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 | Interview with Almita & Roland Vamos

February 12, 2022

A repeat of Introductions‘ 70th-anniversary special: Robbie Ellis interviews renowned violin and viola instructors Almita and Roland Vamos, who have taught many teenage performers who have appeared on the show. This episode first aired on December 11, 2021. The playlist, audio, and transcript are on the original episode page.

Black History Month Highlights

February 5, 2022

This week on Introductions, we look back to performances of music by Black composers from the past twelve months. Teenage performers (and a few adults) play music by composers born in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries: Hailstork, Dett, Kay, Holland, Montgomery, and Miller.

Encore Broadcast | Nicholas Boettcher, 18, double bass

January 29, 2022

This weekend on Introductions, we rebroadcast a recital from Nicholas Boettcher, a Principal Double Bass of Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. This episode first aired on October 16, 2021. More details and podcast at the original episode page.

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras Fall 2021 Concert – Symphony

January 22, 2022

The CYSO Symphony Orchestra returned to Symphony Center for the first time in two years. Last week we heard from their Concerto Competition winners, and this week we hear the centerpiece work of the Fall 2021 concert: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. The interview guests are Principal Oboe Zachary Allen and Principal Bassoon Taki Salameh. Playlist Peter Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4, ...

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras Fall 2021 Concert – Concertos

January 15, 2022

The flagship groups of Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras returned to Symphony Center for the first time in two years, and they had a lot of catching up to do. On the program were features for two years’ worth of Concerto Competition winners: violinist Bianca Ciubancan and clarinettist Louis Auxenfans won in 2020 and 2021 respectively. (Louis Auxenfans appeared on Introductions ...

Encore Broadcast | Young Quartets on WFMT’s 70th Anniversary

January 8, 2022

WFMT’s 70th anniversary, December 13, 2021, featured live performances from a wide variety of Chicago performers. Among them were two teenage string quartets: the Omaggio String Quartet from the Music Institute of Chicago Academy, and the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative String Quartet. On this week’s episode, we replay those recordings. Video: Performances from the Music Institute of Chicago, including the ...

No Introductions | New Year’s Day from Vienna

January 1, 2022

There’s no episode of Introductions today: instead, enjoy the Vienna Philharmonic in their traditional New Year’s Day concert.

An Introductions Christmas

December 25, 2021

It’s a gift from the youth of Chicago: throughout 2021, featured Introductions soloists recorded extra pieces of music in their sessions. We’ve saved these short vignettes until the last Saturday of the year, so enjoy this music for the season on a special Christmas Day episode of Introductions. Video: Isabel Chen playing Silent Night, with still images of her own ...

Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative Class of 2022

December 18, 2021

This week on Introductions, we feature four seniors who are all fellows of Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative. Founded in 2019 and linked with sister organizations in other US cities, its mission is to support high school orchestral musicians from underrepresented backgrounds, with the eventual goal of diversifying America’s professional orchestras. Thank you to Merit School of Music for allowing WFMT ...

70th Anniversary Special: Interview with Almita & Roland Vamos

December 11, 2021

In advance of WFMT’s 70th Anniversary on December 13, 2021, WFMT celebrates two of the adults behind the Chicago area’s finest young performers: violin and viola teachers Almita and Roland Vamos. Their past students include Rachel Barton Pine, Jennifer Koh, Benjamin Beilman, and Ryan Meehan of the Calidore Quartet; and their present students appear on Introductions rather frequently, as well ...

Encore Broadcast | Harry Zhang, 17, piano

December 4, 2021

This morning on Introductions, we’re replaying 17-year-old Harry Zhang’s solo piano recital, which originally went out live from Delmark Records. This episode first aired on September 18, 2021. More details and the podcast are available on that original episode page.

Encore Broadcast | CYSO Composition Seminar

November 27, 2021

This week on Introductions, we hear once more from eight young composers who went through the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras‘ 2021 Composition Seminar, writing pieces for string quartet. This episode first aired on September 11, 2021. More details and the podcast are available on that original episode page.

Encore Broadcast | Marco Villela, 18, trumpet/voice/piano/composer

November 20, 2021

This weekend we replay the multi-genre, multi-instrumental, multilingual recital of Marco Villela, a longtime member of Mariachi Herencia de México who joins radio host and pianist Robbie Ellis. At the time he was a recent graduate of Lane Tech College Prep; he is now a freshman at the DePaul University School of Music. This episode first aired on August 14, ...

Encore Broadcast | Isabel Chen, 18, violin

November 13, 2021

Today we hear once more from 18-year-old Isabel Chen of Northbrook, a former violin student of Almita Vamos now studying at the Eastman School of Music. 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. This episode first aired on July 31, ...

Encore Broadcast | Eva Sharman, 17, piano

November 6, 2021

This Saturday, Introductions rebroadcasts pianist Eva Sharman of Lake Bluff, Illinois. A student of Tatyana Stepanova at Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, she presents music by Bach, Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn, Chaminade, and Prokofiev. This episode first aired on June 5, 2021. More details and the podcast are available on that original episode page.

No Introductions | WFMT Fall Membership Drive

October 30, 2021

WFMT’s Fall Membership Drive takes place this morning. You can support original programming like Introductions and to keep our finest young local performers on the radio. Donate securely online at wfmt.com/donate.

No Introductions | WFMT Fall Membership Drive

October 23, 2021

WFMT’s Fall Membership Drive takes place this morning. You can support original programming like Introductions and to keep our finest young local performers on the radio. Donate securely online at wfmt.com/donate.

LIVE | Nicholas Boettcher, 18, double bass

October 16, 2021

Today on Introductions is a rarity: a solo double bass recital. Nicholas Boettcher is Principal Double Bass of Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras‘ flagship orchestra, a senior at Naperville North High School, and founder of The No Repeats Project. Nicholas is joined by Sooka Wang on piano. Nicholas Boettcher studies double bass with Andy Anderson and music with Sooka Wang. In ...

Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month Highlights

October 9, 2021

On Introductions this week: a look back at performances of music by Latin-American composers. Represented are the solo and chamber works of compositores from Brazil, Cuba, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Chicago. Playlist Heitor Villa-Lobos: Song of the Black Swan Jan Vargas Nedvetsky, cello; Milana Pavchinskaya, piano First broadcast January 16, 2021 Leo Brouwer: Solo Cello Sonata: I. Allegro moderato ...

Encore Broadcast | Isabella Brown, 18, violin

October 2, 2021

Today we hear once again from Isabella Brown, who recorded this recital with pianist Milana Pavchinskaya before moving to Los Angeles to start studying at the Colburn School. This episode first aired on July 24, 2021. Podcast and more details available at the original episode page.