Introductions

Saturdays at 11:00 am

Members of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras perform during a live broadcast of Introductions from Millennium Park. (Photo: Tipping Point Photography)

Hear talented pre-college classical musicians from the Chicago area

Introductions is WFMT’s weekly Saturday morning program that features talented pre-college classical musicians in the Chicago area. We invite soloists and chamber ensembles to perform live in WFMT’s Fay & Daniel Levin Performance Studio. Large ensembles, including orchestras, choirs, and bands, are recorded at their home venues and broadcast at later dates. The program also features youth music competition winners. While many Introductions alumni pursue careers outside of music, some have gone on to study at some of the most prestigious music schools around the world and maintain careers as professional musicians.

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Encore Broadcast | Esme Arias-Kim, 14, violin

January 30, 2021

Join us this Saturday for to once again hear from 14-year-old violinist Esme Arias-Kim of Hoffman Estates. Along with pianist Milana Pavchinskaya, Esme presents a program of Mozart, Ysaÿe, Wagner, Saint-Saëns, Gershwin, and Ponce. This episode first aired on November 21, 2020.

Encore Broadcast | Zarin Mehta, 13, piano

January 23, 2021

This Saturday we hear once again from 13-year-old pianist Zarin Mehta of Chicago’s River North neighborhood, playing pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Debussy. This episode first aired on November 7, 2020.

Jan Vargas Nedvetsky, 14, cello

January 16, 2021

This Saturday we hear from Jan Vargas Nedvetsky, a 14-year-old cellist from Wilmette and a student of Horacio Contreras. He’s selected a program of classics by Bach, Bréval and Rimsky-Korsakov; as well as 20th-century Latin American works by Brouwer and Villa-Lobos. Jan is joined by Milana Pavchinskaya on piano. Thank you to the Music Institute of Chicago for allowing us ...

Encore Broadcast | Ardente String Quartet & Trio Primavera

January 9, 2021

This Saturday, we once again bring you two chamber groups from the 2019-2020 school year: the Ardente String Quartet from Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, and Trio Primavera from the Music Institute of Chicago Academy. We also hear Zoom interviews with two members: violinist Ella Saputra and cellist Jan Vargas Nedvetsky, both of whom are set to record solo recitals for ...

2020 Recap

January 2, 2021

On the first Introductions of 2021, we look back at the music-making that happened in the rather strange year of 2020. We have home recordings, competition winners, young local performers getting shoulder-tapped for Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, new albums and singles, and Introductions in the Community collaborations with The People’s Music School and Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative. Enjoy this ...

Sami Gershenhorn, 11, piano

December 26, 2020

This Saturday we have a recital of classical favorites from 11-year-old pianist Sami Gershenhorn of Lake Forest. On this holiday program is music by Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu; Bach’s Italian Concerto; Beethoven’s Tempest Sonata; and pieces by Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Debussy. Sami Gershenhorn is an 11-year-old established classical composer and professional pianist, who attends Deerpath Middle School in Lake Forest, and studies ...

Eytan Raviv, 17, cello

December 19, 2020

This week we feature cellist Eytan Raviv of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. A senior at the Latin School of Chicago, Eytan presents a program of Johann Sebastian Bach, Daniël van Goens, Dmitry Kabalevsky, Gabriel Fauré and Bright Sheng on acoustic cello; plus his own electric cello loop of the hit rock song Eye of the Tiger. Thanks to pianist Shirley ...

2020 Beethoven Highlights

December 12, 2020

Beethoven is a mainstay of many young musicians’ training. To mark his 250th birthday, Introductions brings you encore broadcasts of some of the greatest performances from this year’s season. It’s a nice lead-in to today’s Metropolitan Opera broadcast of Fidelio. Trio Primavera Esme Arias-Kim, violin Jan Vargas Nedvetsky, cello Yerin Yang, piano First broadcast August 22, 2020. Zarin Mehta, piano ...

Mark Zhu, 16, piano

December 5, 2020

This Saturday, we hear from 16-year-old pianist Mark Zhu of Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, playing pieces by Bach, Debussy, Ginastera, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, and Liszt. Thank you to the New Music School for letting us record in their River North location. At 16 years old, Mark Zhu is a junior at Walter Payton College Prep on Chicago’s Near North Side. He ...

The People’s Music School

November 28, 2020

This Saturday, we feature some of the top students from The People’s Music School, headquartered in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Founded by Dr Rita Simó in 1976, the school began in a small storefront with just a few students, $625, and a donated piano. Nowadays, the school provides tuition-free music education to over 850 students annually. They hail from more than ...

Esme Arias-Kim, 14, violin

November 21, 2020

Join us this Saturday for the winner of the 2020 Sphinx Competition Junior Division: Esme Arias-Kim of Hoffman Estates. Along with pianist Milana Pavchinskaya, Esme presents a program of Mozart, Ysaÿe, Wagner, Saint-Saëns, Gershwin, and Ponce. Thanks to the Music Institute of Chicago for letting WFMT record in Nichols Hall. Esme Arias-Kim, 14, is a Merit Scholarship Fellow at the ...

Justin Chang, 18, piano

November 14, 2020

Today, we feature 18-year-old pianist Justin Chang of Schaumburg. Justin was supposed to perform live on Introductions on Saturday March 14, 2020, and will forever hold the dubious distinction of being the first musician whose live WFMT performance was cancelled due to a pandemic. In today’s recital, recorded and broadcast eight months late, he performs Schubert, Chopin, and Liszt. Thanks ...

Zarin Mehta, 13, piano

November 7, 2020

This Saturday we profile 13-year-old pianist Zarin Mehta of Chicago’s River North neighborhood, playing pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Debussy. Zarin was invited to deliver a solo Introductions recital as the winner of the 2020 New Music School Concerto Competition. Thank you to the New Music School for letting us record in their Magnificent Mile location. Zarin Mehta ...

Anika Veda, 16, flute

October 31, 2020

Today, we broadcast our first in-person recital and interview since the pandemic began: 16-year-old flute player Anika Veda of Palatine, with Beilin Han on piano. Thanks to the Music Institute of Chicago for letting WFMT record in Nichols Hall. Anika Veda is a junior at William Fremd High School and has been playing the flute for seven years as a ...

No Introductions | WFMT Fall Membership Drive

October 24, 2020

WFMT’s Fall Membership Drive takes place this morning. You can support original programming like Introductions, and help us broadcast Chicago’s finest performers of all ages. Donate securely online at wfmt.com/donate, and you’re welcome to take Mariachi Herencia de México’s album Esencia Vol. 2 as a thank-you gift!

No Introductions | WFMT Fall Membership Drive

October 17, 2020

WFMT’s Fall Membership Drive takes place this morning. You can support original programming like Introductions, and help us broadcast Chicago’s finest performers of all ages. Donate securely online at wfmt.com/donate.

Beatrice Chen, 17, viola

October 10, 2020

This weekend, we feature Chicago violist Beatrice Chen in a completely solo recital, recorded at her home with borrowed WFMT gear. Beatrice currently studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Hsin-Yun Huang. She’s won first prize in various competitions including the Johansen International Competition for Young String Players, Albert M. Greenfield Competition, DePaul Concerto Festival, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras ...

Noah Chen, 16, cello

October 3, 2020

This Saturday, we profile Noah Chen of Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. Noah currently attends the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School, under the tutelage of Dr Clara Kim. Noah is both an avid soloist and chamber musician. As a member of the Chen String Quartet, he has performed for NPR’s From the Top, Make Music Chicago 2020, and the International Music ...

Alumni: Benjamin Lash, Sadie McCloud, and Jessi Lee

September 26, 2020

This week, Introductions goes back to the very first year of the program to see what alumni have gotten up to in the past twelve years. We discover one musician who’s still in the classical world, one who’s changed musical direction into indie pop, and another who’s pursuing a PhD in Philosophy. This episode is presented by Robbie Ellis with ...

Encore Broadcast | Mariachi Herencia de México’s latest album

September 19, 2020

This Saturday, to mark the first week of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), we once again feature Esencia Vol. 2, the fourth and newest album from Chicago ensemble Mariachi Herencia de México. This episode was first broadcast on June 27, 2020. Audio and notes on that episode page.