Midwest Young Artists
Midwest Young Artists (MYA), the largest youth ensemble music program in the Midwest, was founded in 1993 in Evanston, Illinois by Dr. Allan Dennis and consisted of a single orchestra. Since then, MYA has grown exponentially and now includes six youth symphony orchestras, a comprehensive jazz and big band program, a wind symphony, four choral groups and an entry level early childhood music program for children as young as 12 months. MYA is also renowned for its award-winning Chamber Music Program consisting of over 60 performing groups, and its jazz combos. Other enrichment activities, such as music theory classes and a Summer Music Festival, are also offered by MYA at their building on the grounds of historic Fort Sheridan in Highwood, Illinois, Bennett Gordon Hall at Ravinia Park, and Carthage College. Over 900 student musicians from 74 cities throughout the Chicago metropolitan area are enrolled in Midwest Young Artists programs. MYA ensembles are coached by a staff of professional musician-educators, which includes members of Northwestern University, Roosevelt University music faculties and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Chamber Players.
MYA orchestras, jazz ensembles, and choral groups have performed at a variety of venues each year, including the Harris Theater and Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, Symphony Center in Chicago, Pick-Staiger Auditorium at Northwestern University, the Ravinia Festival and Chicago's Hot House. In 2007, Midwest Young Artists became the first youth orchestra ever to perform at the Civic Opera House in Chicago. Every two or three years, MYA students also have the opportunity to go on international concert trips, such as to Germany (2010), China and Korea (2007), Spain and Portugal (2005), Switzerland (2004), Vienna (2001), and Scotland (1998).
Each year Midwest Young Artists hosts the Walgreens Concerto Competition, for young soloists, and the Chicago National Chamber Music Competition, for young string, brass, percussion and wind ensembles. Midwest Young Artists students have won top prizes at the prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and Rembrandt Chamber Players High School Chamber Music Competition and have appeared on the radio and television program "From the Top" and on broadcasts on WFMT. Recordings of Midwest Young Artists performances and interviews with conductors, soloist and performers can be heard on MYA's podcast.
Midwest Young Artists has six principal orchestras, ranked by skill level and age:
- Reading Orchestra
- Cadet Orchestra
- Concertino Orchestra
- Philharmonia Orchestra
- Concert Orchestra
- Symphony Orchestra
The band is known as Honors Wind Symphony. Its conductor is Dr. James Ripley of Carthage College. The ensemble has performed recently at Orchestra Hall in Chicago.
MYA has three main jazz ensembles, as well as a number of smaller jazz combos.
- Big Band
- Jazz Orchestra
- Jazz Ensemble