Alicia Choi and Futaba Niekawa

May 9, 2018, 12:15 pm

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Violin soloist and avid chamber musician Alicia Choi joins us along with collaborative pianist Futaba Niekawa with a program of live music under the Tiffany Dome of the Chicago Cultural Center with music of Henryk Wieniawski, Béla Bartók, and George Enescu.


Lauded for “possessing a big sound and a warm tone” by, violinist Alicia Choi is an avidly passionate musician dedicated to performing and teaching chamber music. As a member of the Larchmere String Quartet from 2013 to 2017, Alicia collaborated with Atar Arad, James Dunham, Thomas Josenhans, and Michael Kannen; studied with Günter Pichler and performed in Siena, Italy through the Accademia Musicale Chigiana; won the 2016 Evansville Mayor’s Arts Ensemble Award; and also released the first commercial recording of Stephan Krehl’s String Quartet, op. 17 and Clarinet Quintet, op. 19 with clarinetist Wonkak Kim on the Naxos label.

Alicia was also the Associate Concertmaster and Artist-in-Residence Faculty with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and the University of Evansville. She has coached, held masterclasses, and taught sectionals for the Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestras and the University of Evansville Orchestra. Alicia served as an Artistic Director of the inaugural Harlaxton Chamber Music Festival in Grantham England, and as a faculty member at the UNC Chapel Hill Chapel Hill Chamber Music Workshop for the past three years. This summer, she will be on faculty at the Wyoming Seminary Summer at Sem Creative Arts Program.

Alicia holds degrees from Williams College and the Juilliard School. Currently, Alicia is a doctoral candidate at the McGill University Schulich School of Music, where she studies with Axel Strauss and is an instructor of chamber music.

Pianist Futaba Niekawa is a versatile soloist, collaborator, improviser, and harpsichordist. Passionate about chamber music, she has recently performed throughout the United States, Canada, England, Taiwan, and Japan. Ms. Niekawa’s wide interests in collaboration across disciplines and music of her generation have led to artistic partnerships with composers, dancers, poets, and visual artists. Many of these creative performances have been recorded live for radio broadcast and in studio including duo526’s “Ballade” from PARMA Recordings and the world premiere recording of Twenty-Five Preludes by pianist/composer Hwaen Ch’uqi. Innovative projects with duo526 have led to residencies at the Banff Centre, Avaloch Farm Music Institute, Brandon University, Boston, and Norfolk, VA.

A musical explorer seeking new opportunities, Ms. Niekawa left her native Japan in 2001 to attend the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory. Her mentors include Natalya Antonova, Jean Barr, Carol Rodland, Charles Castleman, James Buswell, Roger Tapping, Paul Katz, Mauricio Fuks, and the Lafayette String Quartet. She earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music in 2013. Professionally, she has been engaged as a collaborative pianist at the Banff Centre, New England Conservatory, Boston Ballet School, Meadowmount School of Music, and Atlantic Music Festival.

Since 2015, Ms. Niekawa has been on the faculty at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Dedicated to teaching and coaching, she shares her passion through masterclasses and workshops. Having a keenness to bring audience and performer closer together, Ms. Niekawa’s on-going “Mozart in Public Spaces” project with duo526

and “Play Me, I’m Yours” street pianos has activated unique connections with new communities.

Biographies provided by the International Music Foundation.

  • Polonaise de concert in D major, Op. 4, by Henryk Wieniawski