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Press Releases

“Families in Concert” Fundraiser Kicks Off Music Institute’s 90th Oct. 9–11; Chen String Quartet Concert Airs Live On 98.7WFMT

September 17, 2020 | By Jill Chukerman
Music Institute of Chicago

Two Chicago institutions, both committed to cultivating and spotlighting talented musicians, come together to recognize milestone anniversaries for the first in a series of collaborations. The Music Institute of Chicago, celebrating 90 years of excellence, innovation, and accessibility in music education, presents “Families in Concert,” a weekend of virtual performances to raise money for scholarships and financial aid October 9–11 at its historic Nichols Concert Hall. WFMT, to celebrate 70 years in 2021 as one of the world’s most respected classical music radio stations, airs and streams the concluding event, a performance by Chicago Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Robert Chen and his family. 

On Friday, October 9 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, October 10 at 5 p.m., the Music Institute presents two programs of virtual performances to raise support for scholarships and financial aid for its students. Both programs feature students from the Music Institute’s Community Music School and its Academy for gifted pre-college musicians. The programs, which will be prerecorded at Nichols Concert Hall and available at, will be announced at a later date.

Music Institute President and CEO Mark George noted, “Quality music education should be accessible to everyone. An enormous number of families need scholarships and financial aid, and this fundraiser is a wonderful way to help. I am grateful to WFMT for their partnership and support and very pleased to be celebrating our anniversaries together.”

On Sunday, October 11 at 3 p.m., the Chen String Quartet, featuring CSO Concertmaster Robert Chen and his wife Laura Park Chen on violin and their children Beatrice Chen on viola and Noah Chen on cello, performs live from Nichols Concert Hall. The repertoire includes Dohnányi’s Serenade for String Trio, Op. 10; Beethoven’s String Quartet in G Major, Op. 18, No. 2; and Smetana’s String Quartet No. 1 in E minor (“From My Life”).

The performance airs live on 98.7WFMT and streams at and In addition, WFMT presents a video livestream on Facebook

The Chen String Quartet has been playing together for six years. Committed to community outreach, they regularly play at Chicago-area retirement homes and hospitals. Robert Chen has been concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1999. Laura Chen is a former member of the first violin section of both Lyric Opera and Grant Park Symphony. Beatrice Chen is a viola student at the Curtis Institute of Music. Noah Chen is a student of Clara Kim at Juilliard Pre-College.

“WFMT has long been committed to providing a showcase for emerging local talent, through our Introductions series and other programs,” said WFMT General Manager George Preston. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Music Institute throughout our respective special anniversary seasons.”

Co-chairs for “Families in Concert” are Music Institute board members Dan Hahn, Renée Parquette, and Zalman Usiskin and Music Institute parent Yana Nedvetsky.

“Families in Concert,” a scholarship fundraiser concert series, features prerecorded student recitals Friday, October 9 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, October 10 at 5 p.m. Virtual viewing is available for a $30 contribution; contributions of $100, $500, $1,000, or $2,500 include additional interactive events. Visit to contribute and for more information.

The Chen String Quartet performs a free live concert Sunday, October 11 at 3 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, airing live on 98.7WFMT and streaming at and, with a video livestream on Facebook. 

Music Institute of Chicago
Founded in 1931, the Music Institute of Chicago leads people toward a lifelong engagement with music by providing widely accessible resources for high-quality music teaching, performing, and service activities—and harnessing the power of music to educate, inspire, and bring comfort to the communities it serves. The Music Institute believes music is an essential element of a strong, well-educated, and compassionate community; music bolsters the brain, strengthens community bonds, and nourishes the human spirit; and live music and quality music education should be accessible to everyone. The Music Institute is a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education and accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Pre-collegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS). Each year, the Music Institute’s teachers reach thousands of students of all ages and levels of experience. Music Institute locations include Chicago, Evanston, Winnetka, Lincolnshire, Lake Forest, and Downers Grove. In addition, the Music Institute is proud of its longstanding partnership with the Chicago Public Schools through its Arts Link program. The Music Institute offers lessons, classes, and concerts through its Community Music School, Academy, and Nichols Concert Hall. For more information, visit  



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