Steans Institute Masterclasses


 I’ll be sad to see the amazing musicians of the Steans Institute program for piano and strings leave this weekend. The 33 young professional instrumentalists in this program will have been here for five weeks, keeping up an intense seven-day-a-week schedule of lessons with some of the world’s greatest musicians, rehearsals, and concerts in Bennett • Gordon Hall. The performances they have given in the recent weeks are some of the most intimate, beautiful, and memorable of any concerts I’ve seen at Ravinia.

In addition to the concerts, I’m a particular fan of our master classes, which give the audience a chance to witness the interaction of our young artists with the faculty.  It’s a unique opportunity to get to know the musicians and the music more intimately, and I find it fascinating to consider the questions of interpretation and musicianship from the performers’ perspective.  Our master class on July 8 was led by cellist Laurence Lesser, president emeritus of New England Conservatory and veteran of a long career as a performer, teacher, and administrator. 

These pictures show Larry working with cellist Karen Ouzounian and pianist Andrei Licaret on Beethoven’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, Opus 102, No. 1, before an audience of several hundred in Bennett • Gordon Hall. 

We have three master classes coming up in the program for singers, all of which are free and open to the public.  Ravinia Music Director James Conlon will lead a master class on Wednesday, August 4, at 7:00 p.m.  Nathan and Julie Gunn will give a master class on Saturday, August 7, at 1:30 p.m., focusing on American song.  The final master class of the summer, focusing on Mozart arias, will be given by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 17. 

So despite my sadness at the impending departure of our instrumentalists at the end of this week, you can see that we still have a lot to look forward to in the program for singers.  In addition to the master classes, the singers will give four full concerts as well.  More information about these performances will be posted on our website as soon as repertoire is determined.  Please join us!

Anthony Roberts

Director, Steans Institute