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Local Piano Students Earn Top Scores in Piano Festival!

Child playing the pianoThis is a guest post by Issa Boulos, CE Coordinator, Community Music and Arts Center.

Pianists from the Harper Community Music and Arts Center (CMAC) participated in the annual Harper Piano Festival, held at Harper College. The Harper Piano Festival evaluates elementary through high school-aged students in the performance of piano repertoire, providing motivation, goals, and awards for young pianists.

Thirty-one piano students, ages 7-17, participated at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels. Elementary students played a variety of folk songs, and children’s piano repertoire, intermediate and advanced students played repertoire representing Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary, and Jazz styles. Mark Epling provided feedback to the students. He has taught piano privately to beginners through advanced levels for the last 27 years. His students are regularly involved in the ISMTA Achievement in Music Examinations, National Guild of Piano Playing Auditions, festivals, and recitals. He is currently Adjunct Music Faculty at the University of St. Francis, where he teaches piano and is the accompanist for the college choir, Schola Cantorum.

Congratulations to our students for their dedicated preparation and excellence in performance! The Harper Community Music and Arts Center serves the Harper College community and surrounding areas. Please contact Kathy Sbarboro at 847-925-6000 x7236 for more information about CMAC’s piano program.

Issa Boulos is an international award-winning composer, lyricist and songwriter. His works have been performed by various groups and orchestras around the world. He studied piano, ‘ud and voice at an early age and later pursued music composition with Gustavo Leone, Athanasios Zervas, and William Russo at Columbia College Chicago and with Robert Lombardo and Ilya Levinson at Roosevelt University.

Throughout his career, Issa has injected new life into his music by incorporating traditional instruments in innovative ways. He has composed music for full orchestra, chamber, mixed ensembles, and written hundreds of songs including several hits. Among his commissions are four pieces for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, composition/performance for the Silk Road Ensemble, and original scores for award-winning documentaries, plays, feature films and musicals. Through these efforts, Issa has gained recognition in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe. He has served as a lecturer at the University of Chicago for nearly a decade and co-founded the Qatar Music Academy and acted as its Head of Music since its inception in 2010.

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