Alumni as featured on Chicago Tonight

May 2, 2020, 11:00 am

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Claire Arias-Kim, 18 and Esme Arias-Kim, 14. Credit: WTTW.

This weekend, we look to a couple of stories filed by our colleagues down the stairs and down the hall: the TV journalists who work for Chicago Tonight on WTTW. They checked in with students and alumni of the Music Institute of Chicago Academy. We hear those stories, plus a selection of archival recordings from the Introductions vault.

Claire Arias-Kim, 18, violin and Esme Arias-Kim, 14, violin

Producer Marc Vitali visited the Hoffman Estates home of sisters Claire Arias-Kim and Esme Arias-Kim to see how they're keeping up violin practice amid the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. Claire performed live on Introductions last year as a high school senior, and is now a freshman at the Juilliard School in New York studying with Li Lin.

Esme is a Merit Scholarship Fellow at the Music Institute of Chicago Academy, studying violin with Almita Vamos. She recently won the Junior Division of the 2020 Sphinx Competition in Detroit (video of her performance here), and as a result she has been invited to give a live solo recital on Introductions in November. She is also a member of the Primavera Piano Trio, currently quarter-finalists in the now-virtual Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.

Video: Music Institute of Chicago alumna Claire Arias-Kim, and MIC students Esme Arias-Kim and Evan Mueller, on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight

Video: Claire & Esme Arias-Kim perform the Prelude from Five Pieces for two violins and piano, by Dmitri Shostakovich

Cameron Chiu, 18, cello

Arts Reporter Angel Idowu spoke to cellist Cameron Chiu of Palatine, who studies with Horacio Contreras at the Music Institute of Chicago Academy. Cameron and fellow MIC Academy cellist Brandon Cheng created "The Swan Project", a moving collaboration with 22 other cellists from around the world all performing “The Swan” by Camille Saint-Saëns. In its first month online, it gained over 160,000 YouTube views. Cameron was subsequently invited to appear on From the Top on NPR, self-taping a Bach cello suite movement for their "Blanket Fort" episode. Cameron is also a member of the Gemini String Quartet, currently quarter-finalists in the Fischoff competition.

Video: Angel Idowu profiles Cameron Chiu and The Swan Project for WTTW’s Chicago Tonight

Video: The Swan Project


Praeludium and Allegro (in the style of Pugnani), by Fritz Kreisler
Esme Arias-Kim, violin
Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago
Mina Zikri, conductor
First broadcast on Introductions, October 22, 2016

Five Pieces for two violins and piano, by Dmitri Shostakovich (arr. Lev Atovmian)
I. “Prelude” (excerpts)
Claire Arias-Kim & Esme Arias-Kim, violins
First broadcast on Chicago Tonight, April 15, 2020

Violin Sonata No. 1 in A minor, Op. 105, by Robert Schumann
I. “Mit leidenschaftlichem Ausdruck”
Claire Arias-Kim, violin; Milana Pavchinskaya, piano
First broadcast on Introductions, April 20, 2019

“The Swan” from Carnival of the Animals, by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performed by The Swan Project, led by Cameron Chiu and Brandon Cheng
Released on YouTube, March 29, 2020
Featured on Chicago Tonight, April 16, 2020

String Quartet No. 3 in F, Op. 73, by Dmitri Shostakovich
III. “Allegro non troppo”
Nova String Quartet: Irina Casasnovas & John Heo, violins; Zechary Mo, viola; Cameron Chiu, cello. Coached by Matthias Tacke.
First broadcast on Introductions, August 31, 2019

Violin Sonata No. 3 in C, BWV 1005, by Johann Sebastian Bach
III. “Largo”
Claire Arias-Kim, violin
First broadcast on Introductions, April 20, 2019