March 15, 2023
Massachusetts - New York

Celebrating Over Four Decades of World-class
Performance Accessibility
Classical Music Chicago 2023 Spring Fundraiser
Hosted by WFMT Host Robbie Ellis
With special guest artists
violinist Sirena Huang,
 2022 Gold Medalist,11th Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis
Chih-Yi Chen, pianist & collaborative accompanist

Classical Music Chicago (CMC) announces its 2023 Spring Fundraiser, benefitting the organization’s free concert access tradition. Taking place May 1, 2023 at the Windy City’s beautiful Union League Club of Chicago, the evening offers a special opportunity to celebrate CMC’s historically free-to-the-public accessible music programs in a breathtaking venue filled with arresting works of art while experiencing a one-of-a-kind performance from today’s generation of not-to-be-missed musicians. Enjoy socializing over cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres while supporting one of the country’s oldest innovators and supporters of accessibility, creativity and community.

May 1, 2023
Classical Music Chicago
2023 Spring Fundraiser
6:00 – 8:00 PM
 Union League Club of Chicago
65 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, IL
Tickets $125
Click here to purchase tickets or learn more.
Violinist Sirena Huang is one of her generation’s most celebrated violinists. She brings not only technical brilliance and powerful artistry to the stage, but also a profound sense of connection to her audience. The recipient of numerous accolades and awards, Huang is the Gold Medalist of the 11th Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and was also awarded eight of the eleven special prizes. In 2017, she was awarded First Prize at the Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition and was announced as the winner of the New York Concert Artist Worldwide Debut Audition. In 2009, she won First Prize Gold Medalist of the 6th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. She won First Prize and the Audience Award at the Cooper International Competition in 2011. That same year, she was also named the first Artist-in-Residence of Hartford Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, she was awarded the Hannloser Prize for Violin at the Verbier Music Festival in Switzerland. She is also a top prize winner at Singapore International Violin Competition as well as the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition.
Sirena Huang made her solo debut with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra in 2004 at the age of nine and has since performed in twenty countries across three continents. She has been featured as a soloist with more than fifty prestigious ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Russian Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and the Staatskapelle Weimar in Germany. She has performed in leading venues, including Berliner Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Kravis Center, Esplanade -Theaters on the Bay, Shanghai Concert Hall, and the Taiwan National Concert Hall, among many others. She has appeared as a guest artist at the Verbier Music Festival, Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Newport Music Festival, Music in the Mountains Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Sarasota Arts Series, “The Great Music for a Great City” series in New York City, and many others. She has appeared at the World Peace Conference held in Petra and at the Opening Ceremony of the “Forum 2000 World Conference” in Prague, among others.
Sirena Huang has been featured on numerous radio and television broadcasts, including WQXR’s McGraw-Hill Young Artists Showcase, and NPR’s “From the Top" as well as several interviews with WNPR, CNBC, WTNH, WTIC, WB20 and Beethoven Radio.
Pianist Chih-Yi Chen has been performing with International Violin Competition of Indianapolis She was awarded special recognition at the 2018 Competition for “Best Performances” of the Beethoven and Mozart sonatas.
Among the numerous musicians with whom she has collaborated are violinists Noah Bendix-Balgley, Jaime Laredo, Andrés Cárdenes, Kyoko Takezawa, David Chan, Barnabás Kelemen, Simone Lamsma, Nai-Yuan Hu, Liviu Prunaru, Mihaela Martin, Augustin Hadelich, Clara-Jumi Kang,Soovin Kim, Susie Park, Luke Hsu, Kerson Leong, and Svetlin Roussev, violists Atar Arad, Brian Chen and Masumi Per Rostad, cellists Sharon Robinson, Peter Stumpf and Bion Tsang, clarinetists James Campbell and Howard Klug, bassoonist William Ludwig and flutist Thomas Robertello, as well as the Michelangelo, Pacifica, Rubens and Verona string quartets. Highlights of her 2022-2023 season include concert tours with violinists Richard Lin, Luke Hsu and Ioana Cristina Goicea, a series of performances and masterclasses in Taiwan, and a week-long festival of performing and teaching in San Juan, Argentina.
Born in Taipei, Dr. Chen received her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees in Piano Performance from Indiana University where she studied with Lev Vlasenko, and with Luba Edlina-Dubinsky, pianist of the Borodin Trio. A faculty member of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music since 2003, she has been part of the Chamber and Collaborative Music Department since its inauguration. Chen has also been a faculty member of the Indiana University Summer String Academy for over two decades. Her versatile qualities as a collaborative partner, chamber musician, soloist and teacher have contributed to a distinguished career, nationally and internationally.
WFMT Host Robbie Ellis joined the network as a part-time presenter in 2015, and started full-time in 2020 as the producer and presenter of Introductions. He can be heard on air on Sunday afternoons. A popular emcee, he has fronted a variety of broadcasts and events for WFMT, including hosting Classical Cabaret from the piano.
Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, Ellis studied Composition at the University of Auckland and started in classical music radio at RNZ Concert. His impressive resume includes serving as a teaching artist with The Second City, Chicago Opera Theater and Chicago Symphony Orchestra; he has composed and served as Master of Ceremonies for musical comedy concerts with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago and Fourth Coast Ensemble. He is a music director for comedy theater, works as an event MC around town, and performs his comedy songs from the piano.
About Classical Music Chicago
Since 1976, Classical Music Chicago (CMC) has offered a variety of unforgettable classical music performances by up and coming and established artists throughout the Chicago community. A celebrated innovator from the very beginning and one of the first to focus on the importance of accessibility, presenting engaging concerts in various formats and venues free of charge, CMC is the 2016 union of two distinguished Chicago music institutions: the International Music Foundation (IMC), founded by Chicagoan Al Booth, and Rush Hour Concerts (RHC) founded by pianist and civic leader Deborah Sobol in 2000. Over the next few seasons, CMC will celebrate landmark anniversaries of each of its acclaimed series, beginning with the year-long 25th anniversary of the Rush Hour Concerts in 2024-2025, the 50th Anniversary of the Do-It-Yourself Messiah concert in 2025, and the 50th anniversary of the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in fall 2026.
IMF comprised the Do-It-Yourself Messiah at Orchestra Hall begun in 1976, and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, modeled on the series launched by Dame Myra Hess during World War II, to provide young artists with a performance outlet and present top caliber concerts free to the public. Begun in 1977, such acclaimed musicians as sopranos Elizabeth Frutal, June Anderson and Jo Ann Pickens; baritone Richard Cowan; oboist Alex Klein; guitarists Eliot Fisk and Paul Henry; violinists Rachel Barton Pine, Jennifer Frautschi, Jennifer Koh, Robyn Bollinger, and Tessa Lark; cellists Steven Isserlis, Nathanel Rosen, Jeffrey Solow and Bion Tsang; pianists David Shrader, Jeffrey Kahane, Angela Hewitt, Barry Douglas, Daniel Trifonov, and Max Levinson; and ensembles including the Vermeer Quartet, the Chicago Bassoon Quartet, His Majesties Clerkes, the Enzo String Quartet, and Orchestra Sinfonica Haydn di Bolzano e Trentoto, to name a few, have graced the Hess stage. In 1982, Live Music Now! - currently Young People’s Concerts - was founded by Booth with the assistance of his friend Yehudi Menuhin to bring professional musicians into the Chicago Public Schools. Students in grades K – 8 experience live performances, which have grown to reach more than 90 Chicago Public Schools annually.
Rush Hour Concerts, begun in 2000 as a welcoming summer concert format that removed accessibility barriers, in 2011 introduced Make Music Chicago, a citywide, daylong celebration of music making held on the summer solstice. It was followed by the addition of a professional ensemble residency program in Chicago’s neighborhoods in 2012.  The 2023 Rush Hour Concerts at the beautiful St. James Cathedral begin in June.
The latest addition to Classical Music Chicago’s roster of offerings is The Concerts for Well-being and Rejuvenation, bringing the healing power of music to people and places who do not have access to live performances. CMC partners onsite with health care facilities, community centers, meals programs and other organizations where music can make a vital difference. promoting community, creative interaction and therapeutic benefits through 45-minute interactive performances followed by a Q & A with the artists.
Press Contact:
Laura Grant
Grant Communications