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Neighbors of Kane County

Concertmaster Isabella Lippi and Lauren Conroy to perform at the Gail Borden Public Library

Mar 23, 2016 09:36AM ● By Neighbors Magazines

Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) concertmaster Isabella Lippi and Lauren Conroy, violin will perform at a free lecture-recital, “Maud Powell, An American Legend” on Tuesday, March 29, 2 pm at the Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin. The event features works by J.S. Bach, Bruch, Gluck/Powell, Massenet, Mendelssohn, Paganini and Sibelius. Karen Shaffer of the Maud Powell Society for Music and Education,, will present the lecture portion of the program. Maud Powell was born in Peru, IL and grew up in Aurora. She is considered America’s first great master of the violin. Powell pioneered the violin recital in North America, introducing people across the continent to classical music, many of whom had never experienced such a concert before. Her vision inspired the formation of American orchestras and prompted the serious study and higher appreciation of classical music. Powell blazed a trail for women who wished to pursue a life in classical music performance.  This program is part of a series of Maud Powell events being presented the week of March 29-April 3, culminating in performances of works by Dvořák by the ESO led by conductor David Danzmayr and featuring violinist Rachel Barton Pine, who calls Powell her “violin hero.” For concert tickets, call the ESO at 847-888-4000 or visit ElginSymphony.Org.

Isabella Lippi, who was born in Chicago, has been called "a standout, even among virtuosos." She began performing in public at the age of 10 when she made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has since performed in numerous recitals and has appeared as guest soloist with orchestras in the United States, Mexico, Europe and the Far East. Lippi's teachers have included Robert Lipsett at the University of Southern California, Dorothy Delay at the Juilliard School and Almita and Roland Vamos in Chicago. In addition to her work as a soloist, Lippi has participated in numerous chamber music festivals including those of Santa Fe, La Jolla, Mainly Mozart and the Aspen Music Festival. She was Concertmaster of the Charleston Symphony from 1999-2002 and is currently Concertmaster of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.

Lauren Conroy, a senior at Barrington High School, started playing the violin at age 5 and studies with Dr. Hye-Sun Lee of the Music Institute of Chicago.  Conroy is concertmaster of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the group at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Millennium Park, The Chicago Theater, and on a 4-city tour of China.  As a member of the Principal Players Chamber Group and Quartet Bolero, she has appeared at many professional and community venues including the Ronald McDonald House Charities Gala, Chicago’s Pianoforte, and Chicago’s CHILL International Wine and Culinary Event.  Conroy has had the privilege of performing in several master classes/private coaching sessions with renowned musicians including: Midori, Rachel Barton Pine, Charles Pickler, Jennifer Frautschi, Bella Hristova, and Phillipe Quint.  Conroy is also an accomplished classical pianist, has studied jazz piano for 3 years and composed several piano pieces. Although music is her primary focus and passion, Conroy believes that being active in other areas enhances her life and therefore her ability to more deeply understand and interpret music.  Her other interests include school academics, running, ballet, and art.

Karen A. Shaffer wrote the definitive biography Maud Powell, Pioneer American Violinist (Iowa State University Press, Ames: 1988) which received international critical acclaim.  As founder and president of The Maud Powell Society for Music and Education, (see, she has restored the important musical legacy of Maud Powell (1867-1920) through re-issuance of Powell’s Victor recordings on the Naxos classical music label, publication of a children’s book, exhibits at the Peru (Illinois) Library, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and Boston’s Symphony Hall, Maud Powell commemorative concerts, presentations in schools and colleges, and through co-founding the annual Maud Powell Arts Celebration in Peru, Illinois, where Powell was born. She served as an advisor to the Peru (Illinois) Statue Committee and spoke at the dedication of the Maud Powell statue in July 1995.  Shaffer also spoke at the ceremony inducting Maud Powell into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame in April 2002 in Aurora, Illinois, where Powell grew up. Shaffer rescued the long-lost Nicholas R. Brewer oil portrait of Maud Powell, which the Society donated to the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.