Congratulations to our four students who were accepted into this year’s newest Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative (CMPI) cohort of fellows: Mahalia Hernandez, Chloe Nam, Eric Nickerson, and Beatrice Valenzuela. As a member of the CMPI Advisory Council, we are is proud to be part of this city-wide effort to build a robust training pathway to professional orchestra careers for talented young musicians from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in classical music.
Mahalia Hernandez – Violin, Concert Orchestra
Mahalia Hernandez is an eleventh grader at Lincoln Park High School. At age four, she began learning both piano and violin. She loves watching culinary, baking, and farming videos on YouTube, learning about history, drawing with ballpoint pens, and thinking about her future as a cat mom.
Chloe Nam – Flute, Philharmonic Orchestra
Chloe Nam is in the ninth grade. She began her flute studies at age 6 and currently studies with Hideko Amano. She performs with CYSO’s Philharmonic Orchestra and has also been in Merit School of Music’s Conservatory for three years. She was first chair flute in ILMEA District Junior Band and has also won awards in the Society of American Musicians’ competition, CYSO’s Concerto Competition, the DePaul Concerto Festival, Walgreens National Concerto Competition, and the Chicago Flute Club Student Competition. She enjoys reading, writing, drawing, programming, and Latin Club.
Eric Nickerson – Cello, Accelerando Strings
Eric Nickerson is in the tenth grade. Eric has always loved music of all genres and spends much of his day trying to understand all types of music, whether that’s wordplay in rap or beautifully written symphonies. At age 8 he began participating in choir and started the cello two years later. He currently takes private lessons and plays with CYSO’s Accelerando Strings.
Beatrice Valenzuela – Violin, Debut Orchestra
Beatrice Valenzuela is a sixth grader who currently studies violin with Desirée Ruhstrat and Timothy Hager, and serves as CYSO’s concertmaster for Debut Orchestra. In addition, she plays in a piano trio and recently served as understudy to the Young Fiddler in the Lyric Opera’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. She has participated in masterclasses with musicians such as David Taylor and Arnaud Sussman. She also enjoys horseback riding, reading, and learning languages.
These four students join the ranks of dozens of other current CYSO students and alums who also participated in CMPI. Congratulations and bravo!
Interested in applying to be a fellow with CMPI? Check out their website for more information.