Live from Nichols Hall – Chamber Music Concerts (Streaming)

Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem. Photo by Michelle Kaffko.
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“LIVE FROM NICHOLS CONCERT HALL” CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT SERIES APRIL 11–MAY 2 Features Chen String Quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Aebersold/Neiweem Piano Duo 
Chen String Quartet courtesy of the Chen family

The Music Institute of Chicago opens its concert home to family homes worldwide through the presentation of “Live from Nichols Concert Hall,” a free chamber music series April 11–May 2 streamed live from its historic Nichols Concert Hall. This series is part of the Music Institute’s 90th anniversary year, which celebrates innovation, access, and excellence in music education, service to the community, and music performance.  President and CEO Mark George described the new series, saying, “One of the Music Institute’s great strengths is our amazing network of professional musicians, so many of whom concertize worldwide. Another is the warm, intimate atmosphere and amazing acoustics of Nichols Concert Hall. Although the pandemic has curtailed our ability to gather in person, we are excited to share this new series of inspiring performances to a much broader audience, no longer limited by location.”   The concert lineup is as follows:  

Chen String Quartet – Sunday, April 11, 3 p.m.CDT 

Beethoven String Quartets, Op. 18 No. 1 in F Major  No. 2 in G Major  No. 3 in D Major  No. 4 in C minor CSO Concertmaster Robert Chen and his wife, Laura Park Chen, on violin and their children Beatrice Chen on viola and Noah Chen on cello, have 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. 

Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem. Photo by Michelle Kaffko

Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem–Sunday, April 18,3p.m.CDT 
Schubert: Rondo in A Major, D. 951  Schubert: Divertissement à la Hongroise, D. 818  Liszt: Bénédiction de Dieu dans la Solitude  Liszt: Les Préludes (Poeme Symphonique) Celebrating 40 years as a piano duo, Music Institute artists in residence and faculty members Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem enjoy an international career as proponents of music for both piano duet and two keyboards. They have appeared with orchestras internationally, including the Chicago Philharmonic and the Vienna Tonkünstler, and performed in recitals throughout the U.S. and Europe. They have commissioned significant new works for the piano duo, including pieces by Joseph Turrin and Patrick Byers. The duo’s CDs on the Summit label include Four Hand Reflections and music of Brahms and Schubert. They are founders of the Music Institute’s Chicago Duo Piano Festival and the Chicago International Duo Piano Competition. 
Third Coast Percussion (L-R): David Skidmore, Sean Connors, Rob Dillon, and Peter Martin. Photo by Saverio Truglia.

Third Coast Percussion – Sunday, April 25, 3 p.m.CDT Clarice Assad (arr. Third Coast Percussion): The Hero  Devonté Hynes: Perfectly Voiceless Gemma Peacocke: Death Wish  Jlin: movements from Perspective  Third Coast Percussion is a Grammy Award-winning, Chicago-based percussion quartet. For 15 years, the ensemble has created exciting and unexpected performances that constantly redefine the classical music experience. Third Coast Percussion maintains a busy tour schedule, with past performances in 35 of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., plus international tour dates in Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.  

Chen String Quartet – Sunday, May 2, 3 p.m.CDT Beethoven: String Quartets, Op. 18 No. 5 in A Major  No. 6 in B flat Major Beethoven String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132   IIIMolto adagio  

WFMT, celebrating 70 years in 2021 as one of the world’s most respected classical music radio stations, will air the audio from each concert on its program Live from WFMT on Mondays, May 3–24 at 8 p.m. CDT. Said WFMT Vice President and General Manager George Preston, “We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Music Institute throughout our respective special anniversary seasons.” 

Shure is the Music Institute of Chicago’s 90th Anniversary Technology Sponsor. 

“Live from Nichols Concert Hall” takes place Sundays, April 11–May 2, at 3 p.m. CDT. Performances are free and open to the public and stream live  from Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston.  Under current pandemic restrictions, access will be entirely virtual.  For information, visit All programming is subject to change.  

Nichols Concert Hall Noted architect Solon S. Beman designed the architecturally and acoustically magnificent First Church of Christ, Scientist, located at 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, in 1912. In 2003, the Music Institute restored the building into a state-of-the-art, 550-seat performance space and music education destination: Nichols Concert Hall. The converted building, featuring a fully restored, 1914 E. M. Skinner pipe organ, received the Richard H. Driehaus Award for best adaptive use by the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois. Each year (when there isn’t a pandemic), Nichols Concert Hall reaches approximately 15,000 people and hosts a world-class chamber music concerts, master classes, student recitals, and special events.

Music Institute of Chicago The Music Institute of Chicago leads people toward a lifelong engagement with music through unparalleled teaching, exceptional performances, and valuable service initiatives that educate, inspire, and build strong, healthy communities. Since its founding in 1931, the Music Institute’s commitment to innovation, access, and excellence has served as an important community resource and helps to ensure music is available to everyone. Each year, the Music Institute provides personalized music instruction to more than 1,500 students, regardless of age, level of experience, or financial means, across eight Community Music School locations in Chicago, Downers Grove, Evanston, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, and Winnetka, as well as online. In addition, the Music Institute brings music education, arts curriculum integration, professional development, and music performance and engagement opportunities to thousands in the Chicago area; offers scholarship opportunities to students in its Community School and its Academy, a nationally recognized training center for highly gifted pre-college pianists and string players; and (pre-pandemic) welcomes more than 15,000 visitors annually for performances, master classes, and special events at Nichols Concert Hall. For information, visit


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