Ravinia's Steans Music Institute

Program for Piano and Strings

Steans Piano and Strings Program Header

Applicants: The application deadline for 2014 has past.


June 22 – July 26, 2014

Program Director

Miriam Fried, Violin



Ravinia's Steans Music Institute is a unique summer program for young professional musicians that focuses upon interpretation and performance. With enrollment limited to 35 violinists, violists, cellists, pianists, and members of pre-existing chamber groups, young artists find an intimate, collegial atmosphere as they work with each other and meet with a distinguished international faculty for private coaching, chamber music and master classes. Together they search for ways to approach and perform works selected from a broad repertoire. Ravinia's Steans Music Institute fosters a supportive, non-competitive environment for study and performance, with participants from around the world creating a distinctive international community.

Chamber music with Miriam Fried

Study Program

Since the focus of concentration is music and its interpretation rather than instrumental study, young artists are coached by various members of the faculty. Participants may work on one piece with a piano faculty member and on another with a string coach, thus addressing broad musical issues rather than only the resources of their own instrument. Each participant (individual or ensemble) is able to have several coaching sessions per week. Besides these private lessons, Ravinia's Steans Music Institute members get together with the faculty for master classes and other informal meetings at which various aspects of the repertoire are discussed.

Chamber Music

Individual instrumentalists are placed in groups for the study and performance of chamber compositions during the summer. Faculty members participate in the chamber music program as well, so that most participants play in one ensemble with a faculty member. Pianists accepted into the program also work with individual string players on sonatas and with each other, playing duets and works for two pianos. Established ensembles accepted by Ravinia's Steans Music Institute work together for the entire session but are joined by other musicians for the study of at least one composition for a larger group. In addition, informal reading sessions with faculty members take place throughout the five weeks.

Coaching with Sylvia Rosenberg


Each participant (individual or ensemble) takes part in at least one formal recital in Bennett Gordon Hall. Many of these Ravinia's Steans Music Institute concerts are scheduled before concerts by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and are open to Ravinia ticket holders, thereby attracting knowledgeable audiences. In addition, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts series in Chicago offers one or two concerts each year to selected Ravinia's Steans Music Institute participants. Musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute is a touring group that performs on Ravinia’s Rising Stars series and at other venues during the winter concert season. Some participants each summer are invited to become members of this ensemble.


By playing at various off-site locations, young artists from Ravinia's Steans Music Institute support Ravinia’s commitment to expanding the audience for classical music and sharing the festival’s artistic resources with the community. They perform at Northwestern University and present programs for school groups. The Musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute ensemble also engages in outreach programs as part of its tour.

Ravinia Festival Activities

Ravinia Festival is located on Chicago’s North Shore and runs each year from late May through early September. All Ravinia events are open to Ravinia's Steans Music Institute participants. These include outdoor concerts in the pavilion by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, often joined by distinguished soloists, and solo and chamber recitals in Ravinia’s Martin Theatre.

Coaching with Martha Strongin Katz

The Facility

Ravinia's Steans Music Institute is located on the grounds of the Ravinia Festival in the John D. Harza Building. All performances take place in the intimate, 450-seat Bennett Gordon Hall, which has been praised as an acoustical gem by audiences and performers alike. The Harza Building also holds teaching studios, practice rooms, a library containing the most authoritative editions of the music performed at Ravinia's Steans Music Institute, and an audio/video control room furnished with high-quality equipment for the recording of all events in Bennett Gordon Hall. The recordings are immediately available for study and review after concerts and classes.


Ravinia's Steans Music Institute is open to young instrumentalists between the ages of 17 and 30. Individuals (violin, viola, cello, piano) and chamber ensembles are invited to apply. Chamber ensembles may be of three or more instruments, either all strings or strings and piano. We usually accept a trio or a quartet. Ensemble members may apply both as individuals and with their ensemble, but they will only be able to attend as one or the other.

Everyone accepted for the program receives a full fellowship covering all Ravinia's Steans Music Institute activities, dormitory housing, most meals, and inter-campus transportation. The only cost to participants is transportation to and from Chicago. All participants must attend for the full five weeks.


Faculty for 2014


Atar Arad, Viola
Paul Biss, Violin and Viola
Timothy Eddy, Cello
Pamela Frank, Violin
Alon Goldstein, Piano
Midori Goto, Violin
Joseph Kalichstein, Piano
Kim Kashkashian, Viola
Martha Strongin Katz, Viola
Paul Katz, Cello
Ralph Kirshbaum, Cello
Laurence Lesser, Cello
Mihaela Martin, Violin
Robert McDonald, Piano
Anton Nel, Piano
Menahem Pressler, Piano
Donald Weilerstein,Violin

Collaborating Pianists

Renana Gutman
Ron Regev
Einav Yarden