Chamber Music Program

Midwest Young Artists Chamber Music Program is recognized as a national leader in chamber music training for young musicians. Over the past 17 years, MYA’s chamber groups have won 13 medals at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and have been featured on broadcasts including NPR’s From the Top radio program numerous times, ABC, CBS, Music da Camera, WFMT 98.7 FM, and WFN 720 AM. With more than 60 chamber ensembles, MYA recognizes the value of chamber music training at every level and encourages its students to experience the excitement of performing major chamber works in venues across Chicago.

MYA prides itself in offering the most comprehensive, yet fully individual and personalized, Chamber Music Program possible for our students. Very few programs in the nation are as large as MYA and no other youth program has experienced the competitive success that MYA has had at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition over the past 17 years - both indicators of the quality that MYA offers our students.

Chamber music is an integral part of a well-rounded musician’s education. Johann Wolgang von Goethe described chamber music as “four rational people conversing.“ Often it is both the most long-lasting activity as well as the highlight of a "classically-trained" musician. Avid lifetime amateur chamber musicians included Albert Einstein and Thomas Jefferson. MYA believes that the chamber musician is the most flexible musician. They are leaders when the part calls for it; they are responders when others are in the position to lead; they are joiners when they play the same part as others; they are cooperators when their part fits with or into another. Chamber musicians who have learned to listen to fit their part with others make the best orchestra musician as well as the best soloists!

All of MYA’s Symphony and Concert Orchestra members must be available for placement in MYA’s Chamber Music Program. When requested, every attempt is made to place interested Philharmonia Orchestra students as well. In addition, some students audition to be considered just for the Chamber Music Program.

Chamber Music Program Offerings

Our Youth Chamber Ensembles are typically coached one hour per week by a member of our faculty. Intensive chamber music ensembles are coached more often and have a coach for each instrument over the semester. Intensive chamber music ensembles also have preference on participation with master class teachers that MYA brings in.
Coached by our expert faculty, MYA offers trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, septets and octets in the following groups.

  • Percussion
  • Saxophone
  • Strings and Piano
  • Woodwinds
  • Brass

MYA offers two expectations/participation levels in the Chamber Music Program.


  • prepare music outside of rehearsals
  • perform on a minimum of one Sunday Soiree per semester
  • in the event that a student is absent from their chamber music coaching, they are expected to find a substitute


  • commit to rehearsing with their ensemble at least one hour each week outside the regular coaching
  • possible participation in chamber music competitions
  • perform on a minimum of two Sunday Soirees per semester


We offer many opportunities for chamber music ensembles to perform throughout the year. These include Sunday Soirees and our Beyond the Fort recitals at Bennett Gordon Hall at Ravinia, the MYA Center and different locations throughout the area. These performances are free and open to the public!

Sonata Class

This is a wonderful opportunity for 3-5 students to meet with a coach/pianist and discuss sonata form while working on a sonata piece of their choosing, usually selected in consultation with the student’s private teacher, and performed on a special Sonata Class recital each semester. Sonatas are considered chamber music because there is much more “interplay” between the piano and solo part than between the solo and orchestral part as in a concerto. The sonata can be for any instrument so the Sonata Class can be for mixed instruments (e.g. violin, oboe, trumpet, tube).

Technique/Performance Classes

Part of the Orchestra Program, but listed here because some of the classes perform works for cello choir, bass ensemble, etc., MYA offers Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass Classes which include: work on technique, feedback on solo performances, orchestra excerpts, and sometimes works for ensembles.

Master Classes

Throughout the year MYA students have the opportunity to work with outstanding musicians from all over. Past master class teachers have included:

  • Avalon String Quartet
  • Gavriel Lipkind (Solo Cellist)
  • Illinois Quartet (University of Illinois faculty)
  • Charlie Pikler (Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
  • N-E-W Trio (2008 Fischoff Winners)
  • Alice Schoenfeld (Professor Emerita of Violin, University of Southern California)
  • Barbara Butler (Chicago Chamber Musicians)
  • Rami Solomonow (Chicago Chamber Musicians)
  • Wycliffe Gordon (Jazz Trombonist)
  • Carrie Dennis (Berlin Philharmonic)
  • John Bruce Yeh (Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

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