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The Youth in Music Festival Orchestra, sponsored by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Negaunee Music Institute, featured more than 50 advanced students from Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and CMPI. Participating CMPI Fellows included Jesse Perez (flute), Sofia Villanueva (flute), Zachary Allen (oboe), Fabrizio Milcent (bassoon), Owen Riordan (trombone), Aleo Esparza (percussion), Sophia Luong (percussion), Olivia Doolin (violin), Neena Agrawal (violin), Nazeeh Shahid (viola), Na’ilah Shahid (viola), Akosua Haynes (cello), and Mateo Estanislao (bass).

Zachary at Youth in Music Festival

© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2023

Fellows spent three days in rehearsals with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Civic Orchestra before performing at an open rehearsal under Ken David-Masur. Works performed included the final movements of Antonin Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony and William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony.

According to violin fellow Neena Agrawal, “It was a new and interesting experience for me being able to play in a unique and advanced orchestra. I really liked playing under different exciting conductors and playing great music.”

Mateo at Youth in Music Festival OrchestraBass fellow Mateo Estanislao said, “I had the fortunate opportunity to rehearse side-by-side with my mentor Caleb Edwards. We had sectionals on our parts with CSO bassist Dan Carson, rehearsed the music with Kyle Dickson, and performed on stage with Ken-David Masur. I am so thankful to CMPI for inviting me to participate in this festival. Playing among such high caliber musicians was a pleasure. Thank you so much to Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, Chicago Civic Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for organizing such an amazing experience.”

Akosua at Youth in Music Festival

© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2023

“The festival was awesome! I learned so much,” stated cellist Akosua Haynes. “The practice sessions were hectic, intense, but enjoyable as we molded into a single unified mass. We began as a group of individuals in sectionals or as a group of “soloists.” Both of our conductors, Mr. Dickson and Mr. Masur, said this to us during our post performance practice sessions. Mr Masur said we made great progress. It was a wonderful learning experience. I feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to sit and play with my peers and professional CSO and Civic musicians on the CSO stage!!! Thank you CMPI!!”


Photos by Todd Rosenberg 2023 and provided by Mateo

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