Spotlight Series: Improv and Jazz

Our final Spotlight Series performance of the season:
Piven Improvisation Ensemble and Midwest Young Artists’ Merit Jazz Combo

Piven Improvisation Ensemble
The Piven Improvisation Ensemble uses Piven training techniques to create funny & transformative improvised performances. This ensemble debuted with a win at Stage 773’s Laugh Battle in September, followed by a hit series of salon performances at the Piven Theatre. This group of expert Piven players creates spontaneous, joyful, and sometimes thought-provoking work that invites the audience to experience the exhilaration of the creative process.

Piven Theatre Workshop
Founded by Byrne and Joyce Piven in the 60’s and located in Evanston, the Piven Theatre Workshop has trained leading actors and directors, including Joan and John Cusack, Jeremy Piven, Aidan Quinn, Sarah Ruhl ,among others. Its mission is to preserve a process of creative exploration that celebrates each individulal’s unique voice through an ensemble-based, community-oriented approach to theatre training and performance.

Merit Jazz Combo
The Merit Jazz Combo is the top improvising group at Midwest Young Artists. Selected based on ability and dedication, these scholarship high school musicians are on their first step to a professional career. Directed by Chris Madsen, this group has regular coaching with some of the best jazz musicians in Chicago and the country. Past guest coaches included John Clayton, Joan Hickey, Joel Spencer, Rajiv Halim, Marlene Rosenberg, Justin Thomas, Marques Carroll and Lage Lund. In January 2015 the Merit Combo will have the opportunity to perform with Jazz Drummer Matt Wilson.

Midwest Young Artists
Midwest Young Artists is a top rated youth music ensemble program and represents some of the best young musicians in the country. The program offers exceptional training in jazz, choral, chamber and orchestral instruction. MYA currently reaches more than 1,000 students from 74 communities in the metropolitan Chicago area with eight youth orchestras, more than 65 chamber music ensembles, four choral groups, an all-inclusive jazz program, a rock program, early childhood education, and classes in music theory and history. Students have the opportunity to travel abroad and to perform in major venues throughout Chicago and around the world. MYA graduates are accepted at the most selective conservatories, universities and colleges in the country.