Formerly referred to as “Side-by-Side,” Spotlight is a mentoring program designed to give professional symphonic performance opportunities to exceptional young musicians. The program provides these students an opportunity to perform with orchestra mentors in rehearsal sessions, followed by a professional performance of a major classical work. Past participants have been drawn from throughout the Chicago metropolitan area and have included students from New Trier High School, Protégé Philharmonic, Music Institute of Chicago, Midwest Young Artists, and Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras.

2015-16 Side-By-Side Participants

Peter Dudek, viola: Peter’s musical journey began with the piano and violin. In 2015, he started to study the viola with Lisa Chodorowski and now studies with Charles Pikler. Peter has been awarded 2nd place in the Chandler Starr Miller Scholarship Competition (senior division) and an Honorable Mention in the 12th annual DePaul University Concerto Festival. Peter is a junior at Lake Zurich High School and a member of the Midwest Young Artist Symphony Orchestra.
Ezra Escobar, cello: Ezra is a home-schooled sophomore from Evanston, Illinois. He was a finalist in the 2015 West Suburban Symphony Youth Solo Competition. In February 2015, he was chosen to participate with the Youth in Music Festival Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Muti at Symphony Center. During the summer of 2015, he played in the Interlochen Center for the Arts World Youth Symphony Orchestra. His other interests include composing classical music, electronic music and experimental music, as well as performing in a local teen theater troupe.
Andrew French, double bass: Ezra is currently a junior at York High School in Elmhurst, where he is first chair in their top Symphonic Orchestra. He has just begun his fourth year in Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and his second year with their top Symphonic ensemble under Maestro Allen Tinkham. Orchestral highlights include an open rehearsal under Riccardo Muti as a selected Chicago Youth in Music Festival participant.
Rebecca Moy, violin: Rebecca attends Classical Consortium Academy and studies with Drew Lecher in Naperville, IL. Rebecca recently performed at the Steinway Young Artists Concert Series in Skokie and participated in the 2015 Chicago Youth Music Festival under Maestro Riccardo Muti. She has received awards at several competitions, including Sejong, Granquist, DuPage, and Walgreens National Competitions. In her free time, Rebecca loves practicing piano, learning new languages, and photography.
Anna Stenzel, violin: Anna is a student of Mark Zinger. She is home-schooled and has participated in the Midwest Young Artists (MYA) Youth Orchestra program in Highwood, IL for the past five years, where she is currently serving as co-concertmaster. As a winner of the DePaul Concerto Festival, she performed with the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra in February 2015. Along with all of her musical activities, Anna enjoys working with young children and youth, reading, playing violin at church, and spending time with her friends.

Past Side-By-Side participants include:
Benjamin Alston, Bass
Rebecca Benjamin, Violin
David Berghoff, Viola
Christopher Gao, Cello
Annie Hu, Viola
Carrie Jones, Viola
Jacob Nagler, Double Bass
Rebecca O’Brien, Violin
Aidan Perrault, Violin
Steven Song, Violin
Rachel Stenzel, Violin
Lucie Ticho, Cello
Michaela Wellems, Violin
Nathan Walhout, Cello
Harrison Waldon, Bass

Read press about Side-by-Side!

Banner photo by Elliot Mandel