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Meet the 2020/21 Student Cohort

Adriana Koch cmpi

ADRIANA KOCH

INSTRUMENT: Oboe
AGE: 16
NEIGHBORHOOD: Gurnee
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Midwest Young Artists
LARGE ENSEMBLES: CYSO – Symphony Orchestra
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: The Chicago Symphony! I also love meeting all the different types of people in Chicago.

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AIDAN SINCLAIR DANIELS

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 16
NEIGHBORHOOD: Frankfort
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Music Institute of Chicago
LARGE ENSEMBLES: CYSO – Philharmonic Orchestra
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Performing at the White House for Michelle Obama in 2016 and at Carnegie Hall with the National Youth Orchestra 2.

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AKOSUA HAYNES

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Hyde Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Hyde Park Suzuki Institute, Music Institute of Chicago
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: I’ve had many experiences but getting accepted into CMPI ranks at the top.

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ALEO ESPARZA

INSTRUMENT: Percussion
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Little Village
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES: Merit – Percussion Ensemble, Wind Symphony
FAVORITE SONG: El Camino Real by Alfred Reed

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AMY LIANG

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: McKinley Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Attending the Blue Lake summer music camp in Michigan. The camp opened my eyes to different playing styles and different musicians; I realized that there are many more musicians out there than the ones I already know and have studied with.

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ANDREI NAGUE

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Skokie
MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Participating in Northwestern University’s Solo and Ensemble Festival in 2017. It was my first time participating in an orchestra-related event outside of school!
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: There are so many things to do and see here – nice restaurants that have amazing food, Millennium Park, and the Bean.

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ANDREW OLVERA

INSTRUMENT: Clarinet
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Little Village
FAVORITE PIECE OF MUSIC: Fantasy Piece by Robert Schumann
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: I love the number of things you can do and the many possibilities you have.

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ANDREW PAHADI

INSTRUMENT: Oboe
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: St. Charles
LARGE ENSEMBLES: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
FAVORITE PIECE OF MUSIC:
Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
MOST MEANINGFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE:
Playing “Of Our New Day Begun,” a piece about a church bombing in the south, composed by Omar Thomas. I had a very lyrical solo in the beginning and it was just one of the most emotional experiences I’ve ever had.

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ANGEL COCONE

INSTRUMENT: Tuba
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: Englewood
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
FAVORITE PIECE OF MUSIC: The Planets by Gustav Holst. My favorite movement is Mars.

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ANIKA VEDA

INSTRUMENT: Flute
AGE: 16
NEIGHBORHOOD: Palatine
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Midwest Young Artists
LARGE ENSEMBLES: CYSO – Philharmonic Orchestra
HOW I FIRST GOT INVOLVED IN MUSIC: I first got involved in studying music when my dad bought me a plastic recorder when I was about 4. I played on that for fun for a few years, and then decided to switch to flute when I was 8!

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ANNA HUELKE

INSTRUMENT: Flute
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: Northbrook
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, Ravinia Festival
MOST MEANINGFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Winning the “Other Instrument Category” of the 2019 Walgreens National Concerto Competition.

 

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ARIYO AKINYEMI

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Bolingbrook
LARGE ENSEMBLES: Naperville Youth Symphony Orchestra
FAVORITE SONG: Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky

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AUTYMN WILLIAMS

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 16
NEIGHBORHOOD: Englewood
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Hyde Park Suzuki Institute, Musical Arts Institute
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: How the city is full of opportunities and places to go. Also, the food!

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AVA ISABELLA ANGELES

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 11
NEIGHBORHOOD: Hyde Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Hyde Park Suzuki Institute
FAVORITE SONG: En Bateau by Claude Debussy

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BENJAMIN FERNANDEZ

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Logan Square
HOW I FIRST GOT INVOLVED IN STUDYING MUSIC: In Spain I had the opportunity to study the basics of music at around 3 years old. This was the start of my musical life.
MOST MEANINGFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: I believe that every experience I have had has contributed to the person that I am now. If I had to choose, it would be my first recital back in 2018 because it was the first time that I was able to see how far I had come and how far I still need to go.

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BENJAMIN HOUSTON

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 12
NEIGHBORHOOD: Chicago Heights
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: I love all the museums, especially the Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, and both zoos. I feel fortunate to live close to so many great cultural opportunities. I also like the fact that I am able to see so many amazing musical groups, especially the CSO and Chicago Sinfonietta!

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BRANDON HARPER

INSTRUMENT: Percussion
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Humboldt Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES: CYSO – Philharmonic Orchestra
HOW I FIRST GOT INVOLVED IN MUSIC: Playing Rock Band on the Wii when I was younger.

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BRYCE KAYSER

INSTRUMENT: Viola
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: Oak Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Graduating into CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra from the Philharmonic Orchestra.

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CALLEIGH RIORDAN

INSTRUMENT: Bass Trombone
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Dyer, Indiana
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
FAVORITE PIECE: Three Pieces for Brass Quintet by Ludwig Maurer
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Playing in a brass quintet, because it has helped me play more confidently.

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CAMILA MORENO

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 12
NEIGHBORHOOD: Hermosa
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
FAVORITE PIECE: The Third Movement from Seitz’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in D Major
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: I love how beautiful the buildings are downtown; the windows reflect the sky and it looks beautiful.

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DARLYNE HIDALGO

INSTRUMENT: French Horn
AGE: 16
NEIGHBORHOOD: Gage Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES: Merit School of Music’s Wind Symphony and Philharmonic, and CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra
FAVORITE SONG: I have a lot of favorite songs and pieces but one of them is Moon River by Jacob Collier.

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DAVID REYES

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 12
NEIGHBORHOOD: Portage Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES: CYSO – Debut Orchestra
HOW I FIRST GOT INTO STUDYING MUSIC: I was inspired by my older sisters who excel at playing the clarinet, violin, and cello. My sister Serena plays the cello and I was always drawn to the sound. At the age of 3, I attended a tryout class at Merit School of Music where all of my sisters were attending. It was a natural fit for me and the beginning of my musical career.

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DEAGLAN SULLIVAN

INSTRUMENT: Trombone
AGE: 16
NEIGHBORHOOD: Evergreen Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and Merit’s Wind Symphony
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Going to the International Trombone Festival

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DYLAN NGUYEN

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Skokie
MY MOST MEANINGFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Getting into ILMEA in 8th grade – I worked so hard, and it paid off!
FAVORITE PIECE: I like playing Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto No. 1
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: It’s big and has a lot of fun places to explore.

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EDGAR URBINA

INSTRUMENT: Trombone
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Gage Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES: Merit – Concert Band
FAVORITE SONG: Acclamations by Ed Huckeby

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EFURU HAWA KILOLO HARMON-MILLER

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 11
NEIGHBORHOOD: Glenwood
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Hyde Park Suzuki Institute
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: I LOVE the energy, the architecture, the restaurants, Lake Michigan, and all of the dogs.

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ELLA SAPUTRA

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Schaumburg
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Midwest Young Artists
LARGE ENSEMBLES: MYA – Symphony Orchestra
HOW I FIRST GOT INVOLVED IN STUDYING MUSIC: My older sister was studying violin, so when I was 4 years old I started learning to follow in her footsteps.

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EMMANUEL BETSON

INSTRUMENT: Viola
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: Chatham
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Hyde Park Suzuki Institute, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: I love downtown and the great places to just look at. It lets you just enjoy the place you live and the people with you.

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ERIC BAHENA

INSTRUMENT: Bassoon
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: Carpentersville
LARGE ENSEMBLES: Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Going down to ILMEA All-State during my sophomore year in high school and playing in the Honors All-State band, sitting second chair and playing in front of thousands of people.

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ESME ARIAS-KIM

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: Hoffman Estates
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Music Institute of Chicago
FAVORITE PIECE: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto
MY MOST MEANINGFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: I really enjoyed playing the first movement of the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in March, 2020.

genesis morales cmpi

GENESIS MORALES

INSTRUMENT: Trombone
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: Chicago
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES: Merit – Symphonic Band
FAVORITE SONG: Fantasia for Alto Saxophone by Claude T. Smith

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GIOVANI IBARRA

INSTRUMENT: Oboe
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: Little Village
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago High School for the Arts
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: When my music teacher thought I had what it takes to take on solos and difficult pieces of music.

heidi murillo cmpi

HEIDI MURILLO

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: West Chicago
LARGE ENSEMBLES: Naperville Youth Symphony Orchestra
FAVORITE SONG: Por una Cabeza by Carlos Gardel

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ISABEL ARMENTA

INSTRUMENT: Percussion
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: Montclare
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: When my ensemble, the Percussion Scholarship Group, played in the Chicago Symphony’s Orchestra Hall in February of last year.

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ITZEL BUSTOS

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: Garfield Ridge
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
MY MOST MEANINGFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Going to the Grammys with Mariachi Herencia De Mexico in 2017, because I was able to see many celebrities, which was exciting.
FAVORITE PIECE: Czardas, by Vittorio Monti

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IXCHEL CAMACHO

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: Bloomingdale

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JACOB CORNEJO

INSTRUMENT: Flute
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Gage Park
HOW I FIRST GOT INVOLVED WITH MUSIC: Me and a couple of friends thought it would be fun to join the school band, and I chose the flute to be my instrument
MY MOST MEANINGFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Performing in Orchestra Hall. Playing in a big space like that in front of a lot of people makes me want to play more and be better.

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JAN VARGAS NEDVETSKY

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: Wilmette
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Music Institute of Chicago
FAVORITE PIECE:
Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King and Schumann’s Fantasiestücke
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: The boundlessness of friendship

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JAVIER IRIZARRY

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: Highland Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, Music Institute of Chicago
FAVORITE PIECE:
Ave Maria by J.S. Bach, arranged by Gounod
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Joining Desiree Ruhstrat’s private violin studio

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JAZ RIOS

INSTRUMENT: Percussion
AGE: 16
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: The People’s Music School
FAVORITE SONG: I listen to lots of different genres spanning from country to Latin to jazz to classical, and more! Recently, my favorite pieces of classical music are Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major and Chopin’s Piano Concerto in E Minor, Op. 11.
WHY I LOVE CHICAGO: I love Chicago not only for the diversity of its people, but also the landscapes! There are so many things to do and places to see here.

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JONATHAN MARTINEZ

INSTRUMENT: Bass Trombone
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: Streamwood
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
FAVORITE PIECE:
The Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Performing at a conference about W.E.B. DuBois in Paris, France.

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JONATHAN MILLER

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: South Shore
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, DePaul, Hyde Park Suzuki Institute, Music Institute of Chicago
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO – Symphony Orchestra
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: I love living in an urban environment with such a bustling music scene. I am also able to play with one of the premier youth orchestras worldwide.

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JONATHAN YOUNG

INSTRUMENT: Percussion
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Edgebrook
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES:
Merit Conservatory’s Concert Band
FAVORITE SONG: My favorite song to listen to is What You Wouldn’t Do For Love by Bobby Caldwell. My favorite piece to play on the bass drum is called Strong Hold.

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JOYCE NAM

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Glenview
FAVORITE PIECE: The First Movement of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto
MY MOST MEANINGFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE:
The CMPI experience has been the most significant so far – I’ve never auditioned for something amazing like this! It was a great opportunity as well as a dream come true to be part of CMPI.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: Big skyscrapers and patterned buildings. I’m always carried away by all the fascinating shapes and designs on each wall!

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JULIA SEABRON

INSTRUMENT: Viola
AGE: 16
NEIGHBORHOOD: Chicago
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
Merit – Philharmonic Orchestra
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: Festivals at Grant Park, the museums, and the lakefront.

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JULIA SOTO

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Albany Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project, The People’s Music School
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO – Accelerando Strings
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: I was given the opportunity to be a part of the 2019 YOLA National Festival this year. I met so many new people and got to play with them at Walt Disney Concert Hall with Gustavo Dudamel.

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KAI ISOKE ALI-LANDING

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 11
NEIGHBORHOOD: South Shore
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Musical Arts Institute, Hyde Park Suzuki Institute
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: I enjoy teaching younger kids how to play the violin and when they watch me play.

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KAILIE HOLLIDAY

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: Hillside
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
Merit – Philharmonic Orchestra
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Performing in Shanghai, China.

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KEVIN REYES

INSTRUMENT: Percussion
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Gage Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
FAVORITE PIECE:
Xylophonia by Joe Green
MY MOST MEANINGFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Going to my first CSO concert. Seeing everyone on stage playing wonderful instruments just gave me goosebumps. It made me think and say to myself that one day I would be down there playing and being part of an extraordinary symphony; it has been my motivation ever since that day.

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KHALILAH MUHAMMAD

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Washington Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Hyde Park Suzuki Institute, Merit School of Music, Musical Arts Institute
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
Merit – String Orchestra
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: I love downtown: the parks, the restaurants, the attractions, the museum, the aquarium, the planetarium, the zoo, the arcades, and the malls.

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KURT LAMB

INSTRUMENT: Percussion
AGE: 11
NEIGHBORHOOD: Lawndale
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Arts and Music Project, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
FAVORITE SONG: Let’s Give Them A Hand by Francis McBeth

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MAHRHOZTAL ROSIER

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 16
NEIGHBORHOOD: Hyde Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Hyde Park Suzuki Institute, Hyde Park Youth Symphony
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
Hyde Park Youth Symphony
MY FAVORITE SONG: New River by The Oh Hellos

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MEKHI MOSES

INSTRUMENT: Percussion
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Bronzeville
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
FAVORITE SONG:
Spain, by Chick Corea
MY MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Performing in Orchestra Hall

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MELISSA EVERSON

INSTRUMENT: Clarinet
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: Lockport
LARGE ENSEMBLES:
Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra
MY MOST MEANINGFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Playing in the ILMEA Honors Orchestra in Peoria for the All State Festival. I’ve never felt so connected to the musicians surrounding me, even if it was just for a weekend. The music was thrilling and I was challenged to push myself.

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MICHAEL BREWER

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Hyde Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, Hyde Park Suzuki Institute
FAVORITE PIECE:
Take Five by Paul Desmond
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: Architecture and skyscrapers

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MICHELLE BRANNON

INSTRUMENT: Flute
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: South Holland
HOW I GOT INVOLVED WITH MUSIC: A family friend donated a keyboard to me and I unknowingly discovered a love for music
FAVORITE PIECE:
Waltz No. 2 by Dmitri Shostakovich
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: Relaxing by Lake Michigan in the summer and enjoying all the different kinds of creative foods.

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MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ

INSTRUMENT: Flute
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: Elgin
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: DePaul Community Music Division
LARGE ENSEMBLES:
Elgin Youth Symphony
HOW I GOT INVOLVED IN MUSIC:  I have always loved music since I could remember, but when I was introduced to the flute in 5th grade, I followed my passion for performing

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MIRIAM KESSLER

INSTRUMENT: Harp
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Elgin
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Midwest Young Artists
LARGE ENSEMBLES:
MYA – Symphony Orchestra
MY FAVORITE PIECE OF MUSIC: Prelude in C Sharp Minor by Sergei Rachmaninov or Pavane for a Dead Princess by Maurice Ravel

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NA’ILAH SHAHID

INSTRUMENT: Viola
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Woodlawn
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES:
Merit Philharmonic Orchestra
FAVORITE PIECE: “From My Life” by Bedrich Smetana

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NANDO CORDEIRO

INSTRUMENT: Trumpet
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: Chicago Ridge
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES:
Merit- Wind Symphony
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: I love how it’s close to the lake, especially when it’s summer and good to go the beach. I especially love the Art Institute.

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NASEEM SHAKIR

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: Dolton
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES:
Merit String Orchestra
FAVORITE PIECE: Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto No. 7 in G Minor

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NATALIA ALS

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Washington Park
MOST MEANINGFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE:
When I was slected to be the 3rd chair violinist at the Kenwood String Orchestra in 7th grade. I practiced every day and was glad to improve so quickly.
FAVORITE PIECE: Dvorak’s New World Symphony

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NATALIA NORIEGA

INSTRUMENT: Trumpet
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: East Side
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES:
Merit Wind Ensemble
MY MOST MEANINGFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Going to the IGSMA state competition with my middle school band in 2018.

Nathaniel Mathew CMPI

NATHANIEL MATHEW

INSTRUMENT: Percussion
AGE: 16
NEIGHBORHOOD: Schaumburg
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Midwest Young Artists
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO – Symphony Orchestra, MYA – Symphony Orchestra
HOW I FIRST GOT INVOLVED IN STUDYING MUSIC: I was drawn to the drum-set at a young age after seeing my first teacher play the drums at church. I then gradually became more and more interested in orchestral music.

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NAZEEH SHAHID

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Woodlawn
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Hyde Park Suzuki Institute, Merit School of Music, Musical Arts Institute
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
Merit – Philharmonic Orchestra
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: The museums, the parks and nature preserves, and the lakefront.

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NICOLE KWASNY

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: Dunning
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO Philharmonic Orchestra
FAVORITE SONG: Sunny by Boney M.

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NISHANT CARR

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 11
NEIGHBORHOOD: Lincolnwood
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Music Institute of Chicago
FAVORITE PIECE:
Cello Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Major by Shostakovich
WHY I LOVE CHICAGO: I love the restaurants, different types of people, many places to go and all of the activities to be involved in.

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NOAH BRIONES

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: Riverside
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO – Philharmonic Orchestra
MY FAVORITE PIECE OF MUSIC: Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major

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NOAH MERCADILLO

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: Kenosha, WI
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Midwest Young Artists
LARGE ENSEMBLES:
MYA Symphony Orchestra

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NOELLE STREUBER-EDEN

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 11
NEIGHBORHOOD: Valparaiso, IN
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO Philharmonic Orchestra
MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: After I saw Anne-Sophie Mutter in Chicago, we waited in line for an autograph, and she took the time to have a conversation with me, even though I was just 9! We talked about how to practice, and she knew about all the technique books I used at that time. She was so nice and made me feel professional. I wanted to go home and practice more right after the conversation.

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OLIVIA AGUILAR

INSTRUMENT: Trombone
AGE: 11
NEIGHBORHOOD: Gage Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music

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OLIVIA MOLINA

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: Montgomery
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO – Symphony Orchestra, Merit – Philharmonic Orchestra
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT CHICAGO: The food! Definitely the food! And all the fun things to do, from restaurants and Cubs games, to concerts and museums. And the people too! I’ve met so many cool friends from all parts of the city.

Owen Riordan cmpi

OWEN RIORDAN

INSTRUMENT: Trombone
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Dyer, IN
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO – Philharmonic Orchestra
MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Merit has drastically influenced my musicianship and my ability to play my instrument. I would say that it is the most prominent musical experience I have had so far because without it I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the musical experiences I do today.

Paloma Chavira headshot

PALOMA CHAVIRA

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 11
NEIGHBORHOOD: Glenview
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO Concert Orchestra
MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Being concertmaster of my orchestra!

Patricia Washington Headshot

PATRICIA WASHINGTON

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Bronzeville
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO Debut Orchestra
MY MOST MEANINGFUL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: I personally feel as though CYSO has had the most impact; I feel like it is the first orchestra to be all inclusive and have a very serious environment.

rbthdr

PIERRE NGOY

INSTRUMENT: Tuba
AGE: 14
NEIGHBORHOOD: Streamwood, IL
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO – Debut Orchestra
WHY I LOVE CHICAGO: Chicago has a rich, diverse culture with great food, arts, and celebrations representing various corners of the globe.

Rafael Noriega cmpi

RAFAEL NORIEGA

INSTRUMENT: Trombone
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: East Side
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO – Symphony Orchestra, Merit – Wind Symphony
MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: My most significant musical experience was going on NPR’s From The Top last year.

Rebekah Esper headshot

REBEKAH ESPER

INSTRUMENT: Harp
AGE: 12
NEIGHBORHOOD: North Mayfair
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: The People’s Music School
FAVORITE SONG:
“Helpless” from Hamilton, and Together by For King & Country.
WHY I LOVE CHICAGO: It is never boring. There are many museums, parks and places to go to.

Rodrigo Soto cmpi

RODRIGO SOTO

INSTRUMENT: Flute
AGE: 16
NEIGHBORHOOD: Highland Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO – Concert Orchestra
MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: I played Concerto in D minor by Molique at the University of Illinois in Urbana.

Rogelio Alonso Arriaga CMPI

ROGELIO ALONSO ARRIAGA

INSTRUMENT: Flute
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Gage Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Merit School of Music
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
Merit – Symphonic Band
MY FAVORITE PIECE OF MUSIC: Danny Boy by Frederic Weatherly

Sameer Agrawal CMPI

SAMEER AGRAWAL

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Albany Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Music Institute of Chicago
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
MIC – Academy Orchestra
HOW I FIRST GOT INVOLVED IN STUDYING MUSIC: Funny story. When I was a toddler I saw Joshua Bell on Sesame Street. I begged my mom for 3 years and she finally let me start lessons when I was 5.

Sarah Morris Headshot

SARAH MORRIS

INSTRUMENT: Clarinet
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Chicago Heights
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Jazz Philharmonic
FAVORITE SONG:
Afternoon in Paris by John Lewis
MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Getting the opportunity to perform at Millennium Park

Shannon Harvey headshot

SHANNON HARVEY

INSTRUMENT: Violin
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Roseland/Richton Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Musical Arts Institute
FAVORITE PIECE:
Meditation From Thais by Jules Massenet. I love slow pieces and this is by far one of the most beautiful ones in my opinion because it starts off as a lullaby but gets more aggressive and powerful in the middle, and then dies down and goes back into a soft melody.

Tayo Akinyemi headshot

TAYO AKINYEMI

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Bolingbrook
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Wheaton Community School for the Arts
FAVORITE PIECE:
Rondo by Goltermann

Victor Betson headshot

VICTOR BETSON

INSTRUMENT: Viola
AGE: 13
NEIGHBORHOOD: Chatham
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
FAVORITE SONG:
Handel’s Messiah
MOST SIGNIFICANT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Going on tour with the Chicago Children’s Choir

Xavier Perry

XAVIER PERRY

INSTRUMENT: Cello
AGE: 17
NEIGHBORHOOD: Hyde Park
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Hyde Park Youth Symphony
FAVORITE PIECE:
Debussy’s Clair De Lune

Zachary allen cmpi

ZACHARY ALLEN

INSTRUMENT: Oboe
AGE: 15
NEIGHBORHOOD: Skokie
AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Merit School of Music, Music Institute of Chicago
LARGE ENSEMBLES: 
CYSO – Symphony Orchestra, Merit – Philharmonic Orchestra and Wind Symphony
HOW I FIRST GOT INVOLVED IN STUDYING MUSIC: I first got involved with studying music when I joined my school’s orchestra in 4th grade. I played cello in the orchestra for 5 years.

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