrington High School, Thomas has played the piano for almost 10 years and currently studies with Dr. Soyoung Kee. He received first place in the Intermediate Division of the 2015 Northwest Music Teachers Association Awards Competition, second place in Division C of the 2014 Savler Competition, and honorable mentions in both the 2013 and 2014 DePaul Concerto Festival Competitions. He finds classical music a facet through which he can express his passion. Outside of school and piano, he enjoys dabbling in music composition, playing soccer, and spending time with his friends.

March 5

George Dalianis, Piano

George Dalianis, a sophomore at Maine South High School, studies piano with Katherine K. Lee at the Music Institute of Chicago. He has won awards at several competitions, including first place at the Society of American Musicians Competition, second place at the Sejong Cultural Society Competition, honorable mention at the DePaul Concerto Festival Competition, and a gold medal at the Chicago Area Music Teachers Association’s Sonata-Sonatina Festival. George has also been featured at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s “Keys to the City Piano Festival” and the International Beethoven Festival. George has been a merit scholarship recipient at the Music Institute of Chicago, where he participated in the chamber program. George is a member of the Maine South Symphonic Orchestra, Midwest Young Artists Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, and is co-captain of his school’s soccer team.

Caitlin Yambao, Violin

Caitlin is a junior at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, where she has been concertmaster of the highest orchestra. Last year, she was selected to be in the Honors Orchestra at the 2016 Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Conference. Caitlin studies with Tom Wermuth and Vicki Szczepaniak of the Western Springs School of Talent Education, where she is a member of the Chicago Consort violin ensemble. With Chicago Consort, she performed at Orchestra Hall and the Conference of the Suzuki Association of the Americas in Minneapolis, MN. In past summers, Caitlin worked with Kimberly Meier-Sims at the Suzuki Institute in Ithaca, NY; Blair Milton, Gerardo Ribeiro, Lucie Robert, and Joel Smirnoff at the Northwestern University Summer Violin Institute; and Rafael Betancourt at Camp MSM, Manhattan School of Music.

April 2

Ellis Cho, Cello

Ellis Cho is a junior at Glenbrook North High School and studies cello under the instruction of Chris Wild. He has won awards in numerous music competitions, including the Music Festival in Honor of Confucius and the Society of American Musicians Competition. In 2015, he served as principal cellist of the Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA) District 7 Senior Orchestra, and in 2016 he performed in the ILMEA All-State Honors Orchestra. In January 2016, he was honored to perform in the orchestra for the Illinois High School Theatre Festival All-State production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Ellis is also a member of Glenbrook North’s math team and scholastic bowl team. His other nonmusical interests include studying Mandarin Chinese and Chinese culture at school.

Ellie Kim, Violin

A senior at Glenbrook North High School, Ellie has been concertmaster of the Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra for the past two years. She studies violin with Sang Mee Lee at the Music Institute of Chicago, where she has received a merit scholarship. She is a member of Trio Moderne, which was awarded honorable mention at the 2016 Discover National Chamber Music Competition. As a soloist, she has won awards in numerous competitions, including the Confucius Competition, the AMI Violin Competition, and the Granquist Competition. She is a member of Chicago Youth Symphony’s Symphony Orchestra and participated as part of a quartet in a masterclass with Yo-Yo Ma. Ellie enjoys traveling and is a member of her school’s Korean Connections Club.

May 7

Jack Boettcher, Cello

Jack Boettcher, a sophomore at Naperville North High School, has performed as a soloist with the Oistrackh Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the West Suburban Symphony Orchestra after winning their concerto competitions. In 2017, he will solo with the Northwest Symphony Orchestra. He was also grand prize winner at the American Fine Arts Festival, for which he performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall. Jack performed his own arrangement, titled “LeBron James Bites the Dust,” at a Chicago Bulls half-time show. Jack performs with the CYSO, the cello ensemble Cellissimo, and the Fuji Quartet. He studies with Hans Jørgen Jensen, and previously studied with Sally Gross. An avid musician, Jack also studies with music teacher Sooka Wang, piano teacher Nancy Liley, and composition teacher Chris Fisher-Lochhead.

Rabia Mohammadi, Violin

Rabia Mohammadi has been studying violin since the age of three. She currently studies with Desiree Ruhstrat. Rabia’s performances have included appearances at the Parisian Salon, DePaul Concerto Festival Competition concert with the Oistrakh Orchestra, Beethoven Bash, International Beethoven Festival, Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago’s Schubertiade, and as a regularly featured artist at the Buckingham Salon Series. The summer of 2014 was highlighted by a European tour with violinist Daniel Rowland for the filming of a Beethoven documentary in Paris and Bonn, Germany. She has also been featured at the Roosevelt University Faculty Composers Recital. In the Summer of 2012, Rabia premiered and recorded Stacy Garrop’s String Quartet, Athena Triumphant. She is a homeschooled sophomore who also plays piano and enjoys travel, foreign language study, and literature.

June 4

Noah Chen, Cello

Noah is a homeschooled ninth grader who began playing cello at age six. He studies with Hans Jørgen Jensen and spent this summer at the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado. He is currently principal cellist of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Concert Orchestra and won that group’s concerto competition this year. He is also a member of the New World String Quartet. He has been awarded many honors just in 2016, including first place in the intermediate division of the Society of American Musicians Competition, winner of the American Protégé International Concerto Competition, and honorable mention in the DePaul Concerto Festival Competition. Noah also enjoys Legos, reading fantasy and historical fiction books, camping, and visiting New York City.

Joshua Mhoon, Piano

Twelve-year-old Joshua, an eighth grader at Quest Academy in Palatine, most recently played at Ravinia in Gordon Hall, with Yo-Yo Ma at The Chicago Youth and Music Festival 2016, and with Anthony McGill, principal clarinetist for the New York Philharmonic, at Merit School of Music. Joshua won the Overall Junior Piano Division at the 20th Open Walgreens National Concerto Competition and was one of the piano winners at the 2016 DePaul Concerto Festival Competition. Joshua has been featured on WFMT’s Introductions and on ABC 7 Chicago’s Windy City Live. He studies with Brenda Huang, and was one of ten young pianists worldwide—one of just two from the United States—to be selected to study with internationally renowned teachers and participate in a masterclass with concert pianist Lang Lang at The Allianz Junior Music Camp in Vienna, Austria, in November 2015.

Ethan Hoppe's story

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Ethan Hoppe is an alum of the Young Steinway program. We spent some time with him to learn more his experience with the Young Steinway series and how it helped him pursue his career goals.