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News and Events

Music Institute Academy moves to Lake Forest College

Close up of girl playing violin in orchestra
October 18, 2021
Linda Blaser

The Music Institute of Chicago's Academy, a pre-conservatory training program for advanced string and piano musicians in high school, has a new home at Lake Forest College.

After more than a decade of weekly programming on the Ravinia Festival campus, the Academy staff initiated a search for a new home after learning Ravinia needed the space to accommodate the growth of its neighborhood outreach program.

Music Institute Vice President and COO Sue Polutnik led efforts to approach schools and examine campuses to secure the right fit for the internationally recognized Academy.

“During the years, Academy students had performed in beautiful Lily Reid Holt Memorial Chapel at Lake Forest College, so I was familiar with the lovely grounds and the acoustics in the chapel, which would pair well with our orchestra and chamber music, as well as our master classes,” Polutnik said.

Exterior of Lily Reid Holt Memorial Chapel

 “If the music building could accommodate all our group classes, I knew the gorgeous stone buildings and pastoral campus were equal to the prestige of the program.”

Polutnik worked closely with the Associate Professor of Music and Music Chair Scott Edgar and Director of Conferences and Facility Rental Kristen Nolan to accommodate 30 nine-hour Saturdays. As part of the new partnership, the Academy is inviting Lake Forest music students to its weekly master classes and enrichment offerings.

“We, at Lake Forest College, are thrilled to be the new home of the Music Institute of Chicago Academy,” Edgar said. “We look forward to developing this relationship to further both the Academy and Lake Forest’s tradition of musical excellence building on each of our strengths. We are excited to be able to offer the Academy students and families our campus to explore their musicianship in a collegiate environment while exposing our students to some of the best teachers and young musicians in the world.”

On September 25, the Academy—with a roster of 35 students from five states—held its first full day of classes. Now in its sixteenth year, the Academy welcomes students from across the US and around the globe for pre-professional training and exposure to some of the world’s leading musicians.