Academic Spotlight: Kollasch siblings to perform at music festival
By Jane Donahue For The Sun January 24, 2013 5:22PM
Kollasch siblings Shannon, 15, and Aaron, 17, were selected to take part in the 2013 Chicago Youth in Music Festival that runs now through February 4. Submitted.
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To learn more about the Music Institute of Chicago, visit www.musicinstituteofchicago.org
Updated: February 28, 2013 6:36AM
One Naperville family has two good reasons to attend the 2013 Chicago Youth in Music Festival from Jan. 14 through Feb. 4.
Siblings Aaron Kollasch, a cellist, and Shannon Kollasch, a violinist, are among an elite group of high school-age musicians chosen to perform at the festival that is a collaborative effort between the Institute for Learning, Access, and Training at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago’s leading music educators.
“Chicago Youth in Music Festival is a celebration of the area’s musical talent and preparation,” said Aaron, 17, a senior at Neuqua Valley High School. “You have the opportunity to collaborate with more experienced musicians and play to a higher level.”
Shannon, 15, a sophomore at Neuqua Valley, shares the sentiment.
“It’s wonderful to be in an orchestra and contribute to that beautiful mix of sounds,” she said. “When the dramatic swells and crescendos are felt through everyone across the orchestra, I know I’m a part of something amazing.”
The festival includes three weeks of community events and free performances, with a goal to “extend and deepen the engagement of youth in music in Chicago.” Both students were chosen to participate after a vigorous audition process, and join more than 60 other musicians who make up the Festival Orchestra.
While also an accomplished pianist, Aaron was selected as a cellist, an instrument he began playing at age 3. He is a student at the Music Institute of Chicago, where he studies under the tutelage of cellist David Cunliffe and pianist Ralph Neiweem.
“Music Institute of Chicago has many great artist faculty members, including David Cunliffe, Ralph Neiweem, and my late piano teacher Emilio del Rosario,” Aaron said. “I feel fortunate to be inspired by their teaching. (The school) has provided me with a broad base of musical training with theory and musicianship.”
Cunliffe, a world-renowned cellist and member of the Lincoln Trio, has been working with Aaron for nine years.
“Aaron is an exceptionally bright, talented young man who also plays piano to a very high level,” he said.
“These festivals are a great opportunity for kids; they inspire them to work at an even more intense level for the opportunity to make music with world-class conductors and educators.”
Shannon began playing piano at an early age, but now focuses her efforts on violin. At age 7, she took her first lesson with Desiree Ruhstrat, concert violinist and fellow member of the esteemed Lincoln Trio.
“Shannon is a very natural player and has wonderful musical instincts,” said Ruhstrat, who has known the young musician for seven years. “These opportunities are inspiring for the students; to be able to work with some of the world’s greatest musicians only gives them renewed excitement for their musical endeavors.”
The Chicago Youth in Music Festival runs through Feb. 4. For more information, visit www.cso.org/Institute/YoungMusicians/YoungMusicians.aspx