This Month at Merit: Students work with Muti & win awards!


  • Summer Registration is Open Now ☀️
    With options for all ages, instruments, and experience levels, summer at Merit is a great way for kids and teens to prevent learning loss, refine skills, and have fun! BROWSE CAMPS & CLASSES →
  • This Weekend at Merit
    Experience Merit’s Conservatory ensembles in action during Spring Concerts on Friday, April 22 at 7pm & all day Saturday, April 23 starting at 9am.
    Feel the pomp & circumstance as we honor our graduating Conservatory seniors on Sunday, April 24 at 11am. MORE EVENT INFO →
  • Happy Birthday, Merit!
    Merit’s 43rd birthday is coming up on April 27! Check out this throwback video from our 40th birthday back in 2019 with a message from President & Executive Director, Charlie Grode, and Board Trustee & former President, Duffie Adelson.
  • Our Students Are So Excited to Play at the Gala!
    Merit’s Gala, taking place May 18 at the Four Seasons, is the first opportunity for our students to perform live for many in our community since 2019! Here about how excited they are to dazzle the audience. Meet a few of this year’s student performers! MORE EVENT INFO →
  • Alum Spotlight: Gwen Maramba Premieres Original Piece
    During her time at Merit, Conservatory Voice Alum, Gwen Maramba, found her calling in composing, and is now making strides as Hearing in Color’s Young Composer in Residence. Her debut piece, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”, was premiered this past March. Read more about Gwen and watch the performance of the work she calls “the most fun piece she’s ever composed.” READ MORE →


  • Merit Students Work with Maestro Riccardo Muti at Chicago Youth in Music Festival
    Five Merit students were selected to participate in the Chicago Youth in Music Festival & Summit, culminating in an open rehearsal and concert under the instruction of Maestro Riccardo Muti in Orchestra Hall. The festival brought together over 100 students from talent development programs all over the country for a weekend of events, panels, & discussions centering on youth & diversity in classical music. VIEW PHOTOS →
  • Students Win Awards: Congratulations to these rockstars!
    Anoushka Aggarwal, student of Dr. Ann Yi, won 1st place in the British School Lincoln Park, Studio 814 Music Competition. Bennett King, student of Paul Lowry, won 3rd place at the National Trumpet Competition. Cole Moorhead, student of Tom Snydacker, was awarded the Discover Symphony Scholarship—a $1,000 award for high school seniors continuing music at the college-level. SAY CONGRATS →


  • 5 Faculty Members Honored for Excellence
    We already know we have the best teachers, but we love when they get recognized!
    • Taichi Fukumura will be making his Guest Conducting debut with the Fort Worth Symphony and Orquestra de Camara de Bellas. He will also be conducting at Symphony Center on May 16 with Chicago Sinfonietta.
    • Weiwen Ma was awarded the 2021 Piano Teacher of the Year as voted by the Steinway Piano Gallery of Chicago.
    • Steve Million was featured on Judy Carmichael’s Jazz Inspired podcast, discussing his latest CD.
    • Rannvieg Sarc won the 2022 Luminarts Classical Strings Fellowship and the Icelandic Music Award for “Newcomer of the Year.” Check out her duo, Duo Freyja’s album on Spotify.
    • Christian Smith was awarded the Fund For Teachers fellowship to study in Ghana, where he will be attending workshops in the city of Dzodze with African clinicians and teachers.
  • Chip Staley Teaching FREE Online Clinic for GRAMMY Museum  
    Merit’s Director of Wind Symphony, Chip Staley, hosted a class during GRAMMY In The Schools Fest, a four-day online festival leading up to the GRAMMY Awards. DISCOVER MORE →
  • Get to Know Alum Jennifer Turner
    Merit alum, Jennifer Turner, was recently named Executive Vice President of TriStar Television for Sony Pictures. Get to know this amazing alum and donor who recently honored her mother, Dr. Audrey M. Turner, by creating a scholarship that will provide support for young Merit musicians in the years ahead.⠀VIEW SPOTLIGHT
  • Alum Peter CottonTale to Perform at Lollapalooza
    Merit alum, producer, and musician, Peter CottonTale, will be performing at this year’s Lollapalooza in Grant Park on July 28. We can’t wait to watch his set! VIEW LINEUP 
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