Merit School of Music

Merit’s Joshua Mhoon 1 of 10 Young Gifted Pianists from Around the World Selected to Study with Piano Virtuoso Lang Lang in Vienna in Nov.

Joshua Mhoon, a top piano student at Chicago’s Merit School of Music, is one of ten young pianists worldwide – and one of just two from the U.S. – to be selected to study with internationally renowned concert pianist Lang Lang next month in Vienna, Austria.


The Lang Lang International Music Foundation and exclusive sponsor Allianz announced late last month that Mhoon, a 12-year-old resident of Arlington Heights, a 7th grader at Quest Academy for the Gifted in Palatine, and a student at the Merit School of Music’s Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory, was selected out of nearly 300 talented young pianists from 49 countries for one of only ten finalist spots as a Music Ambassador in the 2015 Allianz Junior Music Camp in Vienna.


The Allianz Junior Music Camp, November 17-24, 2015, was created to give a life-changing experience to young, gifted pianists from around the world to meet and get to know like-minded young musicians from other countries and perform music together. There, Mhoon, who has only been studying piano for five years, will participate in a concert master class with Lang Lang, receive two rehearsal sessions per day with celebrated piano teachers, and perform concerts for local children. Mhoon’s fellow Music Ambassadors, all ages 12 to 14, hail from Spain, Italy, Austria, Poland, China, the UK, the Czech Republic and the U.S.


Mhoon loves classical music and has studied piano, composition and theory at Merit’s Conservatory for more than four years. During that time, he studied with Merit private lesson teacher Mio Hagle. Currently he studies with pianist, Brenda Huang. His musical influences include Lang Lang and Arthur Rubinstein, and the music of Beethoven, George Bizet, Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninoff. Career highlights to date include performing at a tribute for Motown’s Barry Gordy, opening for The Jacksons with an introduction by Nick Cannon at New York’s Lincoln Center, on public radio, and internationally in London, Paris, Greece, Turkey and Spain.


Closer to home, Mhoon has played with the Chicago Sinfonietta, opened for legendary pianist Ramsey Lewis, and threw the first pitch at the Chicago Cubs game on Jackie Robinson Day in 2014. He took first place in Merit’s Conservatory Private Lessons Scholarship Competition in 2014, placed first two times at the Chicago Music Teachers Association competition and captured first place three times at the Illinois Granquist Music Competition.


“Joshua exemplifies how access to a high-quality music education can transform a young person’s life,” said Charles Grode, President & Executive Director, Merit School of Music. “Being selected from nearly 300 international applicants as one of only 10 students to study with Lang Lang is a testament to his incredible talent and dedication to his music. The entire Merit community is proud that Joshua will represent Chicago, the U.S. and Merit School of Music in Vienna this fall.”


Mhoon is a member of Mensa International. Prior to Merit, Mhoon studied at the Music Institute of Chicago and private piano with Alex Djordjevic and Dr. Harry Steckman at Steckman Studio of Music in Oak Park. In his free time, Mhoon is learning Chinese and Spanish, and he loves playing baseball, pitching and first base in particular. He also enjoys basketball, hanging out with friends, playing video games and building his stock market portfolio. To learn more, visit his website


About Merit School of Music
Now in its 37th year, Merit School of Music is a nationally respected community music school located in Chicago’s Near West Side. Known for providing access to high-quality music education, Merit serves a diverse group of over 4,000 students on site and off. It offers a continuum of programs, including early childhood classes, instrumental music instruction, private lessons and the Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory. Merit is devoted to giving students—especially those living in economically disadvantaged communities—the opportunity to grow through music. For more information, visit

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