This Month At Merit: Students perform at Grant Park Masterclass & Art Institute


  • Last Chance to Register for Summer ☀️
    Summer at Merit has started! There are still a few spots left in certain summer camps & classes, so register now before it’s too late. BROWSE CAMPS & CLASSES →
  • Free! Musical Storytime
    We hosted a Musical Storytime on June 21 in partnership with Make Music Chicago! Join us in Mary Bartelme Park for a special storytime that fosters literacy, imagination, musical awareness, & developmental skills in your little ones. VIEW EVENT →
  • Celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month
    May was AAPI Heritage month! Check out this playlist we made celebrating AAPI artists & composers. LISTEN HERE→
  • Merit’s Fall Catalog is Here!
    Plan ahead for the next academic year by exploring our fall catalog. Save the date: registration opens June 27. VIEW CATALOG→
  • Early Childhood Playlists
    Keep the music going at home or on the go with a sampling of our Early Childhood Spotify playlists: Family JamboreeJugamos Juntos, & Music Masters 1.
  • What Age Should Your Child Start Taking Music Lessons?
    Is my toddler too young to start music classes? Is my teenager too old to take piano lessons? Children can start on violin at age four, but did you know that they need to wait until age 9 for trombone? How can parents learn what to do? FIND OUT MORE→
  • Music of the Baroque Teams Up With Merit Students
    Merit Philharmonic’s November collaboration with Music of the Baroque was captured in a short documentary, released last month as part of Music of the Baroque’s MOB in the Community initiative. Learn more about this amazing experience and the impact of this incredible partnership! READ MORE→


  • Three Cheers for Our Conservatory Solo Competition Winners!
    On Saturday, June 4, Conservatory students participated in our annual Solo Competition, showcasing an afternoon of artistry, excellence, and dedication. Bravo!
    Concerto Division: Winner: Hannah Gill, voice, student of Melissa Curtis. 1st Runner-up: Calleigh Riordan, trombone, student of Timothy Riordan
    Private Lesson Division: 1st Place: Calleigh Riordan, trombone, student of Timothy Riordan. 2nd Place: Eduard Liberzon, guitar, student of Robert Sherman. 3rd Place: Nika Million, piano, student of Mio Isoda-Hagle. 4th Place: Octavio Escamilla, guitar, student of Robert Sherman. Honorable Mention: Owen Riordan, trombone, student of Timothy Riordan. SAY CONGRATS →
  • Ada Participates in Grant Park Masterclass with Michelle Cann
    Ada Liberzon, student of Mio Isoda-Hagle, was selected to participate in Grant Park Music Festival’s Visiting Masters series, featuring world-renowned pianist, Michelle Cann. What an amazing experience for this young piano student! WATCH VIDEO →
  • Nazeeh Performs at the Art Institute
    Merit Conservatory student and CMPI fellow, Nazeeh Shahid, taught by Desirée Ruhstrat, performed at an Art Institute of Chicago event honoring iconic artist and sculptor Richard Hunt on his 2022 Legends and Legacy Award, “which celebrates living African American artists who have influenced the next generation of artists.” We’re so proud Nazeeh performed at this notable event honoring Hunt’s legacy! WATCH VIDEO →
  • Merit Music in Community Students ‘Wow’ at Gunsaulus Elementary Concerts
    Community partner site, Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy, celebrated the end of their school year with a fantastic concert. It was amazing to see how much these young students have grown musically! WATCH VIDEO →


  • Chip Staley Receives Band Director Award

    Chip Staley, Merit’s Director of Wind Symphony, will be presented the Edwin Franko Goldman Award by the American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA). This will be Mr. Staley’s second time receiving an award from the ASBDA: He received the Distinguished Young Director’s Award nearly 30 years ago. Congratulations! LEARN MORE →

  • Victor Garcia Plays at Candlelight Concerts
    Trumpeter, band leader, and Merit alum, Victor Garcia, and Early Childhood Faculty and Program Manager, Ms. Sally Blandón, performed a candlelight concert at Salvage One featuring Latin jazz tunes. WATCH NOW →
  • Sally Blandón Sings Around Chicago

    When Ms. Sally Blandón, Early Childhood Faculty and Program Manager, isn’t teaching little ones, she’s singing around the city of Chicago! Check out her upcoming Amy Winehouse Tributes this summer: 7/10 – Southport Art Fest, 8/14 – Retro on Roscoe. Follow @AmysTearsTribute on Instagram for more details. VIEW MORE
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