Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Time: Reception: 6 pm; Dinner: 7 pm; Afterparty: Directly following closing remarks

Location: The Ritz- Carlton | 160 E Pearson Street at Water Tower Place


Register for the 2018 Gala here. To support Gala 2018 as a benefactor, contact Steven Berry at 312-267-4461 or via email at sberry@meritmusic.org. For more information, see our sponsorship packet here.



Honoring: Yo-Yo Ma

The Alice S. Pfaelzer Distinguished Service to the Arts Award

The many-faceted career of cellist Yo-Yo Ma is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal.  Mr. Ma maintains a balance between his engagements as soloist with orchestras worldwide and his recital and chamber music activities.  His discography includes over 100 albums, including 19 Grammy award winners.

Mr. Ma is a founder of Silkroad, an organization he founded to promote cross-cultural performance and collaborations at the edge where education, business, and the arts come together to transform the world.  More than 80 works have been commissioned specifically for the Silkroad Ensemble, which tours annually.  Mr. Ma also serves as the Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Negaunee Music Institute.  His work focuses on the transformative power music can have in individuals’ lives, and on increasing the number and variety of opportunities audiences have to experience music in their communities.

Mr. Ma was born in Paris to Chinese parents who later moved the family to New York.  He began to study cello at the age of four, attended the Juilliard School and in 1976 graduated from Harvard University.  He has received numerous awards, among them the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the National Medal of Arts (2001), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010).  In 2011; Mr. Ma was recognized as a Kennedy Center Honoree.  He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony.

For additional information, see: www.yo-yoma.com, www.silkroadproject.org, and www.opus3artists.com.



The Merit School of Music Lifetime of Service Award

Howard Gottlieb is the General Partner of Glen Eagle Partners, Ltd., a family private investment firm. He was a founding partner of Glenwood Partners and Chairman of Glenwood Financial Group.

Mr. Gottlieb is an accomplished violinist. He has played in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and performed widely with orchestras and chamber music groups in the United States and Europe.

He is a Life Trustee of the Merit School of Music, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Ravinia Festival and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a former trustee of the Aspen Music Festival and School and past member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

Mr. Gottlieb is a graduate of the University of Chicago and serves on the University’s Visiting Committee.


Gala Co-Chairs

Julie and Dan Baumeister

Judy Istock

Honorary Co-chair – Duffie A. Adelson

Host Committee

*Committee in formation


Leadership Circle

Judson and Joyce Green

Howard Gottlieb and Barbara Greis’

Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund

Judy and Verne Istock

The Negaunee Foundation


Emerald Society


Janice Honigberg

Helen, Richard and David Thomas


Sterling Society

Julie and Daniel Baumeister

Ellen and Paul Gignilliat

Caroline and Charlie Huebner

J. Thomas Hurvis


Julian Family Foundation

Beth and Barry Mitchell

Peggy and Dick Notebaert

David Rosen

Earl Rusnak, Jr. and Sandra Rusnak


Sirius Fund, Ginny and Peter Foreman

The Steans Family

Zell Family Foundation




Julie and Roger Raskes

Kathleen and Gerhard Bette

Jim and Kay Mabie

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Thomas Linguanti

and Olivia Tyrrell

NIB Foundation

John Hart and Carol Prins

Nina G. Stillman

William Blair and the DeVore Family



Susan and Lawrence Aaron

Baker & McKenzie

Carol Lavin Bernick Family Foundation

Jeffrey Breslow

Rita and John Canning

Helen and Paul Chang

Madeleine and Joe Glossberg

Anne and William Goldstein

Shelley Ochab and Chester Gougis

Justin and Katherine Greis and EY

Heidi Lukas and Charles Grode

Thomas and Janet Leopold

Robert M. and Diane v.S. Levy

MB Financial

Charlotte and Gil Minor

Susan and Ted Oppenheimer

Lorna and Ellard Pfaelzer, Jr.

Doris Roskin

Ann and Ray Rusnak

Donna and Tom Stone

T. Rowe Price

Zeller Realty Group