Classical Music News of the Week: July 31, 2011

Music Institute of Chicago Assumes Leadership Role in International Suzuki Education

Dr. Mark George, President and CEO of the Music Institute of Chicago, has been named chair of the board of directors of the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), a not-for-profit organization officially licensed to support, guide, and promote Suzuki education in North, Central, and South America. The SAA aspires to improve the quality of life in the Americas through Suzuki education, seeking to create a music learning community that embraces excellence and nurtures the human spirit.

In addition, Gilda Barston, Music Institute cello faculty member and dean emeritus, has been appointed chief executive officer of the International Suzuki Association (ISA), which serves as a coalition of Suzuki Associations throughout the world. The ISA exists to encourage, promote, enlarge, and coordinate Suzuki education and maintain the highest standards of educational instruction.

"The SAA is celebrating its 40th anniversary," George noted, "and this is a great time to recognize the remarkable accomplishments of Suzuki education in the Americas. Hundreds of thousands of students and families have been touched by the teachings of Shinichi Suzuki, and instrumental music education has seen a radical shift in the United States. Forty years ago, music educators had low expectations for most children, with special attention reserved for the so-called gifted or talented students. Today, largely because of the influence of Suzuki teachers, it is widely recognized that, with excellent teaching and support, all children can play in tune, make a beautiful tone, and produce sophisticated music."

"There are more than 250,000 people worldwide engaged with Suzuki education," said Gilda Barston. "Suzuki students learn to play music while building strong character traits that will serve them in every walk of life."

"The Music Institute of Chicago has one of the largest and most successful Suzuki programs in the world," added George. "We are proud and honored to take on these important international leadership roles."

About Suzuki at the Music Institute of Chicago
The Music Institute of Chicago has one of the largest and most comprehensive Suzuki programs in the Midwest. The internationally recognized Suzuki method is based on the philosophy of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, who believed that musical talent can be developed in every child. Students can begin Suzuki instruction as early as three years of age. Music Institute teachers are members of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and provide the highest quality private and group-class instruction. Additional Suzuki opportunities include a series of mid-winter weekend workshops and the summer Chicago Suzuki Institute, which offers a concentrated week of master classes, group instruction, concerts, and enrichment activities. More than 40 Music Institute faculty members offer Suzuki instruction for piano, violin, viola, cello, string bass, guitar, harp, recorder, and flute.

In addition, Music Institute of Chicago Announces New Academy Scholarships

The Music Institute of Chicago has announced the establishment of six new Academy Fellowship positions. The prestigious Fellowships will be named for the generous benefactors who have provided full underwriting for the new program: Kathy and Gerhard Bette (Chicago), Susan and Richard Kiphart (Chicago), Betsey and John Puth (Winnetka) and the Sage Foundation of Brighton, Michigan.

Auditions for highly qualified pre-college string players and pianists ages nine and up take place Wednesday, August 31 at the Winnetka campus of the Music Institute of Chicago, 300 Green Bay Road. Each Academy Fellow will receive a full tuition scholarship for study in the Academy and have exclusive opportunities to perform and coach with an array of world-class guest artists. Fellowship recipients also will receive benefits such as free professional recording and piano accompanying services.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to pucciojj@gmail.com.

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa