Isabel Chen, 18, violin

July 31, 2021, 11:00 am

Share this Post

Today we feature 18-year-old Isabel Chen of Northbrook, a violin student of Almita Vamos. She performs some solo Bach, a Beethoven sonata movement, a short Kreisler piece, a recent work by Montgomery, and the first movement of the Sibelius Violin Concerto. Thank you to the Music Institute of Chicago for letting WFMT record in Nichols Concert Hall, and to collaborative pianist Milana Pavchinskaya.

Isabel Chen recently graduated from Glenbrook North High School and was a Scholarship Fellow at the Music Institute of Chicago Academy, a training center for advanced pre-college musicians. She currently studies violin with Mrs. Almita Vamos and Mathias Tacke, and in the fall of 2021 will begin studying at the Eastman School of Music with Oleh Krysa.

In the past few years, Isabel has been active in both solo and chamber music competitions. She was a winner of the Dr. Robert Stanger Concerto Competition and the DePaul Concerto Festival, receiving honors as well from the Walgreens National Concerto Competition and the CSO Crain-Maling Young Artists Competition. Isabel was recently a semifinalist in the 2021 Fischoff National Chamber Competition with the Zephyr String Quartet; as a former member of the MIC Academy’s Xena String Quartet, she won the Grand Prize in the A.N. & Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Competition and was a finalist at the St. Paul String Quartet

Aside from her studies at MIC, Isabel has enjoyed participating in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, the Interlochen Arts Festival, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. Isabel has performed in masterclasses for notable musicians including Donald Weilerstein, Noah Bendix-Balgley, and Sarah Chang.

When she isn’t practicing, she enjoys downhill skiing, biking, and watching many short films on YouTube.


Johann Sebastian Bach: Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor:
I. Allemande

Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2:
I. Allegro con brio

Fritz Kreisler: La Gitana

Jessie Montgomery: Rhapsody No. 1

Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47:
I. Allegro moderato