Kicking Off the 2011-12 Season in Chicago

Stephanie Block

On July 2 we kicked off the 2011-12 season with a wonderful show in Chicago! Presented by the National Education Association, From the Top with Christopher O’Riley was featured as part of “Friendship Night” at their annual convention. While the show wasn’t open to the public, we had a fabulous audience of educators and teachers. Each performer featured on this show attends a public school. The NEA recapped the event in a great article you can read here.

Nikita Annenkov

The show opened with 17-year-old violist Stephanie Block from Barrington, Illinois. Stephanie is a member the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and studies viola at the Music Institute of Chicago. Her performance of the first movement of the Walton Viola Concerto dazzled the crowd.

18-year-old baritone Geoffery Hahn took the stage next. Geoffrey lives in Carpinteria, California and has been singing since the age of 6. These days he’s a member of  the Madrigal and A Cappella choirs in his high school.

Following Geoffery was 19-year-old cellist and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Nikita Annenkov from Columbus, Ohio. Nikita shared a sweet prom story with the audience and performed Impromptu by Alexander Arutiunian.

Later, the Spectacular Septet from the Illinois-based Merit School of Music performed Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale” perfectly in sync with each other and without a conductor.

Spectacular Septet

Kate Liu, a 17-year-old pianist from Winnetka, Illinois closed the show. Kate attends the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy program for pre-college musicians, where she studies with Alan Chow. The piece that she selected to perform was particularly memorable: a jazzy, percussive movement from a piano sonata by composer Avner Dorman.

Get a quick overview of what makes this show so special by watching the highlight video below: